Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Filipino indie filmmakers confront challenges in summit

Filipino independent filmmakers tackled issues affecting the industry in the First Philippine Independent Film Summit, held on November 8, 2008 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

Convened by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the CCP, the summit helped discussed issues confronting indie filmmakers and come up with solutions to address them.

Bayani San Diego, Jr. in his Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2008 article, reported that a major problem pointed out by 53 participants from government, media, and indie community is oversupply.

Considering the number of the indie films aired last year and up to the first quarter of this year, the need to create a central booking agency to facilitate the smooth traffic of indie films into the market also surfaced.

Despite the frequent conflicts in showing schedules, filmmakers still want commercial runs which are only possible by going through the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MRTCB) but the producers find the PhP 8,000.00 fee needed to secure a permit as too steep. Discounted rates, however, are not totally out of the question according to MRTCB.

With these issues raised, Digna Santiago, Philippine Film Export Services Office (PFESO) executive director added that the art of making films has to be complemented by the business of making movies and that these movies have to be seen and reach audiences here and abroad.

As a solution, alternative venues where indie films can make headway were suggested and identified along distribution, ancillary sales and policy-making.

Stakeholders of the film industry came-up with action plans with specific points on creating a committee to develop policies, meeting with the MTRCB and Cinema Evaluation Board along with representatives of the Department of Education and other policy makers, mounting of an indie film festival in Metro Manila.

There is also the plan to lobby for the classification of indie films as part of a creative industry so filmmakers could avail of incentives from the Department of Trade and Industry. Indie filmmakers, thus, need to prove that they can contribute to the economy and that their films have export potentials.

As response to such need, a second summit is slated on November 28, 2008 to focus on international distribution for indie and mainstream films.

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