Dec 06
SEESAW LIFE OF FILIPINO MOVIES by Salve Grace B. Losbanes  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Dec 6, 2013

MAINDIE– a combination of two words determining the two types of films: mainstream and independent movies.

Movies are like seesaw. On one side is independent film and on the other is mainstream. One goes up and one goes down. However, there is something between them that manages them in order to be balanced despite their weights and that is their audiences.

The “seesaw” life of Filipino Movies began during the few years of the new millennium. It was when Hollywood movies dominated the cinema and only few local movies were being produced every year. It was also because of the innovation of technology and new techniques which would require the filmmakers to use large amount of money in order to meet the needs of the audiences for good movies.

During those times, action movies declined in the cinema and instead, it was replaced by romantic comedies as the main movie theme among mainstream movie creators. The popularity of romantic comedy-themed movies among audiences topped the majority of the mainstream movies and up to now are still hit in the theater. After that, inspirational-themed movies entered. It then became a sign of the rebirth of Filipino movies in theater houses.

Then the hit Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2000 film of Raymond Red entitled Anino (Shadows) opened a new and exciting chapter of cinemas. It became an inspiration for the filmmakers to try creating valuable films even in its cheaper cost and productions. It helped in building Independent filmmaking also known as New Wave films in Philippine Cinema.

The hopes of the Filipino filmmakers that local movies will bloom once again through the presence independent films made several film groups like Cinemalaya Foundation, Cinema One Originals and Film Development Council of the Philippines support production of such movies.

These groups aim to showcase the talents and diverse voices of the local independent cinema. They also aim to help, develop and support the production of cinematic works of Filipino independent filmmakers and to reinforce and expand the promotion of local movies through these Filipino independent films in local and international fora. The enrichment of the culture of the Filipinos as well as promotion of social awareness and social responsibility are mostly the focus of the theme of the movies being produced and presented by these indie film sectors.

Local indie films were able to get into international film festivals despite low budget because some competent commercial and mainstream actors of today, started in independent films, and gained popularity out of it and one of them is Coco Martin, who is dubbed as the Prince of Independent Films.

Aside from that, even the mainstream actors of this industry like Star For All Season Vilma Santos, tried and experienced the life of indie films and considered themselves as a newbie of the indie world.

With the cooperation of both mainstream and independent film bodies, several local movies have competed and won in prestigious festivals in some Asian and Western countries like, Berlin and Cannes. It is not only the film itself which garners recognition outside the country, but also the makers of it. Among them was Director Brillante Mendoza who bagged the Best Director award for his movie Kinatay during the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last 2009.

You think Indie Films are just for competitions and not for the audience itself? No, because some independent movies are now recommended by the likes of the Department of Education for release in theaters nationwide.

Last 2012, the Department of Education endorsed the showing of independent film Tulak in all high school and college students in the country. The movie centerfolds the story of a man named Tikboy and his struggle to overcome the consequences of his life as a drug addict.

This movie was produced with the cooperation of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and several Anti-Drug campaign group as a part of the National Drug Education Program of DepEd. According to the lead actor of this film, Rafael Rosell, the movie aims to show drug users that they can be happy without drugs and to help them stop their habit.

Aside from Tulak, another independent film was also shown nationwide. It was an award-winning film entitled Boses. The showing of the film was endorsed by several media and church people including Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. The heartwarming story of friendship through music lifted up the hearts of their audiences, that even up to now, some organizations hope that the movie would also be shown in their places.

After which, other independent film organizations started to release their works in nationwide movie theater.

Like a seesaw, the release of indie films in nationwide theatre show the balance between mainstream and indie films, despite mainstream referred as still on the top. We can say that the Filipino film audiences are not just enjoying mainstream movies nowadays but they are also eager to watch independent movies. Most of Filipino film buffs even anticipate the annual independent film contests and made their own bets like the usual thing they do with mainstream movie’s Metro Manila Film Festival.

So either way, the most important point indie and mainstream films could give to their audiences aside from entertainment is that every Filipino must learn to appreciate culture and arts in the form of motion picture.

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