CINEMALAYA: Ano’ng Kwento Mo?

1. Filipino filmmakers must produce films in their own language.

First and foremost, Filipino filmmakers must create films that will surely serve as cultural artifacts of our nation. They must primarily target the local market before they aim the larger ones. They must communicate with their likes first so that soon others will understand what they are trying to say. They must have passion in their work and must not work for the sake of gaining titles. They must be truthful with their actions and be dedicated wholeheartedly. They must exploit any possibilities of making independent films because these can really depict reality and inform the audience at the same time. Indie film usually serves as a mirror of our social status quo. It can also serve as a watchdog of the public for the anomalies of the government. It basically opens the eyes of the viewers to what is actually happening around them. It serves as a tool for them to see the truth and a guide for them to know what must be done.

We have a rich culture but sad to know that most of us neglect it. We tend to lean towards other culture than our own. We try to embed foreign ideologies, customs, etc. in our mind and try to forget who we really are. We tend to think that the more foreign the idea is, the better. Due to this, we lose our identity, we lose our uniqueness, and we lose our significance.

Indie films, in conclusion, are considered as representations of our way of life. A filmmaker who has a strong determination of expressing his own culture usually becomes successful in this field. Every Filipino has a story to tell. We must not waste what we have and learn how to share it to the world.

2. Independent Films vs. Mainstream Films

Most people say that indie films do not have audience. It’s true. There is awareness for indie films but there is no audience due to some factors. First, commercial businesses like SM Malls screen these films before they decide to release them in theaters. They will suggest recommendations that will benefit them at the same time if they allow the filmmakers to air their movies. That’s the reason why there is only a small percentage of accessibility for these films nowadays. Second, people prefer to watch Hollywood kind of films rather than these. Mostly gay people (not stereotyping anyone), students, filmmakers, and some intellectual people are the only audience of these films. It’s because common people are too tired to analyze them (they don’t want to think while watching anymore), they can’t understand the message of these films or simply they don’t care with the society at all.

Compared to mainstream, casting in indie films is very crucial. In mainstream, the actors or actresses can be patterned to their characters. They can be picked even if the script is not yet available. Unlike with indie, the character must be developed first before the actor or actress. When casting, his/her personality must fit his/her role or else the movie will not be possible. Since indies are low-budgeted, actors/actresses can be unknown and besides mainstream actors/actresses won’t matter because foreigners don’t know who they are.
The budget for indie films is obviously cheaper than mainstreams. Mainstreams are being backed up by big studios but most of them flop because they have low quality in terms of story, execution, and so on and so forth. Indie films are low-budgeted films but they are high in concept. They typically have unique themes and aesthetic beauty.

Another distinction between the two is that indie films do not have criteria in film festivals. Filmmakers can make films about anything and submit it to them. On the contrary, in local cinemas, the board of regulators is very strict in screening indie films. They will sanitize the movie as much as possible before they allow it to show in public.

3. Philippine Independent Film: World-Class

As we all know, many films already won a lot of awards abroad. Even those that are not known here, receive a lot of prizes. Foreigners love our work because for them they are unique, balance, and beautiful. They admire us because we are very talented. We can freely express what we want without spoiling the quality of our work. Another reason is that our themes like poverty, corruption, politics, etc, are not usual themes for them. They recognize us because they can see the unfortunate truth that they don’t experience. It’s like seeing the other side of their world. This is good for us because we are able to teach and provide them what they lack. We are also able to help our countrymen when foreign sponsors/donors try to support the filmmakers.

These are just some of the evidences that Filipinos can really compete globally. We should always keep in mind that we are world-class because we are Filipinos.

Rizza Villaflor

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