By: Leo G. Martinez
Director General, FAP
It has been another year. For the Film Academy of the Philippines, the FAP Awards is the culmination of each year’s quest for excellence, the recognition of work well done. And may we applaud and congratulate everyone who participated in the effort.
The Awards too signals the beginning for FAP to roll up its sleeve and focus once again in the task of laying a continuous groundwork for programs that will pave for a more creative, meaningful and lucrative film industry. While we struggle to face the realities of the state of our local film industry, we are also cognizant of the fact that we need to break barriers and thrust ourselves towards global competitiveness if we have to survive.
After last year’s Awards, the Film Academy leadership strove to fulfill its given task by assiduously pursuing several management directions.
Guild elections and Website
Before anything else, the Film Academy sought to strengthen the organization by refurbishing its membership and its internal structures. In coordination with the Manila Metropolitan Development Authority, the FAP generated funds that enabled the application of identified educational programs for the various production guilds. A P150,000 grant awarded to each guild made possible the conduct of that much-needed skill-specific workshops for their members. Energized, most of the guilds went on to further streamline their individual organizations by electing new officers as done by the Production Designers Guild of the Philippines (PDGP), the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines (SGP), the Film Editors Guild for Motion Pictures (FEGMP), and others.
Together with manpower development, we also sought to improve our technological capacity and those of the guilds. Part of the MMDA fund grant was channeled to acquire computers, printers, scanners, still and video cameras, and other audio-visual equipment that the guilds utilized to effect more efficient and creative work.
FAP also made itself more visible to the industry members by publishing its own electronic magazine via the internet: www.fapweb.org. The magazine does not merely disseminate information but was rather designed as an interactive medium by which users are able to relay to FAP their views, reactions, and comments about cinema and our local films. This way, we keep in touch with our audiences.
FAP education program
The dynamism of our organization and consequently our industry depends much on the continuing education that we can provide our workers. Along this line, we believed it necessary to launch the FAP Education Program as a major component in our work functions. A comprehensive project, the FAP Education Program will develop a menu of in-depth and purposive educational courses of study intended to raise our majority of filmmakers and workers towards global competence. Still in its organization phase, the Program will be installed as one of FAP’s flagship projects.
In relation to the FAP Education Program, we have submitted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a request to acquire the movie equipment of the Motion Pictures Division of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in view of the Division’s phase-out. The equipment complement which includes 35mm and 16mm projectors as well as sound recording, laboratory and film editing equipment, could be a vital facility not only for the Program but they can as well be used as equipment support for small budgeted film projects by our young filmmakers, as training facilities for film and mass communication students, and as screening facility for films that are in contention for the FAP awards.
As an initial activity of the Education Program, the FAP helped send two delegates to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2005 Convention and Exposition, the world’s largest electronic media show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sent were Rolando Ruta and Pacifico Sanchez, Jr., both officers of the Sound Technicians Association for Motion Pictures (STAMP). Their participation is expected to gather for us information materials on the latest technical facilities especially on High Definition digital cinema, and to research on how we can upgrade our local analog post production studies to handle digital processes.
Livelihood and pride campaign programs
Another Program launched by FAP is the Livelihood Program. Aware of a pervading decline in film projects, FAP thought it important to provide movie workers an alternative means of income to parlay financial difficulties even for a temporary period of time. Under this program, five members from each production guild are given the opportunity to promote, distribute and earn from varied household products that are supplied by FAP.
Another Program launched by FAP is the Pride Campaign or Maipagmamalaki Ko. In coordination with UNESCO, Globe and Smart, the campaign aims to redirect the Filipino’s attitude towards a more appreciative view of the country and our culture. Rather than focus on the negative, the Campaign encourages the audience to search for people, things, places or events in his barangay, town or province that he can be proud of and to share the information through texting. Eventually, these information can be sources of materials for future film and television productions.
Fiscal support and PIFVO
With three new programs launched and running, the FAP is necessarily faced with the need to secure fiscal support for their full operation. Towards this end, we have made official representations with Senators Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada to allocate a portion of their Community Development Fund specifically for the FAP Education Program, the Pride Campaign and the Livelihood Program.
With internal programs in place, the FAP also focused its attention on external events that affect the local industry. In August last year, in a move to protect the interest of our local filmmakers and workers, the FAP signed a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Immigration that will require all foreign film producers and workers to coordinate with FAP before they are issued working visas in the Philippines. Under this agreement, FAP shall encourage foreign producers to utilize local artists and film workers, and ensure strict compliance with all permits licenses and payment of city, municipal or entertainment taxes. The Bureau of Immigration issues the Special Work Permit only upon completion of these requirements and the presentation by the producer of a Letter of Endorsement and Certificate of Compliance from FAP.
Meantime, the FAP initiated discussions on the creation by executive order of a Philippine International Film and Video Office (PIFVO). This office shall in concept be a one-stop-shop of all information that may be required for foreign film and video productions. When operational, the PIFVO can be an incentive for foreign film and video producers to consider the Philippines as their regular location area.
FAP also is spearheading moves to create avenues for our local filmmakers and writers to compete and excel.
Pelikulang Pampanitikan and scriptwiting/storyline contest
Currently, we are initiating moves to set up a film festival that would honor and appreciate Filipino literature. The festival called Pelikulang Pampanitikan will be held regularly in Quezon City and will feature films that interpret literature that are being taught in our grade school, high-school and college systems. Aimed to gather screenwriters and filmmakers in creatively producing in film the works of published Filipino authors, the Festival will also eventually provide our school system with a library of literary materials in visual form. This project is being undertaken in coordination with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the Quezon City government through Mayor Sonny Belmonte and Vice-Mayor Herbert Bautista and the Department of Education and Culture.
In another venue, FAP has launched a scriptwriting/storyline contest that hopes to encourage even budding writers to explore their craft. Organized by the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines (SGP), the contest will select three winners for screenplay with a prize of P200,000 each while five winners for storyline will get P50,000 each.
23rd FAP (Luna) awards and FPJ lifetime achievement award
And finally, the highlight of FAP’s yearly achievement is the FAP Awards. This year, the new selection process proved to be easier to manage having had its initial run of difficulties last year when it was first employed. Notwithstanding the successful presentation of last year’s Awards Night, the FAP feels that the Awards itself could further be improved by making the recognition more meaningful.
One of the steps made was for the FAP statuette to carry its own identity. A “Name the Statuette” contest was launched in late 2004 and the winners picked in March 2005. The statuette is Luna, for all the symbolisms that it carry– the majesty of the moon, the beauty of the personification of Mother Philippines in a painting of Juan Luna which is the model for the FAP statuette– a name that will be carried in all of the FAP Awards from hereon. The FAP Awards also is giving honor to one of the film industry’s icons and benefactors by creating the Lifetime Achievement Award in his name. It will now be known as the Fernando Poe, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award.
So the Awards is here again. And again, we pause from the daily grind to collectively salute the winners and all those who were cited for exemplary work. We hope that when the funfare ends, the same collective effort can be carried over as we face once more the challenges of forging a truly working film industry.