In terms of film output, last year’s total of local movies exhibited was a little higher, actually just six products more, than the total of 2004, but definitely lower than the annual outputs from 2000 to 2003.
As per statistics of the Film Academy of the Philippines, the breakdown of total film output is as follows: 86 films for 2000, 94 for 2001, 91 for 2002 and 82 for 2003.
A small movie company, El Nino Films, accounted for 10 produced films, mostly low-budgeted sex flicks that were classified R-18 and were not booked in the SM theater circuit. Its sister companies, LUV Films and Vincent Films, produced four and one films respectively. To get an SM booking, El Nino and its sister companies came up with four films not rated R-18, namely Hayop sa Ganda, Hanep sa Porma, Saksi Driver, Okey Ka, Pare Ko and Pasaway na Multo.
Regal Entertainment Inc., with sister companies MAQ Films, Good Harvest Films and Reality Entertainment, accounted for 11 films. Three of these were co-produced with other companies—Let the Love Begin and Mulawin, the Movie with GMA Films; and Exodus, Tales of the Enchanted Kingdom with Imus Productions.
ABS Films (formerly Star Cinema) produced five films, namely, Dreamboy, Can This Be Love?, Nasaan Ka Man, D’Anothers and Dubai.
Tony Gloria’s Unitel Pictures came up with La Visa Loca, starring Robin Padilla, Peque Gallaga’s Pinoy Blonde (a digital transferred to 35. mm film) and Sa Aking Pagkakagising sa Kalimutan (digital).
Other companies who produced two films each include: Rocketts Productions (Uno and Lagot Ka sa Kuya Ko); Octoarts and sister company Canary Films (the 2006 MMFFP top-grosser Enteng Kabisote 2 and Kutob), Cine Suerte of Ben Yalung (Birhen ng Manaoag and Sablay Ka Na, Pasaway Ka Pa) and Viva Films (Boso and Ilusyon, both digital).
According to Victor Villegas, a booking official, there were certified hits in 2005 and these included Let the Love Begin (shown in February), D’Anothers (shown in July), Dubai (shown in September), Ispiritista (shown in October) , Ako Legal Wife, Exodus and Enteng Kabisote (all MMFFP 2005 entries).
Films with above-average grosses were Can This Be Love?, Nasaan Ka Man, Masahista, Hari ng Sablay, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, Mulawin the Movie, Shake, Rattle and Roll 2 and Blue Moon. Villegas explained that he rated the grosses of Masahista, Hari ng Sablay and Pagdadalaga as above-average because they were produced with much lower budgets, unlike Mulawin which was heavily-budgetted.
There were seven film directors who got more than one film assignments last year. Topping the list was Cesar Sb. Abella, with an astonishing 12 films; Mac Alejandre, 3 (Let the Love Begin, Say That You Love Me and Hari ng Sablay); and two films each for Joel Lamangan (Ako Legal Wife and Blue Moon), Jose Javier Reyes (Can This Be Love? and Kutob), Tony Reyes (Ispiritista and Enteng Kabisote 2), Ronnie Ricketts (Uno and Lagot Ka sa Kuya Ko) and Tony Bernal (Pelukang Itim and Lisensiyadong Kamao).
There were 30 other directors who made one film each. Three others, Uro de la Cruz, Rico Maria Ilarde and first-time director Richard Somes, directed an episode each for the horror trilogy Shake, Rattle & Roll 2.
But any way one looks at it, 2005 was undoubtedly the year of the digital independent films. At a glance there were at least 28 digital films produced. Cinemalaya accounted for nine films shown at the UP Film Center from July 12 to 17. The festival of Cinema One Originals, a project of movie cable channel Cinema One, came up with six films which were shown at the SM Megamall on July 29 to 31. Finally, the 7th Cinemanila International Film Festival went digital for the first time in years, exhibiting eight digital films from October 12 to 25 at several mall theater circuits in Manila.
Three of the Cinemalaya films were rated favorably by the Cinema Evaluation Board. Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, directed by Auraeus Solito and scripted by Michiko Sy Yamamoto, was Rated A. Big Time, directed by Mario Cornejo and Coreen Jimenez, was also Rated A, while ICU Bed 7, starring Eddie Garcia and directed by Rica Arevalo, was rated B.
Two of the Cinema One originals were also Rated B. These were Sa North Diversion Road, directed by Dennis Marasigan, starring John Arcilla and Irma Adlawan; and Sandalang Bahay, directed by Denisa Reyes and Mark Gary, starring Albert Martinez.
Three digital films which were transferred to 35 mm. films and shown in theaters were also rated by the CEB of the Film development Council of the Philippines. These were Pinoy Blonde of Peque Gallaga (Rated B); Mga Pusang Gala (Rated B); and Viva Film’s Ilusyon (Rated A).
New names cropped up in the promising list of filmmakers. Veteran scriptwriter Clodualdo del Mundo Jr. megged Pepot Artista which won the best film and best editing awards during the Cinemalaya festival. The other Cinemalaya festival winners were: Rica Arevalo (ICU Bed 7) for direction; Mario Cornejo and Coreen Jimenez (Big Time) for screenplay; Jun Aves (Baryoke) for cinematography; Daniel Adapon (Pepot Artista) for editing; Clint Catalan, Christina Dy and Lily Esquillon (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros) for production design; Raffy Magsaysay and Allan Feliciano (Big Time) for sound; and a special jury prize for Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros.
In the Cinemanila film competition, the winners were: best picture, Tuli, directed by Auraeus Solito (who also megged Ang Pagdadalaga); second best picture, Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong, directed by Mes de Guzman; and third best picture, Ala Verde, Ala Pobre, directed by Briccio Santos. (To be continued)