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As the newly appointed Chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Liza Diño-Seguerra paid Baguio a visit to hold a Film Forum. Liza admits, “[independent film making] is not [yet] considered an industry, sad to say,” and it’s no doubt that independent filmmakers face many challenges in their craft. “Indie lang yan” is the condescending generalization when regional filmmakers try to market their works or distribute them in cinemas. So the forum was held to address these issues, and with a positive turn up of filmmakers, students, and other film enthusiasts in general, possible solutions were raised in order to help bring more exposure and importance to independent film making. Here are some of the takeaways from the forum:

A legislation is needed for a film quota law to protect independent films. As we are all stakeholders of the industry  – filmmakers, producers, cinema owners, and the audience – we need to train the audience and get them to realize that there are other films out there.

The FDCP is exploring the establishment of a Cinema Evaluations Board, which will give a rating to independent films, determining the length of time for the film to be played in the cinema and a fixed cut that the cinema owners will receive.

We can look forward to a Cordilleran Film Festival soon. There will be an open call for entries to promote transparency and inclusiveness. The festival may start with short films and documentaries.

Cinematheque Baguio will be appointed as the satellite office of FDCP, and this will be a “safe place” for filmmakers in which intellectual discourse and critiques on films can be exchanged.

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There will be workshops to look forward to. These will tackle editing, production, sound design, and other aspects of filmmaking in order to share more knowledge and skills to the youth and to those who are very interested in the industry but do not have the experience with the technicalities of filmmaking. Filmmakers will also be groomed in the aspects of development to distribution of their works.

The FDCP is also looking into the creation of a directory or database in each region which can provide access to logistics, local filmmakers and actors. A separate committee may be appointed for this endeavor.

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Liza also wants to make known that the FDCP is there for assistance [not necessarily funding] to filmmakers. One of which is overseas travel assistance offered to qualified filmmakers. They are also exploring the possibility of a Film Investment Fund. They will also do their part in making public any grants available which are provided by private institutions.

Some of those present in the forum also brought up the issue of sensitivity to indigenous peoples featured in films. While the National Commission on Indigenous People is there to help, Liza advises that the best way to get through to indigenous groups is to engage them and involve them in the process.

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Other projects being proposed are: a mobile truck project to encourage film appreciation, holding online classes on aspects of film making, building more cinematheques and art house cinemas, and providing in house libraries on film appreciation, film criticism, and the like.

In closing, Liza states that film and cinema will always find its own audience, but there has to be coordination between the organization(s) and filmmakers in order for the independent film industry to find its place and light. Though the plans and projects discussed in the forum are still ideas that are up in the air, it’s quite exciting to see how regional filmmaking will fare in Baguio and in the Philippines as a whole in the months and years to come.

What are your thoughts on the rise of independent film making in Baguio? Do you have any issues you would like to raise? Share them to us. We would love to know what you think.

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