An exciting year for PH Cinema: FDCP's sneak peek of things to look forward to this 2022

By: Liza Diño-Seguerra
Copy of The columnist at the 70th Berlinale

While many of us welcome the New Year with a list of resolutions, allow me to begin this year with a different kind of list. As we look forward with hope, let us peer through the months ahead and take a quick glance at some of the many things we at the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) are excited about for this 2022.

1. Sundance Film Festival. Two Filipino films were selected to compete in the 38th Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States, this month of January. The feature film, "Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago (Leonor Will Never Die)" by Martika Escobar will be competing in the prestigious World Cinema Dramatic section, while the short film, "The Headhunter's Daughter" by Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan is part of the Shorts Program 4 section. Both films will have their world premiere and onsite delegates at the festival to be held in Park City, Utah.

Having two Filipino films chosen to participate in the Sundance Film Festival, one of the world's largest and most influential independent film festivals, is already a huge win for Philippine Cinema. We are proud that our country's delegation will be led by two promising independent filmmakers, especially Martika and her film which were part of FDCP's Full Circle Lab Philippines and CreatePHFilms funding program. Another reason to celebrate is Martika herself. In this industry which is mostly dominated by men, having a Filipina as one of the country's representatives is inspiring to all women filmmakers in the world trying to break through the glass ceiling.

Copy of The columnist at one of the meetings in the Berlin Co-Production Market 2020

2. Berlinale. Filipino filmmakers are definitely never lacking in vision, talent, and ideas. However, financing a film to make the vision a reality is an altogether different challenge. This is why joining co-production film markets has become a welcome opportunity for them to turn their ideas into films.

For this February, Berlin is the place to be for aspiring filmmakers. Two big networking venues will be opening at the Berlinale: the Berlinale Co-production Market and the European Film Market.

FDCP will choose producers with projects in development who will be joining the Visitors Programme of the Berlin Co-Production Market and gain insight into the international co-production landscape, funding opportunities, and to expanding their network in the international market. FDCP will also represent the Philippines in the Country Session.

The European Film Market (EFM), on the other hand, is one of the largest film markets in the world and will also be held in Berlin. The FDCP is looking for Filipino producers who will be part of the Philippine Delegation. Selected producers will be provided with a Market Badge which will grant them full access to the EFM.

3. Ji.Hlava International Film Festival (IDFF). The Philippines was chosen as the country of focus for one of Europe's leading documentary film festivals. The IDFF announced last October that the program for 2022 will be featuring the Philippines in its annual festival held in the Czech Republic.

The festival features documentary, hybrid, and experimental documentary films. The agreement between the FDCP and the organizers formally lays out the research and retrospective of Philippine documentary films to be presented at the 26th edition set in October.

4. Full Circle Lab (FCL) Philippines. FDCP renewed its engagement with Tatino Films for another three-year cycle from 2022 to 2024. This is so timely with the celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines. With this long-term partnership through what we call Horizons 2025, we are taking concrete steps toward making the Philippines a creative hub for filmmaking in the Southeast Asian region.

FCL Philippines is the agency's flagship international film lab for Filipino and Southeast Asian films and filmmakers. This year's hybrid edition will be composed of four separate film labs: First Cut Lab and Fiction Lab under the project-based labs, Creative Producers Lab and Story Editing Lab under the talent and skills-based labs. Applications will be opening this month.

5. UniPhilippines. Since 2016, FDCP has pushed for the promotion of Philippine Cinema around the world both culturally and commercially through its several support programs and participation in international film markets and festivals. With the official launch of the UniPhilippines program this 2022, FDCP will continuously build on these efforts by institutionalizing its assistance and incentives for films and filmmakers for international efforts and by cementing partnerships with markets, events, and stakeholders for our content to gain traction internationally and break through bigger markets.

6. FDCP Filmstitute. We recognize the need for accessible film education in the country, especially at this time when the pandemic has redrawn how teaching is done. This 2022 will see the opening of the FDCP Filmstitute, an online film learning platform featuring quality film and audiovisual courses accessible anytime, anywhere aiming to develop globally competitive programs that bring together everything one needs to know about filmmaking in one place, and gathering the best industry professionals to make up the mentor team that will endeavor to develop film literacy and technical skills of aspiring filmmakers and practitioners alike.

7. FDCP National Registry. In 2021, we focused on helping Filipino films and productions to have a wider reach and penetrate the international scene through film markets and other platforms. This 2022, we will also be giving focus on the upskilling of our film workers.

The National Registry can be a hub where film productions from all over the world can look up for the services of local film workers — not just actors or writers, but also linemen, cameramen, and other technical experts — because they have come to develop the international reputation for their expertise, and are sought after for the quality of their work. One of these upskilling programs is National Registry's upcoming series of acting workshops which will be happening very soon.

This is just a small preview, of course. Expect a lot more projects and surprises especially since this year also marks FDCP's 20th year. There is still the Film Industry Month in September, Safe Filming Trainings, the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), the Sine Kabataan 5 Lab and Competition, and CreatePH Films, and many more.

The vision is to support the Philippine film industry as it moves forward and as it emerges from the challenges of the past two years and more. As an artist myself, the goal is to be an active part of the elevation of this Industry to its maximum potential.

It was a busy 2021 for Team FDCP and we look forward to a bigger 2022. This new year, we will carry on with the inertia, energy, and vibrance of last year and together, let us create more amazing things. This new year is an opportunity to make an impact, to do something that will hopefully inspire, lift spirits, and overall make things better. May this year give all of us an abundance of opportunities to do so.

Have a happy New Year!

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.