Film Academy of the Philippine officials and stalwarts of the local film industry attended a senate public hearing last Tuesday, September 2, to discuss two senate bills that aim to create a National Film Archive.
The two senate bills discussed during the public hearing are SB 19 (An Act Amending Republic Act No. 9167 by Providing for a National Film Archive to be Managed by the Film development Council) by Sen. Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and SB 2467 (An Act to Promote the Preservation and Promotion of the Country’s Rich Artistic, Cultural and Historical Heritage, Creating for the Purpose a National Film Archive, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act 9167) by Senate President Manny Villar.
In his explanatory note to SB 19, Sen. Revilla explained:
“Most countries with a film industry have national film archives or libraries where this fragile art form can be cared for and preserved so present and future generations can enjoy and use it. Even Third World countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Cuba have national film archives.
“…our film industry does not have sufficient long-term resources to sustain a national film archive. It needs the assistance of the government.
“This bill seeks to answer the long-recognized need. It proposes to amend RA No. 9167 by assigning responsibility for the care and preservation of selected films to the Film Development Council.”
Senate President Villar wrote this in his explanatory note to SB 2467:
“The 1987 Philippine Constitution is a landmark in enshrining policies on the promotion and preservation of arts and culture:
1. The State shall foster the preservation, enrichment and dynamic evolution of a Filipino national culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression. (Art. XIV, Sec. 14)
2. Arts and letters shall enjoy he patronage of the State. The State shall conserve, promote and popularize the nation’s cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations. (Art. XIV, Sec. 15)
3. All the country’s artistic and historic wealth constitutes the cultural treasure of the nation, and shall be under the protection of the State which may regulate its disposition. (Art. XIV, Sec. 16) “This legislation is submitted as an aegis to implement the said constitutional provisions. It seeks to establish a national Film Archive which shall list, preserve, conserve, restore and identify films that are historically, culturally, and aesthetically important to the Filipino identity.”
Sen. Revilla’s bill contains these pertinent provisions:
–SEC. 14-A. National Film Archive—There is hereby created a National Film Archive to be managed and maintained by the Film Development Council.
The film negatives to be conserved and protected by the National Film Archive shall be selected as follows:
A. The Cinema Evaluation Board shall receive, evaluate, and approve all requests for inclusion in the National Film Archive other than those Rated A or B.
B. Nominations for inclusion may be made for old and classic films as well as new films, including feature films, documentaries and other types of film, by film reviewers and critics, film academies or schools, producers, directors and other interested parties.”
The Revilla bill also provides for two other functions of the Film Development Council, namely:
–To develop programs that promote and encourage the availability of feature films for education purposes and exhibition in educational institutions and other entities to develop the Filipino’s cultural and social value and to better understand and appreciate the Filipino identity and nationhood.
–To ensure the establishment of an outreach program which will make resources available to disadvantaged communities. The main aim of the outreach section is to take the cinema people where the disadvantaged communities can benefit from it. This is done in conjunction with other organizations such as schools, churches and communities.
The Villar bill, meanwhile, intends to add a new section to RA No. 9167:
“SECTION 14. Establishment of a National Film Archive
a) A National Film Archive is hereby established as a specialized office in the Film Development Council. It shall be the main repository and custodian to conserve and protect film negatives, and/or prints of the nation’s historical, cultural and artistic heritage.
The National Film Archive shall also be responsible for film preservation, restoration, rescuing of decaying film stocks and preserving the images they contain, handling, duplication, storage and access or sharing the content of the same with the public.
b) Within six (6) months after the effectivity of this act, the Archive in coordination and consultation with the Film Academy of the Philippines, Film Development Council of the Philippines, National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, respected academic communities, historians and film critics and students, shall prepare a comprehensive list of films that may be preserved and protected in the Archive. Provided, that any interested person may submit or nominate a film for inclusion: Provided, further, that films accorded grade A or B and those films acclaimed, recognized and awarded best film, shall be included.
As for the funding of the Archive, the Villar bill provides:
C. For the establishment of a National Film Archive, the initial amount of FIFTY MILLION PESOS (PhP50,000,000.00) is hereby appropriated from the General Appropriations Act.
In addition to the same, the amount of FIFTY CENTAVOS (PhP.50) is hereby added to cinema rates of foreign movies being exhibited and shown in local cinemas. It may also be imposed to performances of foreign artists staged in the Philippines, including but not limited to concerts, musicals, stage plays and others.
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