By LIZA DIÑO-SEGUERRA
Notes from the Chair
The Sunday Times Magazine
The Manila Times
September 13, 2020
The year-long celebration of the Centennial Year of Philippine Cinema officially came to a close on September 11. Since the Sine Sandaan grand launch on September 12, 2019, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) held events and launched programs to mark the milestone of One Hundred Years of Philippine Cinema.
The columnist with Piolo Pascual, Iza Calzado, and Bb. Joyce Bernal at the Sine Sandaan grand launch
These include the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) and Philippine Film Festival in Italy in September 2019; Busan International Film Festival, QCinema International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, and Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab (SEAFIC) in October 2019; and the Philippine Film Festival in Portugal in November 2019.
Below is the continuation of the highlights of the year-round Sine Sandaan activities and events:
Luna Awards (November 2019)
On November 30, the FDCP lauded 30 production studios and independent production companies as “Sine Sandaan: Production Companies of the Philippines Luminaries” during the 37th Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) Luna Awards. A special segment on the One Hundred Years of Philippine Cinema was also held in the awards night co-presented by the FAP and FDCP.
Launch of FilmPhilippines Incentive Program (January 2020)
The FDCP promotes the country as a filming location and collaborative creative hub through the FilmPhilippines incentive program which offers the Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP), International Co-production Fund (ICOF), and Film Location Engagement Desk (FLEX).
Eddie Garcia Bill (January 2020)
The Eddie Garcia Act or House Bill No. 181 is for the proposed occupational safety and health standards act for the film, television, and theater industry. It has been approved at the committee level after six months of House Committee Hearings participated by the FDCP. Among the Eddie Garcia Act’s proposed improvements are standard working hours, identification of workplace hazards, mandatory personnel and production insurance coverage, and the creation of standard operating procedures. The draft bill still has to go through the mother committee, plenary, and the Senate.
Film Ambassadors’ Night (February 2020)
The annual Film Ambassadors’ Night (FAN) recognized 66 filmmakers, actors, and films that gained international accolades in 2019. Three Philippine Cinema icons, Cathy Garcia-Molina, Nick Deocampo, and Ricky Lee, received the Camera Obscura Artistic Excellence Award which is the highest honor from the FDCP.
The columnist with Meryll Soriano and Joel Torre at the Sine Sandaan grand launch
FDCP-DOLE JMC On Guidelines For Working Conditions of Film Workers (February 2020)
Set working hours, social welfare benefits, and the “no contract, no work” policy are just some of the improvements implemented to ensure the health and safety of film and audiovisual workers, thanks to the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1, Series of 2020 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and FDCP.
Berlinale (February 2020)
Four titles in the Berlin International Film Festival or Berlinale were made by Filipinos: “Death of Nintendo” by Raya Martin, Alex Piperno’s “Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine” co-produced by Armi Rae Cacanindin, “Orphea” by German Alexander Kluge and Filipino Khavn, and short film “Filipiñana” by Rafael Manuel, which bagged the Berlinale Shorts Silver Bear Jury Prize.
Antoinette Jadaone’s “Boldstar” was among the Berlinale Co-Production Market selections while director-editor Celina Marie Donato and producer Gale Osorio were part of the Berlinale Talents training program. Alemberg Ang, Anne Prado-Magadia, Carlo Valenzona, and Gutierrez Mangansakan 2nd participated in the Berlinale Co-Production Market Visitors Programme. In addition, the Philippines was the lone Asian country featured in the Berlinale Country Session.
DEAR Program (March to May 2020)
To respond to the devastating effects of the pandemic, the FDCP activated the Disaster/Emergency Assistance and Relief (DEAR) Program to provide a one-time cash aid benefit for freelance film and audiovisual workers displaced by the Covid-19 situation. Since March, the DEAR Program has supported over 5,000 beneficiaries and released PHP 28 million from the FDCP’s realigned funds.
