A member of the Film Directors’ Association of Malaysia conferred with officials of the Film Academy of the Philippines for possible co-production of movies, telemovies and documentaries in an effort to foster cultural cooperation between the two countries under a memorandum of understanding.
Dr. Ubaidullah Mustafa met with FAP Director General Leo G. Martinez on Thursday, October 2 as they hold preliminary talks on possible cooperation and exchange of technical expertise on filmmaking between the FDAM and the FAP.
Mustafa also met with several presidents of the various guilds under the umbrella supervision of the Academy, including Manny Morfe of the Production designers’ Guild of the Philippines; Isagani Sioson of the Filipino Society of Cinematographers; and Rollie Ruta of the Motion Picture Audio Society of the Philippines. Officers of the United Film Editors Guild of the Philippines were also present during the meeting.
Dr. Mustafa specifically sought cooperation and cultural and information exchange between Filipino and Malaysian film technicians, singling out their desire to get Filipino actors to help them conduct acting workshops.
He said they are also open to co-productions in movies, telenovelas as well as documentaries or short films.
A day after the meeting, Mustafa came up with a draft memorandum of understanding between the FDAM and the Academy. Director General Martinez assured him that he will follow this up even after Mustafa has gone back to Malaysia this weekend.
The draft lists down the potential areas of cooperation as training programs, telemovie, film production and documentary film production and programs for new media suitable for market in both countries.
The training programs will involve TV stations in both countries—Channels 2, 7 and 5 (private), 4, 9 and 13 (government) as well as TV stations in Malaysia Channels 3 and 9 (private), RTM 1 and 2 (government) and ASTRO (paid TV).
The government entities to be involved will include the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the Malaysia National Film Development Board and the Ministry of Unity, Arts, Culture and Heritage.
During the Thursday meeting, the fact that the situation of the local film industry in both the Philippines and Malaysia is almost similar. For the last few years, the production of local films have declined alarmingly. Malaysia produced only 22 films in 2006, compared with 50 or so Tagalog movies.
Mustafa, however, explained that the Malaysian government is injecting subsidies to help their film industry cope with the situation. Last year, a fifty million ringgit subsidy was the main reason for the upsurge in the production of local films. He added that the amount of 100 million ringgit is earmarked this year.
Mustafa said that Mr. Murad Onah, the president of GAFIM, the overall organization for various film workers which are like the guilds under the Academy is scheduled to come to the Philippines in January 2009. He added that the new president of FDAM, Mr. Ahmad Ibrahim, might also join the trip.
Malaysia has been showing a lot of interest on Filipino telemovies. A Malaysian group has bought blocked time from Channel 5 to show local telemovies they intend to produce here.
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