Film agencies from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Republic of Korea (ROK) have been coming together over the past few years to foster better ties within the region. As 2020 had just begun, film agency heads from the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and South Korea proved their dedication to the ASEAN-ROK convergence once more by participating in the 2020 1st ASEAN-ROK Film Agency Meeting at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay from January 20 to 21.
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) continued its commitment to the ASEAN-ROK group, being one of the frontrunners for pushing for the creation of the ASEAN-ROK Film Cooperation Organisation (ARFO). “Our objective for this mission is to lay down our 2020 regional film cooperation plan as we simultaneously continue to work towards the establishment of ARFO, a governmental organization that will function like the European Union of the ASEAN region, and create programs and initiatives to support the film industries of all ASEAN member states,” explained FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.
FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño and Park Sungho, programmer for Busan International Film Festival and Cambodia International Film Festival
Participants of the 2020 1st ASEAN-ROK Film Agency Meeting at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay
During the working group session with the heads of Korean Film Council (KOFIC), Singapore Film Commission, Cinema and Cultural Diffusion Department of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Cambodia, Film Development Center under the Ministry of Information in Myanmar, and Vietnam Cinema Department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Diño shared FDCP’s new programs that aim to widen support mechanisms to accommodate not just Filipino film industry stakeholders but also ASEAN filmmakers.
“I always believe that collaboration is key and the spirit of working together is integral to our region's success. I really have a good feeling that 2020 is going to be a game changer for the Asian region's film industry,” added Diño. The ASEAN-ROK technical working group also had conversations on film industry project proposals about archiving, research, education and training, box-office system, and content promotion. In addition, the 2020 ASEAN-ROK Film Cooperation Plan was discussed. Other member states involved in ASEAN-ROK are Indonesia, Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, and Thailand.
FDCP Chair Diño with her counterparts, the film agency heads of Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, and Cambodia
Diño then took the time to thank her counterparts from Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, and South Korea. The 1st ASEAN-ROK Film Agency Meeting for 2020 was sponsored by Singapore under the leadership of Singapore Film Commission Director Joachim Ng. Diño also gave special mention to KOFIC Chairman Oh Seok-geun. “KOFIC, as the national film agency of South Korea, is leading this movement to form a regional cooperation hub among ASEAN member states. The Philippines, through FDCP, is in full support of this initiative and has been participating in all roundtable discussions and meetings towards the achievement of this ambitious but very noble vision,” she commented.
Host Singapore brought the ASEAN-ROK Film Agency Meeting participants to Gardens by the Bay.
FDCP Chair Diño was joined in Singapore by Allyza Marie del Pilar from the FDCP Office of the Chairperson & CEO (OCCEO) Special Projects Unit.
In 2019, three ASEAN-ROK Governmental Roundtable Sessions were held: Bangkok, Thailand in July, followed by Cebu, Philippines in August (hosted by FDCP), and succeeded by Busan, South Korea in November. Meanwhile, the ASEAN-ROK Filmmakers Brainstorming Session took place in Busan in August, the ASEAN-ROK Culture Innovation Summit was mounted in Busan in November, and the ASEAN 3-ROK Filmmakers Network was held in Cambodia in December.
“When we share our stories, there are no bounds to it. It’s always based on our own cultural identities, our way of showing who we are, and our way of showing how important it is to share our stories as people and our stories as a country. I hope that as we move further into the realization of this regional collaboration, we bear in mind that the most important thing is we are working together,” Diño stated.
FDCP Chair Diño at the Bangkok Roundtable in July 2019
ASEAN-ROK Cebu Roundtable participants in August 2019
The 2019 ASEAN-ROK FLY Film Lab participants in Cebu
The efforts to form ARFO is backed by the various successes of ASEAN-ROK and Southeast Asian initiatives that FDCP has been ardently supporting. Among these are the ASEAN-ROK FLY Film Lab and Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab (SEAFIC). FDCP has also mounted its own Project Market and Film Industry Conference with the goal of connecting Filipino talents to ASEAN counterparts.
Once ARFO becomes official, it is expected that there will be improvements in film industries across ASEAN and South Korea, with upgrades in skills and technology, opportunities in talent exchange, sharing of resources, collaborations in production and film distribution, developments in policy-making, enhancements in educational programs, more incentives in film location promotions, reinforcements in film archiving, and possibly, the establishment of an ASEAN Film Fund.
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