Monday, January 12, 2009

FILMLESS FILMS (September 29, 2008)

When British Broadcasting Corporation's Sasha Gankin and Mina Angela flew back to Paris after finding Jim Libiran, we got another good news: Cable News Network (CNN) listed Ishmael Bernal’s Himala (1982) as one of 18 best Asian films of all time!

Our movie industry is alive though it appears that its Golden Age (1934-1941) was killed during World War II.
The 50s, nevertheless, witnessed how great National Artist Gerry de Leon was: he got the Grand Prix at the Maria Clara Awards for his films Satanas (1950) and Sisa (1951) as well as the first Filipino Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) for his Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo (1952). Still it was de Leon who made sense – amidst the Studio Wars between LVN and Sampaguita – by having his film version of Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere (1961) and El Filibusterismo (1962).

Bomba was not just the big bang during the 70s but the boom of future National Artists: Ishmael Bernal made his directorial debut with Pagdating sa Dulo (1971) while Lino Brocka did his obra maestras Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974) and Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1976).
They, together with another National Artist Eddie Romero and the like, gave Philippine cinema its second Golden Age during the 80s – when Himala was created!

New miracle was needed though at the junction of the Old and New Millennium when commercialism led to the loss of more than 1,000 movie theaters nationwide and around 2.5 million moviegoers in Metro Manila alone.

Today, Philippine arts' bunso, being born only in 1897, is still the country's favorite pastime.
But Philippines is no longer the fourth largest film producer in the world!
Mother Lilys, Boss Vics, even the makers of pito-pito or penekula rather import than make films.
Moviegoers prefer to stay at home to watch from HBOs to DVDs.
And God, out of boredom from predicting endings, would make some Juan who would make unpredictable films.
That what was indie genus!
Or indio genius according to Kidlat Tahimik, who had already won the International Critics Award in 1977 Berlin Film Festival for his Perfumed Nightmare and the Top Cash Award in 1981 Mannheim Film Festival for his Turumba.

Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND), eventually, would introduce -- him, Nick Deocampo, and Raymond Red, among others -- to us, who tried to catch them from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to the Goethe Institut to the British Council to the Alliance Francaise de Manille to the Instituto Cervantes to the University of the Philippines Film Center to the Wave Cinema to the Titus Brandsma, to name a few, until we found ourselves enrolled under Ricky Orellana and Yam Laranas and encouraged by the MOWELFUND Film & Video Grant.

As we looked at performance poetry as a less expensive alternative, we would see how government – other than tax cuts -- would help filmmaking, say, in the form of an Ed Cabagnot's Gawad CCP para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video (now on its 20th on 18 to 21 November 2008 at CCP Tanghalang Manuel Conde).

Then, Cinemalaya – which recently sponsored the launch of The Cinema of Manuel Conde by Nicanor Tiongson who honored the Father of Philippine Indie Cinema.
Dr. Tiongson's group Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (composed by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, UP Open University Chancellor Grace Alfonso, columnist Butch Francisco, fictionist Roland Tolentino, and UST professor Lito Zulueta) has been giving since 1976 the Gawad Urian that has been dominated by enfants terribles!
Film Academy of the Philippines, Philippine Movie Press Club, Archdiocese of Manila, Film Desk Critics Circle, Entertainment Press Society, and Young Critics Circle Awards are no indifferent to indies too!
If Metro Manila Film Festival and the Manila Film Festival are for the mainstream, the new Quezon City Filmfest is for the experimental, a far cry from Quezon City Festival of yore when the Bacolod Film Festival was around.
Mindanao Film Festival 2008 can never be outdone since it has been calling for submissions through its website until October 17!
Manila International Film Festival is gone but Cinemanila is here to stay to invite participants via its website before its 10th edition on October 16-29 at Gateway Mall, Araneta Center which also host screenings of the winners of the 1st I-Witness Docufest 2008 on October 4 and 11.
Similar to GMA 7's effort is the pioneering ABC 5's Dokyu: Ang Bagong Mata ng Pinoy Documentaries.
Another contest for students was the UP Centennial Digital Festival and Filmmaking Competition that accepted such short film genres as documentary, narrative, and experimental and animation as entries.
Animazing Shorts -- Animation Council of the Philippines’s annual contest for animation -- will judge entries according to ballots and online polls accessible at the and One of itts winners -- Doodle of Doom by College of St Benilde’s Nelson Caliguia Jr. and Jason Confesor -- qualified as finalists in the Nickelodeon’s Animation Festival! Animahenasyon 2008, its annual festival featuring the different animation works of both aspiring and professional animators, is open until October 8!
Moonrise Festival or the country's only environmental documentary film festival was held and had fictionist Nanette Matilac's Sayaw sa Alon bagging the Best Director, Best Musical Scoring, Best Editing, Best Story, Best Production Design, and the highest the Grand Charlie Award.
From September 30 to tomorrow at Robinsons Galleria, you can experience Khavn de la Cruz's .MOV or the first digital filmfest that began the digital revolution. This year, it heralds its Three Kings: Kidlat Tahimik, Roxlee, and Lav Diaz who just won the Best Film Award in the Orizzonti Section of the 65th Venice International Film Festival for his latest film Melancholia.
So who said Philippine cinema is dead?

ERAP: It's a lie. I don't believe it. Nobody could be that fat!LOI: What? Where did you get that?ERAP: Here in the news. It says: BRITISH LOST 2000 POUNDS!
Life is like a movie.
Written, produced, and directed by God, starring You.
It doesn't have any cuts, you will see it with its painful moments and unbelievable footage.
It's a one-take movie so play your part as if it is your last take.
Finally, make sure you do your best to make it a blockbuster!

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