The Cinema Values Reorientation Program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts has endorsed the production of pilots for the ambitious Film Academy of the Philippines’ Pelikulang Pampanitikan which envisions to translate into films some of the Filipino literary masterpieces included in the country’s elementary, high school and college curricula.
In a meeting last Thursday, April 20, CVRP Chairman Eddie Romero, National Artist for Film, explained that Pelikulang Pampanitikan, which was just submitted by FAP Director General Leo Martinez to the CVRP, is worth funding and supporting as this intends to build up a library of films based or adapted from Filipino literary classics—from folk literature to modern novels in both Filipino, English or the dialects.
The FAP project proposal aims to produce three categories of films based on literary materials, namely, feature films, short films (10 to 15 minutes) and shorter films (three to eight minutes). Initially, the FAP plans to produce six feature films, six short films and 12 shorter films.
For the pilot projects, Director Romero said a budget of P2.7 million will be needed, broken down as follows: P2 million for the feature film, P500,000 for the short film and P200,000 for the shorter film.
FAP Director General Martinez said that the NCCA must also add a budget for the administrative expenses for the three pilots.
As proposed, the feature film will be based on a literary work being taken up by college students while the short and shorter films will be adapted from literary materials like legends, fables or folklore included in the curricula of high school and elementary schools, respectively.
Literary materials will be chosen from a short list of titles collated and categorized by a board of consultants from the FAP and the academe who reviewed existing literary materials still being taken up in the three educational levels above-mentioned.
With the CVRP endorsement of the production of pilots for the initial phase of the project, Director General Martinez explained that the FAP will draft a follow-up proposal to list down at least three literary materials for each pilot.
As envisioned in the FAP project proposal, Pelikulang Pampanitikan will be open to filmmakers who are members of guilds affiliated with the FAP only in the feature film category while the two other categories will be open to students and non-FAP members.
The filmmaker must agree to produce the literary material in either digital format with the following technical description: DVD Format-MPEG4 DVD Minus or VCD Format-MPEG1.
A feature film may be based on one single material, (a novel or an epic poem), or it may be a trilogy or collection of shorter literary materials like related folk stories and short stories or novelettes.
All Pelikulang Pampanitikan films will become the property of the Film Academy of the Philippines which will take responsibility for its exhibition, replication and archiving. As a general rule, all finished films will be exhibited in regular theaters for popular audiences based on a schedule to be agreed on between theater owners and the Academy.
Such theater exhibition will feature the full-length film with the short films as added attractions.
In special exhibitions for students, an agreement may be forged between the theater owners and the FAP for discounted entrance fees. In areas without existing theaters, the Academy may arrange for mobile exhibitions in coordination with local schools and organizations.
The project proposes the formation of an Organizing Committee to oversee the project, to be composed of the heads or permanent representatives from FAP, the NCCA, Department of Education, the organization of theatre owners, and any other such personalities as may be deemed helpful in the implementation of the project regulations.
Headed by a Chairman, the committee shall be responsible for setting the project’s direction, organizing its implementing mechanisms, establishing partnerships and linkages with the Department of Education, generating funds for and project and making all major decisions affecting project implementation.
An integral group will be the Literature Committee which will be composed of no less than three members who are knowledgeable on the literature components in each school level and can evaluate the potential of the literary work vis-à-vis interpretation into film. The committee will coordinate with the Department of Education and other educational institutions in the inventory of significant literary works in the different literary forms being taught in the three school levels periodically to update the short list of the works from where participating filmmakers can select their titles from. The committee shall also be tasked with negotiating the authors/writers of the selected work for outright payment of copyright.
The primary objectives of Pelikulang Pampanitikan are:
1. To generate among our students and the general public a better understanding of and deeper appreciation for our Filipino literature and Filipino authors and writers;
2. To develop a video library of literature materials for our schools, colleges and universities as well as for government and private institutions promoting Philippine culture and tourism;
3. To provide Filipino filmmakers and film workers avenues to create films from literary works.
4. To provide work opportunities for our local filmmakers and film workers.