CineFilipino: We can never have too many indie fests
With the recent launch of the CineFilipino Film Festival, the question begs to be answered: Is there room for yet another local digital fest—that is, aside from Cinemalaya, Cinema One, Sineng Pambansa and Cinemanila?
Tony Gloria, CineFilipino consultant, remains optimistic. In an e-mail interview, he told the Inquirer: “There should be more festivals.” Gloria recalled that, as a judge at the first Cinemalaya eight years ago, he had been impressed by the ingenuity of Filipino filmmakers. “I was amazed by the number of scripts submitted. I saw a lot of really good material.”
CineFilipino festival director Vincent Nebrida, also via e-mail, related that indie directors they met with had welcomed the new fest: “I don’t think there’s a filmmaker we spoke with who said, ‘Enough already.’ There’s excitement in the air.”
Organized by the PLDT-Smart Foundation, MediaQuest, Studio 5 (the movie arm of TV5) and Unitel Entertainment, CineFilipino offers a production grant of P1.5 million each to eight filmmakers.
Gloria recalled that before fests like Cinemalaya came along, it was “difficult” for indie filmmakers to get projects off the ground. “It’s good that there are now more grants and ways for their films to get made,” Gloria said.
PLDT-Smart Foundation previously sponsored the Cine Mabuhay competition.
CineFilipino is bolder than Cine Mabuhay, remarked Esther Santos, president of PLDT-Smart Foundation. “We had only one winner and produced only one feature film. This time, we will have eight.”
Nebrida acknowledged CineFilipino as a brainchild of Ray Espinosa, TV5 president and chief executive officer. Espinosa proposed the idea of the digital fest to Gloria a year ago, Nebrida recounted.
He said it certainly helped that Manny V. Pangilinan—big boss of TV5, MediaQuest, Smart and PLDT—is “a big fan of Filipino movies.” Nebrida elaborated: “TV5 is at the forefront of the full digitalization of broadcasting in the country.”
After making the digital shift in its news gathering and production units, TV5 is looking into expanding its digital film library.
Promoting digital films is in line with the network’s goal to “provide Filipino viewers the programs and content they want, wherever they are in the world,” said Nebrida. “Moreover, TV5 believes in the creativity and talent of Filipino filmmakers. The advent of digital technology has made filmmaking more accessible even to those who do not have the support of major studios. There are now more promising filmmakers out there with fresh ideas and innovative projects.”
The fest’s feature-length section is open to both new and seasoned filmmakers, he said. Deadline for submission of entries is October 8.
The festival’s shorts section is open to students. Ten short films will be picked. The submission period for completed shorts is from September 19 to December 31.
CineFilipino will be held from March 13-19, 2013, at the Ali Mall, Gateway, Eastwood and Newport cinemas.
“It’s a matter of reaching out to audiences, telling them that they are going to get more of something that they like. This was also why we decided to schedule our film festival earlier, months away from established festivals,” Nebrida clarified.
CineFilipino organizers don’t consider other festivals as competition. In the end, having all these festivals is good news for both industry stakeholders and audiences alike, they said.
Said Gloria: “A film festival can only create opportunities to discover and develop new talents, in front of and behind the camera. It hones the skills of our craftsmen and allows artists to develop and grow with each new project.”
Nebrida added: “It could only be a win-win situation for everyone,” said Nebrida. “And we mean everyone—including growing audiences who have developed a taste for these films. We are looking at a new era of Filipino cinema.”
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