By LIZA DIÑO-SEGUERRA
Notes from the Chair
The Sunday Times Magazine
The Manila Times
October 18, 2020
Some industries in the country have started regaining ground amid the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, but not the Filipino film and audiovisual (AV) industry. It has been over seven months since the lockdown was imposed, yet only 20 percent of the film and audiovisual industry has gradually resumed operations.
We really need to open up the economy as soon as possible even little by little, but the resumption and commencement of film and audiovisual productions are easier said than done.
As much as the industry wants to have cameras rolling again, it is part of the creative industries — the hardest-hit sector by the pandemic shutdown. This makes it more difficult for the film and audiovisual industry to bounce back because recovery entails a great amount of funding along with other forms of support.
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) is one with the industry in its road to recovery, even with just baby steps for now. And the national film agency vows to guide and support our filmmakers in these trying times more than ever.
Finally, a production fund for Filipino producers
Another recent initiative of the FDCP to help alleviate the situation of industry members is the CreatePHFilms Philippine Cinema funding program. The FDCP has allotted P30 million for the provision of selective funds for Filipino filmmakers for Development (Scriptwriting and Project Development), Production (Small Budget and Large Budget), Post-Production, and Distribution.
Our local filmmakers have been clamoring for a production fund solely for Filipino producers since 2016. And at long last, the FDCP was able to launch CreatePHFilms on September 28 as part of the conclusion of the year-long celebration of One Hundred Years of Philippine Cinema.
This domestic funding program also shows the government’s continued support for the vulnerable sectors of the film and audiovisual industry by increasing economic opportunities for local services, artists, and crew members.
Eligible applicants must be Filipino filmmakers and companies accredited by the FDCP’s National Registry, while eligible projects must have a Filipino director. Additionally, 100 percent of the funds must be spent in the Philippines for eligible expenses.
The deadline for the application period this year is on November 15 while for next year, the deadlines of submissions will be in May and November based on two application cycles.
Funding assistance for film development, production, and distribution
Through the CreatePHFilms Funds for Development for Scriptwriting and Project Development, the FDCP wants to support Filipino scriptwriters by helping them develop innovative stories based on Filipino culture and heritage.
The CreatePHFilms Fund for Scriptwriting is a selective, non-refundable fund of up to P100,000. At least two sessions of script consultations will also be held for recipients on concept, creative issues, and developing the screenplay. Meanwhile, the CreatePHFilms Fund for Project Development is a selective and nonrefundable fund of up to P200,000 for production companies.
The FDCP wants to encourage Filipino film producers to create high-quality films for domestic and international audiences. The CreatePHFilms Fund for Small Budget Production is a selective refundable fund up to P1 million for production companies while the CreatePHFilms Fund for Large Budget Production is a selective equity investment fund worth P3 million to P5 million for production companies.
Enhancing post-production services so that they meet international standards is another goal of the FDCP, thus, the CreatePHFilms Fund for Post-Production. The selective fund of up to P300,000 will be applied for by a production company and granted to its engaged post-production company.
Distribution opportunities must also be boosted so that more Filipino films can be marketed for local and international sales. The FDCP aims to achieve this with the CreatePHFilms Fund for Distribution, a selective fund of up to P300,000 for the local and overseas distribution of Filipino titles.
Coming full circle with CreatePHFilms
As the third major FDCP initiative in response to the pandemic, CreatePHFilms follows the Disaster/Emergency Assistance and Relief (DEAR) Program for displaced freelance film and audiovisual workers, and Safe Filming Program which sets and implements minimum health and safety standards in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Health.
Aside from pushing for Filipino films to thrive locally as well as internationally amid the pandemic, the FDCP also wants CreatePHFilms to highlight the country’s reputation as an emerging film hotspot with a great number of independent and innovative creatives.
Truly, the FDCP’s various assistance programs have come full circle in CreatePHFilms as it covers all aspects of filmmaking and caters exclusively to Filipinos.
Just like countries with the most thriving film industries, because of a sustainable domestic funding mechanism from the government, I hope that CreatePHFilms will empower and enable our scriptwriters, filmmakers, and production companies to come up with top-notch films and sustain artistic creation.
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.