1st PH Film Industry Month closing marks new beginnings

By: Liza Diño-Seguerra
The columnist with the Sine Kabataan and Sine Isla Luzviminda short film competition finalists, which served as the highlight of the recently concluded Philippine Film Industry Month.

The Agency worked and executed a total of 28 major events in one month. The commemoration went beyond honoring the invaluable contribution of the film industry stakeholders by also educating and preparing our audiences for the continuous shift of the industry.

As I was recording the last speech I delivered for the closing event, I got emotional but then realized that this will be the beginning of something more beautiful for the film industry and our filmmakers for they are in good hands. The FDCP is composed of hardworking and passionate people who strongly believe in the potential of the industry.



A month-long celebration 

Throughout September, FDCP Channel hosted public screenings of film heritage classics, narratives of the youth and from the regions, and a film retrospective of Elwood "El Maestro" Perez. These tributes echo how the Agency puts importance on the achievement and recognizes the contribution of our people.

We also had film education and training programs that were attended by both professionals and newcomers. Young creatives got up close to learn from a National Artist in Film, while our Safety and Health Officers Training Seminar has accredited a total of 184 Safety Officers this year. The annual international industry conference that brought together distinguished local and international mentors in the industry had over 3,000 attendees. Our own international film lab, Full Circle Lab Philippines, has brought 16 projects from the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and the sessions on international co-productions and Workshops on the FilmPhilipines Incentives were also well-attended.

Music scoring lab, and the four weekends of webinars on comic books and its film adaptations were also successfully carried out. Indeed, learning is a never-ending process and educational programs are a centerpiece of FDCP's mandates.

Filipino filmmakers and talents also participated in international festivals. From Carlo Francisco Manatad's "Whether the Weather Is Fine" Youth Jury Prize recognition in the Locarno Film Festival to Erik Matti's "On The Job: The Missing 8" main competition participation and John Arcilla's Best Actor win, both at the 78th Venice International Film Festival — FDCP was there to support and witness their triumph. This month too, FDCP represented the Philippines in the China International Fair for Trade in Services or Ciftis, and supported the Philippine delegation at the Kre8tif! Elevator Pitch in Malaysia, an international project market for animation.

For the formal and practical study of the film arts and cinema heritage, FDCP has ventured into six new publications with noted authors of scholarly distinction and an organization devoted to film archiving and conservation — Doy Del Mundo's Ang Daigdig Ng Mga Api: Remembering A Lost Film; Nick Deocampo's Alter/Native Cinema: The Unchronicled History of Philippine Alternative Cinema and Sine Tala: Three-Volume Anthology; and the SouthEast Asia-Pacific AudioVisual Archives Association's (Seapavaa) Keeping Memories: Cinema and Archiving in Asia-Pacific.

We have also embarked on social media campaigns. #NoodTayoNgSine encourages us all to cherish the experience of watching films in the cinemas like before, and to comply and support government and industry efforts for the eventual re-opening of the cinemas. #KwentongSafety, meanwhile, promotes health and safety messages on how to keep on living amidst the pandemic.

We also brought back Game Night on the FDCP Channel (fdcpchannel.ph) to drum up new additions to the virtual platform. The FDCP official website is now sporting a new and more comprehensive interface with additional features to explore on materials from film, current news, government policy, incentives applications, to international markets participation, and the many support programs and resources that filmmakers, producers, students and enthusiasts can easily tap into.

"Ang Bagong Sinemula"

To sum up our September as we officially close the Philippine Film Industry Month, we held the "5th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino: Ang Bagong Sinemula Gabi ng Parangal" along with our exciting announcements.

First on is FDCP Channel's new thrust on edutainment. It will now be a virtual repository of excellent films and hard-to-find selections, accessible to local and international film stakeholders through membership. For only a monthly subscription of only P99, you can access over a hundred curated films.

We also announced the recipients of the first cycle of the CreatePHFilms program. The ultimate success of these projects, which FDCP will support at various stages, will be the veritable markers of the program's efficacy. We look forward to the completion of these films and their journeys as they go well into sales and distribution.

The highlight of that evening was the crowning of our Sine Kabataan and Sine Isla Luzviminda Short Film Competitions — the former showcased young filmmakers' creativity while touching on pertinent issues, while the latter served as a platform for unique and rich cultural narratives from the regions. Being able to provide such platforms to our filmmakers is one of the Agency's main objectives.

While the first Philippine Film Industry Month has already concluded, it still signifies a new beginning for the evolving film industry. The continuous inclusion of Philippine content on global streaming platforms shows the support provided by the Agency — along with our stakeholders — has created more spaces for filmmakers of various genres, formats and styles that did not normally fit in the traditional industry that we had known.

With all the doors of opportunities this change has opened, today is a great time to become a filmmaker and partake in molding the future of Philippine Cinema.

I want to thank my one, beloved village — my teams at FDCP who have worked tirelessly to put this hyperactive month together for the benefit of all our esteemed stakeholders. We are and will always be the village where film workers will find the support they need to begin journeys and to continue reaching for greater heights.

Ito ang bagong 'Sinemula!' Mabuhay ang pelikulang Pilipino!

Notes from the Chair
The Sunday Times Magazine  - The Manila Times

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.