‘To the indies–may your tribe increase!’

/ 11:16 PM March 06, 2012

(Speech given by Inquirer publisher Isagani Yambot at the 2nd Inquirer Indie Tribute, Dec. 16, 2011.)


We Filipinos have always been crazy about movies—that is, ever since this media and art form was introduced into this country in the early 1900s. As the Instituto Cervantes put it (during the last edition of Pelikula! Pelicula!, the film festival it organizes annually), we are “loco por el cine.”


Unfortunately, for the greater part of the last century, the great mass of our people was interested more in the entertainment side of the movies, and patronized the old formulaic films by traditional movie makers.

It was only in the 1970s and ’80s that fresh ideas and new styles were injected into Filipino movie making. The films of those decades are the precursors of today’s indies.

Here and abroad, indie directors and auteurs showed that film could address the same issues of alienation, spiritual hunger, dehumanization and historical memory that have been addressed in literature, including stage plays, and the visual and graphic arts.

The works of Rossellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Godard, Antonioni and Ozu were studied as works of art in the humanistic tradition. Similarly, here, the works of Brocka, Bernal, Romero, Castillo, (Mike) De Leon, Aguiluz, to name just a few—the list is long—are held up as brilliant works of art.

The development of digital technology helped give the indie movement a big push. In the past, one needed tens of millions of pesos to produce a movie. Digital movie making is much less expensive. Writer Michael Simmons said, paraphrasing what Francis Ford Coppola noted several years ago: “The great hope of film as art remains with a young girl holding a cheap digital video camera. She won’t have to answer to accountants and her personal vision will be available for download on the Internet.”

Something like this is happening in the Philippine indie scene today.

The Inquirer, having always had a culture of excellence, supports efforts to improve the quality of our films. It is in furtherance of this advocacy that we pledge to continue supporting excellent work that the indies have been doing.


May your tribe increase!

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TAGS: 2nd Inquirer Indie Tribute, Indie Films, Isagani Yambot tribute
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