MANILA, PHILIPPINES, OCTOBER 13, 2020 — Since its inception in 2002 by the Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the PELíCULA Spanish Film Festival has become a fixture in the community for screening and introducing Spanish and Latin American Cinema to the Philippines. In addition to these screenings, the festival also regularly holds several events, discussions, and workshops to showcase Spanish culture and further Filipino and Spanish cultural exchange.
In accordance with its shared mission of broadening cultural exchange, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has supported and partnered with the festival through the years. Past screenings of the festival, for example, have utilized FDCP’s Cinematheque Centres as screening venues, a product of the agency’s broader support through its Film Cultural Exchange Program (FCEP).
With this year’s iteration of the festival in danger, the Instituto Cervantes de Manila moved the PELíCULA Spanish Film Festival online for its first-ever online edition. The festival kicked off early this month on October 3 and continued through October 11. The festival’s online edition continued its anticipated screenings of Spanish films and also included various webinars and roundtable discussions.
Speaking to CNN about this year’s online edition, Javier Galvan, director of the Instituto Cervantes expressed this year’s online edition as an “opportunity to create a space for the directors, promotors, actors, people in the movie industry to get together from Spain and Southeast Asia.”
True to his word, one of the festival’s events featured FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño in a roundtable discussion titled “Marketing Our Cinema: Marketing Spanish Cinema in Asia. Marketing Asian Cinema in Europe.” The webinar was moderated by Tito Rodriguez (Director of Marketing Strategies for the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts) and took place on October 5 through Zoom.
During the webinar, Diño, alongside Rodriguez and Joan Álvarez, (Co-director of the Creativity Lab, Fundación Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Marañón in Spain) discussed various topics with a focus on exchanging and marketing Philippine and Spanish Cinema in each respective country. Each speaker provided a brief presentation, following which the three began a more open discussion before concluding the webinar by answering a few audience questions.
For her part, Diño presented and discussed FDCP’s current activities in bringing Spanish Cinema to the Philippines, and Philippine Cinema to Spain. “We want to utilize FDCP’s platforms and bring Spanish films to the Philippines, not just through festivals but also to mainstream audiences,” Diño said during her presentation. She pointed out the possibility of using the Cinematheques, Cine Lokal’s online platform, public-private partnerships, and FDCP’s financial support of international co-productions to achieve such a goal.
Tito Rodriguez moderated the roundtable discussion.
Diño also emphasized the need to bring Philippine Cinema abroad. For this goal, she discussed FDCP’s partnerships with various Philippine embassies and consulates via its Philippine Embassies Assistance Program (PEAP). She also touched on FDCP’s International Film Festival Assistance Program (IFFAP), and the Spotlight: Philippines program as current avenues through which FDCP promotes Philippine Cinema abroad.
“As a government agency, our role is to bring Filipino filmmakers abroad, and to give opportunities for international collaborations to happen. The film industry is a relationship-based industry and you have to create these connections. You can get a film to a particular country because of a relationship you started with a particular distributor” Diño said regarding the subject.
“Marketing Our Cinema” was one of three panel discussions scheduled for the festival. In addition to “Marketing Our Cinema,” the festival also held webinars entitled “Any Future for Film Festivals” on October 9, and “En Corto: Short Films from the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, and Spain” on October 10.
As part of this year’s first-ever online edition of the festival, the webinars were accessible to the public through Zoom. The events included real-time English and Spanish translations.
In addition to the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines, the Instituto Cervantes de Manila also partnered with the Spanish Embassies in Thailand and Australia to further expand the festival’s reach. Aside from the FDCP, other Philippine partners of PELíCULA 2020 were the University of the Philippines (UP) Film Institute and Intramuros Administration.
FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño discussed the exchange of Philippine and Spanish cinema across their respective countries.
The online edition of the PELíCULA Spanish Film Festival also featured screenings of eight feature-length films and four short films. These screenings were available for free for a 24-hour window via PELíCULA’s official website (www.pelikula.es). This year’s selection of films was available to viewers from the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia and included English subtitles.
The festival opened on October 3 with a screening of “La Filla D’algu,” a film directed by 11 students from the Escuela Superior de Cine y Audiovisuales de Cataluña. One film was screened each consecutive day from the festival’s opening at 6 p.m. On the final day of the festival, a closing ceremony was broadcasted in which the 2020 Audience Choice Award winner was revealed. The winning film, “El Cuadro” directed by Andrés Sanz, was screened to conclude the festival and was available for another 24 hours.
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