FDCP, TMT partner for Sine Sandaan
September 21, 2020
Today sees the realization of what may seem like an odd partnership between the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and The Manila Times, via the pioneering news outfit’s streaming channel, The Manila Times TV (TMT TV).
As a major highlight of the FDCP’s concluding events for the yearlong centennial celebration of Philippine Cinema this September, “Sine Sandaan on The Manila Times TV” premieres today, September 18, as an alternative streaming platform in support of Philippine Cinema amid the pandemic and the emerging “new normal.”
Scheduled to run for 13 weeks, TMT TV plays a crucial role in this endeavor by providing a broader audience of cinephiles online streaming access to FDCP’s co-produced independent films in two batches.
Within reach not only to Filipinos but anyone around the world with internet access, the free “Spotlight” section will be available on sinesandaan.manilatimestv.com.
This is a showcase of contemporary, up-and-coming Filipino filmmakers, with titles comprised of Sigfreid Barros Sanchez’s “Ang Mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro,” Celso Ad. Castillo’s “Bahay ng Lagim,” Romy Suzara’s “Sigaw sa Hating Gabi,” Sheron Dayoc’s “Catching Firefiles” and Lauren Sevilla Faustino’s “Ang Babae sa Likod Ng Mambabatok.”
On September 25, the “Masters” section will reinforce this quality selection with a collection of titles from world-renowned Filipino auteurs — Lino Brocka’s “Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag,” Ishmael Bernal’s “Pagdating sa Dulo, Manuel Conde’s “Genghis Khan,” Eduardo de Castro’s “Zamboanga,” Elwood Perez’s “Otso” and the Peque Gallaga-Lore Reyes tandem for “T’yanak.” However, unlike the Spotlight section, FDCP has placed a premium on streaming these critically acclaimed works with an affordable pay-per-view pricing.
“Sine Sandaan on The Manila Times TV is one of the ways through which we can continue to support and exhibit our film industry despite these difficult times, because it is important for the industry not to remain at a standstill and continue to find ways to exhibit their works to the public,” FDCP Chairman Liza Diño excitedly announced over a digital media conference this week.
Describing the FDCP and Times partnership as a “perfect match,” Diño showed no surprise when a member of the Entertainment press pointedly asked, “Why The Manila Times?”
“First and foremost, it is because The Manila Times offered to support the FDCP, which is always welcomed by the agency from any private entity,” she declared. “And like The Times, FDCP continues to look for ways to access more audiences and have a bigger reach beyond the country.”
“The Manila Times TV is a new platform of The Manila Times as the oldest broadsheet in the country shifts to this new normal. And as they shift to digital platforms, I am honored and FDCP is privileged to have our Filipino independent films be part of this goal of TMT TV.”
Newsman, movie man
The partnership began with an initiative from The Times. Before the pandemic, Diño received a call from the Times’ Chairman Emeritus Dr. Dante Arevalo Ang, PhD.
And so, what started out as invitation from Ang to write a column for and on behalf of the movie industry’s issues and accomplishments [Diño’s column, “Notes from the Chair,” is published weekly under the “Arts Awake” section of The Sunday Times Magazine] grew into
The Times’ significant part in commemorating 100 years of Filipino Film.
Ang has been in the radio and television industry since 1965. From station and studio
runner, he was hired as a broadcaster by the Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN), the precursor of ABS-CBN, in 1967. Given his rich deep voice he was often cast in radio dramas like “Kahapon Lamang” in no time and even played the lead role of the Procter & Gamble-sponsored program “Nag-uumpugang Bato.” Moreover, he juggled his varied responsibilities for CBN as scriptwriter for a live weekly comedy show.
His leadership skills, however, overtook his creative abilities and Ang was eventually asked to manage a TV network during Martial Law.
All the same, Ang never lost his appreciation for creative work, be it as an advertising executive, which he also became in his storied career, or even as a father. A favorite story among Times employees in fact is how he nicknamed his eldest son and junior, company president and chief executive officer Dante Francis Ang 2nd, after his favorite character in the ‘60s American sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes” — Col. Klink.
In a brief interview on Wednesday, The Times’ Chairman Emeritus explained, “I have two concerns about the movie industry: one is from the point of view of a creative; and other, is economics.”
“I feel the pain and the frustrations of the movie producers, actors and production people. How do you think these people will feel if their productions are not exhibited or shown in cinemas? Yet, we all dare tell the producers to uplift the quality of their movies!” Ang lamented.
“How can they improve the quality of their productions when they are denied outlets? Naturally, the producers would feel frustrated and discouraged to continue producing films.”
On the issue of economics, Ang related he can neither blame cinema owners who seem to prioritize the screening of Hollywood blockbusters over Filipino movies.
“For them, showing films in their cinemas is a function of economics, and sadly many of our films are still produced with poor quality,” he continued. “Then again, I do not blame our producers. They were left on their own to rot.”
Acknowledging the complexity of the movie industry’s longstanding issues, Ang offered the kind of support he can readily give to this ever-challenged sector.
“We begin by giving our producers an outlet to show their films; to exhibit their passion, their creativity; their works of art,” he affirmed. “TMT TV is my way of demonstrating our company’s support for the film industry in the hope that by giving the producers an outlet, they would be encouraged to improve the quality of their films. I want to show the Filipino audience that we do have quality movies produced by Filipino producers and directors and that they too, should support our own.”
“I share Liza’s vision for the industry, and I admire her for her passion and commitment to uplift the quality of our movies — to make them relevant and globally competitive,” Ang said.
“I also believe that it is time for the FDCP to take over the affairs of the Metro Manila Film Festival. If not, the MMFF in my opinion should be scrapped because it has miserably failed in its mission to help improve the quality of the Filipino films year after year and make them more relevant and globally competitive. Thus far, we have been witness to the inanities, if not stupidities, of many of the entries to the MMFF. And that is why I support FDCP all the way,” he added.
A pre-show titled “Isang Daan Patungo sa Sine Sandaan” will be held via Facebook and YouTube at 5:30 p.m. to mark the premiere of Sine Sandaan on TMT TV. For more information on how to stream this event and the featured movies, log on to sinesandaan.manilatimestv.com and Facebook.com/SineSandaanOnTMTTV.