Film Academy of the Philippine officials headed by Director General Leo G. Martinez and Chairman Espiridion D. Laxa attended the one-day Philippine Independent Film Summit held at the Silangan Hall of the Cultural Center of the Philippines last Saturday, Nov. 8.
The summit—convened by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Cultural Center of the Philippines—aimed to dissect the marketing problem of independent films.
Offhand, the summit leaders agreed that Government help and guidance are indispensable in crafting a more organized and efficient system for the marketing of Filipino films—both made by indie film producers and mainstream film outfits.
The focus of the summit was the local distribution of independent films.
A press release issued by the FDCP and the CCP contained this manifesto:
“It is time to move beyond the creative endeavors. It is recognized that the art of making films has to be complemented by the business of making movies. Efforts have been previously concentrated in the creative side. At this crucial stage when our independent films are being recognized by the international film audiences, it is imperative that we look at the business side as well. More specifically, this summit will tackle the marketing phase (promotion and distribution) involved in the long, complicated process of movie-making.
“Artists might hate to crunch numbers and the discipline that wise business decisions dictates but the work does not stop when we have come up with our “first print”. Ultimately, if investments are not recouped, the wells will run dry and we cannot continue making our dream projects.
“Our movies have to be seen. We have to reach our audiences—here and abroad.
“They say that film is the most collaborative of all the arts. This summit hopes the delegates will come up with a collaborative plan with the various stakeholders interacting with each other and with the policy makers—government and otherwise.”
A follow-up summit will be held on November 28 which will focus on the foreign distribution concerns for indies and mainstream films.
The summit started at 8 a.m. for the registration of participants. CCP President Nestor O. Jardin welcomed the summit participants and FDCP Chairman/CEO Jacky Atienza made the opening remarks.
Independent Filmmakers Cooperative Chairman Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr. made a situation report on the local distribution of indie films. An open forum followed then the participants were divided into working groups to devise strategies, goals and programs for the marketing of indie films.
Chairman Del Mundo asked in his paper What happens once the film is made? He answered this at once: Some indie filmmakers may not even be interested in this question. But the more practical ones, and there is an increasing number of them, know the importance of the question. The film must reach its audience; indie filmmaking is also an investment, therefore, it I natural to expect an ROI.
He quoted Marge Templo, a producer for Arkeo, an indie company, who rattled off the following categories of distribution outlets:
–Theaters or cinemahouses like Robinsons Galerria’s IndieSine which offers a theater exclusively for indie works. IndieSine booking is handled by the IFC. The SM Circuit is sometimes open to indie digital films.
–Cultural centers like the CCP, the UP Film Center and regional cultural centers.
–Informal screening rooms like Mag.net, Mogwai and Titus Brandsman.
–Alternatives circuits, namely schools in Metro Manila and urban centers in the provinces.
Del Mundo thus concluded his speech: “Today, we are gathered here to discuss a little understood property—the independent film. What do we do with this property? How do we reach a wider audience? How do we make a return on investment to be able to make more films? How do we make money out of these films without sacrificing the nature of this type of filmmaking? It should be possible to make this enterprise viable without sacrificing the freedom that the Pinoy independent filmmaker enjoys. That is what we are here for to explore.
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