By LIZA DIÑO-SEGUERRA
Notes from the Chair
The Sunday Times Magazine
The Manila Times
October 25, 2020
Witnessing audiences in international film festivals appreciate Filipino films has been a source of joy for me and my team at the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño at the “Death of Nintendo” world premiere in the Berlin International Film Festival in February
We take pride in bringing forth the spotlight to Philippine Cinema by participating in overseas film festivals and project markets. More importantly, we find happiness and fulfillment in the success of our talented and dedicated filmmakers.
The last international film fest screening of a Filipino movie that I attended was in February — the world premiere of “Death of Nintendo” by Raya Martin at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. It was just eight months back, but it seems like it has been way too long ago.
“Cleaners” by Karl Glenn Barit
Fast forward to this month when “Death of Nintendo” is set to be screened at the 25th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea together with “Cleaners” by Karl Glenn Barit in the A Window on Asian Cinema section that demonstrates different visions and styles of Asian filmmakers.
Short films “How to Die Young in Manila” by Petersen Vargas and “Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva, meanwhile, are in the Asian Short Film Competition of the Wide Angle section for documentaries, short films, and experimental films that show a vast range of cinematic viewpoints with a marked vision.
How I wish I could be there at the Busan Cinema Center to show support to the four films in the BIFF Official Selection and see the reactions of international moviegoers. Through the years, the BIFF has been a crucial platform for the global track of the Filipino film industry.
In 2018, the BIFF named the Philippines as the Country of Focus in time for the Philippine Cinema Centennial celebration. The following year, the FDCP launched in Busan the FilmPhilippines Incentives Program and the “Let’s Create Together!” campaign, a partnership with the Department of Tourism.
This year, the FDCP is one with the BIFF in widely promoting Asian Cinema amid the Covid-19 crisis. Despite not being present in Busan, the FDCP is still at the helm of the Philippine delegation to several BIFF virtual events.
Fostering international collaborations
The Asian Project Market (APM), which will be held online from October 26 to 28, gathers emerging filmmakers of feature film projects so that they can land co-production opportunities through meetings with international investors, producers, and distributors.
Lone Filipino project in the APM, “6th Finger,” with Sheron Dayoc as director and Alemberg Ang as producer, aims to gain international partnerships while it is still in the development stage.
The project under VY/AC Productions and Southern Lantern Studios is about a 10-year old boy with a sixth finger, who has been subjected to bullying. He is from a remote village with a mysterious plague that takes the lives of children.
Virtual Philippine Pavilion
Happening simultaneously with the APM is the Asian Contents & Film Market (ACFM) that focuses on the business side of filmmaking. ACFM participants can also gather trade information, buy and sell equipment and films, and secure production partnerships and licenses.
The FDCP will be hosting a virtual Philippine Pavilion to promote Filipino films and talents to global markets and audiences. The country’s 10 delegate companies will showcase their content and hold meetings with international counterparts.
The BIFF-ACFM 2020 delegate companies are Atom & Anne Mediaworks Corporation, North Luzon Cinema Guild, Inc., VY/AC Productions, Tuldok Animation Studios, Inc., Digital Dreams Inc., Heartleaf Film Production, Rein Entertainment Productions, Go Motion (WeLoveMotion Inc.), MadScientist Media Production, and BLINK Creative Studio.
Celebrations and recognitions
Another FDCP virtual event during the BIFF is the Philippine Cinema Night. The Zoom conference on October 27 will gather filmmakers, government guests, and local and international industry movers to celebrate the Filipino film industry’s BIFF participation.
Through the Philippine Cinema Night, the FDCP will recognize the filmmakers who made it to the prestigious BIFF Official selection as well as the APM participants and ACFM delegates.
The FDCP will also tackle its ongoing FilmPhilippines Incentives Program and will present a special feature on QuaranCinema Productions, which are Philippine works that were ideated, created, and screened during the pandemic lockdown.
Asian Cinema in time of Covid-19 crisis
What are the safe filming protocols, production practices in the new normal, and film financing trends in Asia these days? And what are some tips on securing co-production deals during the pandemic?
These are just some of the questions that I will be addressing alongside South Korean producer Kim Hyo-jeong and Singaporean producer and screenwriter Jeremy Chua in the ScreenDaily Talks Live Q&A series webinar “Screen Talk: Asian Production Bounces Back” on October 26.
The FDCP-sponsored webinar on how Asian Cinema is recovering in the midst of the pandemic will be moderated by Screen International Contributing Editor Wendy Mitchell.
I cannot wait to speak about the resilience of our industry and the efforts of the public and private sectors to support our film and audiovisual workers. Moreover, I am so eager to learn from the experiences and initiatives of other Asian film commissions in dealing with the pandemic situation.
Film industry as global film market
The Philippines is among the 68 countries participating in this year’s BIFF, which will screen a total of 192 titles. It is truly an honor to have Philippine representation in the BIFF as it ensures the promotion of Filipino films to a wider audience and hopefully, it can help local filmmakers secure international collaborations.
The film industry is an ever-growing global market. Inasmuch as Filipinos consume various content from all over the globe, it is my fervent hope that more countries and international viewers will consume our content as well.
The BIFF, one of the largest and most significant international film festivals in Asia, is a wonderful platform for cultural and technical exchanges as it gathers participants from numerous countries. This allows us to learn about other cultures as well as spread our culture to international counterparts.
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.