Cannes Docs (June 2020)
In support of the emerging talents from the documentary film community, the FDCP partnered with Cannes Docs Online of the Cannes International Film Festival in France to hold the first-ever “Philippine Showcase of Documentaries.” Four Filipino projects were presented at Cannes Docs Online: “Nowhere Near” by Miko Revereza, “Remnants of a Revolution” by Cha Escala, “The Remotes” by John Torres, and “Holy Craft” by Joseph Mangat, which won the Docs-in-Progress Award, the top award of the event. At the Cannes Film Market Online, Brillante Ma Mendoza’s “Gensan Punch” was part of the presentation of titles by SC Films International.
PFA Restoration of Films (July 2020)
The Philippine Film Archive continues to safeguard our national film heritage by collecting, preserving, protecting, cataloguing, managing, and providing access to historical and cultural audiovisual materials. This year, the restoration of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” by Mar Torres and “Dalagang Ilocana” by Olive La Torre is ongoing.
The columnist with real-life couple Shamaine and Nonie Buencamino at the Sine Sandaan grand launch
Locarno Open Doors (August 2020)
The Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland and FDCP planned a special feature for the grand conclusion of the One Hundred Years of Philippine Cinema. Locarno Open Doors named the Philippines as a Spotlight Country, and 13 Filipino works, composed of films and projects, were part of Locarno 2020. Filmmaker and animator Avid Liongoren won the Open Doors Development Support grant for “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah vs. The Amazonistas of Planet X.”
HK FILMART Online (August 2020)
Sixteen Filipino companies participated in the 24th Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart) Online, 11 of which were part of the FDCP’s Virtual Philippine Pavilion. Two Filipino projects, “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Vs. The Amazonistas of Planet X” by Avid Liongoren and “Some Nights I Feel Like Walking” by Petersen Vargas, were included in the 18th Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF). Two other Philippine works were in the HAF’s Works-in-Progress (WIP) platform: “The Double” by Adolf Alix, Jr. and “Last Days at Sea” by Venice Atienza. The DOT and FDCP also had a virtual “Let’s Create Together!” Country Session led by DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and myself.
Kre8tif! (September 2020)
The Kre8tif! Conference and Content Festival in Malaysia has chosen three animation projects to pitch in the Kre8tif! Virtual Conference this year. These are “Strange Natives” by Paolo Herras, “My Brother the Chicken” by Karla Consolacion, and “Kampilan” by Kampilan Productions, LLC.
As we near the closing of Sine Sandaan, the FDCP continues its goal to launch and implement programs that will not just expand the reach of Philippine Cinema globally but to also introduce sustainable changes within the industry. Despite the unexpected Covid-19 crisis and its effect on our country, we still want the culmination of this One Hundred Year Celebration to be as significant as possible while supporting the industry in these challenging times.
This September, with the vision to declare this month as Philippine Cinema Month, the FDCP is launching various programs to benefit various sectors, especially those critically impacted by the pandemic. These include the Philippine Cinema Incentives Program, Film Industry Conference Online 2020, Full Circle Lab Philippines, National Registry App and website, and the Sine Sandaan x The Manila Times TV collaboration.
The FDCP is also currently working with the Office of the President and its stakeholders for the release of a Presidential Proclamation that would declare September as the Philippine Cinema Month, therefore ensuring that an annual celebration in its honor will be spearheaded by the government.
The closing of the celebration of One Hundred Years of Philippine Cinema feels more like a beginning, the start of the rest of our history as we take our next steps armed with the heritage, stories, and artistry that have been afforded to us by the countless artists, workers, and storytellers before us.
We must continue to improve on our thriving present and look ahead to a future that honors the Cinema that we have now. Philippine Cinema in the next hundred years is destined to reach greater heights if we strive to work together and be open to the many wondrous possibilities of today.
Notes from the Chair is part of the Arts Awake section of The Sunday Times Magazine published by The Manila Times. Click HERE to view the article on The Manila Times website.