Ilonggos Warmly Welcome Film Historian Nick Deocampo Back Home through Retrospective; Celebrates his 40th Year in the Filmmaking Industry and Launching of his Book on Alternative Cinema


The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) hosted a homecoming film retrospective in honor of respected filmmaker and scholar Nick Deocampo at the Cinematheque Centre Iloilo last June 18, 2022 in time for his 40th anniversary as a filmmaker. This special showcase is in line with the Agency’s recently-concluded Pelikulaya: LGBTQIA+ International Film Festival and with the launch of his latest book, Alternative Cinema: The Unchronicled History of Alternative Cinema in the Philippines.

Together with FDCP’s Philippine Film Archive, a three-part program was organized into one big event. A limited screening of Deocampo's The Sex Warrior and the Samurai and Oliver, were part of the retrospective. The event also featured the Nick Deocampo Gallery, which was open to the public from June18-30, 2022. Included in the gallery is his latest book on alternative cinema which was also introduced during the event.

The well-attended event was participated by students, media partners, organizations, film enthusiasts, and even old friends of Deocampo from his alma mater in Iloilo. Deocampo notes “Malaking bagay ito na I was able to go home. Nagkataon rin na ito ay nakapaloob sa Pelikulaya, which is about the Pride Month. Ang mga pelikula ko, especially mga pinapalabas dito, would belong to my early films na tungkol sa LGBTQ. Mahalaga ito para sa akin.” 

He adds, “Malayo na ang narating ng LGBTQ films, bolder na sila ngayon. Isinama talaga namin sa agenda ang pakikipaglaban para sa LGBTQ. Ang unang ginawa kong pelikula ay tungkol sa bakla, yung Oliver, it’s about sexuality. Walang kakurap-kurap na hinarap talaga ang kabaklaan noon. We’ve come a long way from the time na medyo iba ang paningin sa atin ng awtoridad. Sa ngayon, medyo laganap na at may mga sariling film festival na ang mga LGBTQ. It’s a whole process.” 

The man of the hour began his filmmaking career as a student of film in Paris, France in 1982, he then created his film “Oliver” the year after which pushed the themes on homosexuality in Filipino films. 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the Nick Deocampo Film Archive Gallery which houses most of his works from films, books, magazines, his trophies and awards in recognition of his valuable contributions to the local filmmaking industry. The gallery is showcased at the Cinematheque Centre Iloilo and will be accessible for the public for free until the end of the month.

After viewing the career collection of the film pillar, the audience were led to the theater for a screening of two of Deocampo’s early works—The Sex Warrior and the Samurai and Oliver. It was then followed by a quick talkback session about how he created the films, his early days as a filmmaker, and how these experiences play a part in writing his books. The session covered discussion on Deocampo’s creative techniques in documentary-type films which he identifies as part of alternative cinema.

Alternative Cinema: The Unchronicled History of Alternative Cinema in the Philippines is the esteemed film scholar’s ninth book. As a token of appreciation, Deocampo presented a copy to his hometown along with a brief talk about the book.

“This is a testament to alternative cinema, these are the short films, documentaries, these are the most difficult films to make, these are the experimental films, these are the animation, these are the student films,” Deocampo explains. Speaking in the vernacular to his Ilonggo audience, he described his latest work as the thickest he has ever written and the most personal. He continues, “It is auto-ethnographic almost an autobiography but brought into an ethnographic style because I was talking about the sub-culture of a different kind of cinema.”

Co-published by the FDCP with with the University of the Philippines University Press, his book was launched at the Cinematheque Centre Manila in celebration of Philippine Independence Day last June 12, 2022. The event was participated by some of the most distinguished names in the industry such as historian Xiao Chua, directors Khavn dela Cruz and Rox Lee, film scholar Sari Dalena, and actors Mon Confiado and Ricky Davao, among other notable guests.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño notes, Generations of Filipino filmmakers who have molded and pushed the industry have been born from and emerged from alternative cinema, and there is none more befitting to chronicle its journey and intricacies than through Nick Deocampo. May we cherish this book which celebrates a full appreciation of the past, relishes the present, and hopes for a brighter path ahead of us.“ 

She expressed gratitude to Deocampo in making FDCP a part of this project, describing the book as a “gift that you have provided to us and to the future generations of filmmakers, academics, and lovers of Philippine Cinema.”

The Nick Deocampo Retrospective was also shown in the different Cinematheque Centres in Manila, Negros, Davao, and Nabunturan, as a special section of this year’s Pelikulaya LGBTQIA+ International Film Festival. A screening of his other films, Memories of Old Manila and Private Wars were also included in the lineup.