QC, ‘City of Stars,’ goes indie
Known as the “City of Stars,” Quezon City now hopes to become an indie haven, too.
The Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) recently launched QCinema: 2012 Quezon City Film Festival.
A flagship project of the QCFDC, the fest is consistent with the local government’s goal to turn the “City of Stars” into “a center of arts and culture as well,” according to Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The fest aims to “give ‘emerging’ filmmakers the chance to create their dream movies,” said Belmonte.
The QCFDC defines “an emerging filmmaker” as someone with “no more than three feature-length films to his or her credit.”
Belmonte said that three finalists would be given a seed production grant of P800,000.
Submission of entries is until July 31. The mechanics and application forms are available in the QCFDC Facebook account.
A committee composed of representatives from the industry and academe will choose the three finalists set to be announced on August 30.
“We want to encourage new directors to join the industry,” said filmmaker Soxie Topacio, a member of the QCFDC. “Hopefully, next year we will be able to increase the grant to P1 million and we will have 10 entries.”
“It is only through the promotion of new ideas and styles in filmmaking can film literature and culture improve in our country,” said filmmaker Milo Sogueco, a QCFDC member. “There are so many young and talented filmmakers… who can make films that can matter in our society.”
UP Film Institute’s Ed Lejano, executive director of the QCFDC, pointed out that its grant-giving component precisely makes QCinema different from the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), organized by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Sogueco noted: “The QCFDC upholds the values of real independent cinema: Free, liberating and unbiased.”
“Also, the filmmakers will retain their rights to the films,” Lejano noted.
The QCFDC, however, reserves the right to screen the films in selected events “primarily for educational purposes,” said Topacio.
True to its independent spirit, Lejano envisions the QCinema as the city’s answer to the Sundance film festival in the United States. “But we’d rather define it as our own festival within the parameters of the city.”
Organizers request that the completed film include “at least one sequence shot in Quezon City.”
“We are just requesting; we are not imposing. We will monitor the filmmakers’ progress,” Topacio clarified.
Filmmakers will be allowed to tackle any theme, for as long as it will not put the city in a bad light, he added.
Organizers are eyeing a red-carpet premiere of the three films in the first week of December, in a mall in the city.
“All we ask is that the proceeds of the premiere go to the QCFDC to cover expenses,” he said.
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista recalled that the city mounted a film festival for students in 2008.
This year’s festival, according to Bautista, is in line with the local government’s program to reinvent Quezon City to make it “a movie capital—not just for the local, but for the international market as well.”
“Aside from being the ‘City of Stars,’ we want Quezon City to be known as a movie capital like Bangkok and Hong Kong,” said Bautista. “We want to attract international productions to shoot in our city.”
The QCFDC was established in 2006 when Bautista was still vice mayor. The QCFDC is considered as “the governing body for all film-related projects and activities in the city.”
“Cities all over the world have their own film commissions,” said Lejano. “Quezon City is the first to have a film commission.”
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