Cyber controversy caps Cinemalaya
MANILA, Philippines — It was called a “blunder,” “a misstep,” “a nightmare.”
Only hours before its awards ceremony Sunday, Cinemalaya was rocked by controversy when past films were uploaded on YouTube.
Filmmakers took to social media to express their dismay.
According to filmmaker Derick Cabrido’s Facebook page: The films (from the fest’s 2012-2013 editions) were uploaded by “a technical personnel of the Cinemalaya website yesterday (Saturday).”
The explanation purportedly came from a Cinemalaya insider, according to past and present Cinemalaya filmmakers that the Inquirer had spoken with on the phone.
Filmmaker Emmanuel dela Cruz, however, said that the films have been online since late July on the Cinemalaya website.
On his Facebook page, De la Cruz said: “We know how much you love these films, but if you download these films, you will kill the filmmakers who want to reach the audience in the right and fair manner.”
De la Cruz told the Inquirer in a phone interview: “Once you upload a film online, it will be vulnerable to piracy.”
Producer-filmmaker Alemberg Ang said he was “shaken” by the incident.
Ang told the Inquirer in a phone interview: “Sadly, it’s in the contract we signed with Cinemalaya [that these films can be uploaded online].”
Producer Noel Ferrer told the Inquirer: “It all boils down to utter disrespect to artists and their works. Why did this happen? Who ordered the uploading?”
Filmmaker Jun Robles Lana told the Inquirer: “What a sad way to cap Cinemalaya’s 10th year. This is beyond legal issues. It’s a question of ethics and respect for Filipino filmmakers.”
De la Cruz said that he hoped other filmmakers would also rise up, to defend their works. He expressed the hope that Cinemalaya would do right by the filmmakers and rectify the situation. “Will Cinemalaya stay true to its spirit?”
Dela Cruz posted an online link to report the problem to YouTube. The YouTube channel has since been taken down.
Cabrido posted a message from a Cinemalaya insider, which read: “Rest assured that we have reached [the technical personnel] already and we will make sure the YouTube account will be disabled or shut down to avoid further damage. Again, our apologies for this situation.”
Ang said he was able to talk with a festival official who assured him that a dialogue would be held between organizers and the filmmakers.
Dela Cruz said that he hopes solutions would go beyond “damage control and result in meaningful dialogue.”
Tess Rances, deputy festival director, told the Inquirer that the controversy will be addressed tonight during the awards night and “that the issue will be discussed with the directors.”
Ang said on Facebook, in Filipino and English: “I owe my filmmaking career to Cinemalaya. If not for Cinemalaya, I will not be in this industry. I love Cinemalaya and wish nothing but the best for it. That’s why I hope we will get the chance to talk about it properly. It’s not just an issue of money. If it were just about financial gain, then we would’ve gone mainstream instead.”
Not a few admitted not being able to sleep as a result of the fiasco—including Ang and filmmaker Jose Javier Reyes.
Reyes was a past Cinemalaya participant (for “Mga Mumunting Lihim” in 2012) and a juror this year.
Reyes told the Inquirer: “I am disappointed that this had to happen right at the height of a very successful Cinemalaya run. But I need to hear the explanation of the organizers . . . [to know] who is answerable to such a fatal misstep. Giving free access to films even for a few hours is giving [enough] time for . . . their illegal duplication. This is tragic on the part of the filmmakers and financiers. Worse is the fact that bullets have been given to the festival’s detractors. . . regardless of the relevance of the issues at hand. The same people who were seen celebrating at CCP last week are now calling Cinemalaya exploitative and manipulative. . .That is equally tragic.”
The filmmakers hope to hear the explanation Sunday night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines during the awards ceremony of Cinemalaya X.
Originally posted: August 10, 2014 | 12:02 pm