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Filipino indie filmmakers seek gov’t help

Ang Mga Kidnaper ni Ronnie Lazaro wins for its director, Sigfreid Barros Sanchez, the grand festival prize at the 1st Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival.

Publication Date : 04-07-2012


Filipino independent filmmakers said the issue of marketing and distribution has become such a big problem to most of them, prompting them to seek aid from the government.

Director Sigfreid Barros Sanchez made the plea during the 1st Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival awards ceremony on Sunday night, when he was handed the grand festival prize for his film, Ang Mga Kidnaper ni Ronnie Lazaro.

“I wish filmmakers would get help not just in creating movies but also in marketing them,” Sanchez said in his acceptance speech at Cinema 4 of Abreeza G-Mall where the two-hour awards show was held. “It would be great if we could earn more because this would eventually encourage us to make more.”

“I thank the FDCP (Film Development Council of the Philippines) for the opportunity to make more films,” he added.

Sanchez dedicated his trophy to “the youth who all dream of being filmmakers. I look forward to seeing your works soon.”

Qiyamah director Gutierrez Mangansakan II, who shared the grand jury prize with Ed Lejano (Qwerty), made the same appeal to the government. He said: “A film, no matter how beautiful, if not supported by an efficient marketing and distribution mechanism, would be useless and ineffective.”

Mangansakan said he wanted Qiyamah—which was based on his love letter to his late mother—to participate in film festivals abroad. He was also aiming to have the film, which talks of the Apocalypse or the end of days, shown in Muslim places outside the Philippines.

The best artistic contribution award was given to cinematographer McRobert Nacario for his work in Qiyamah.

Lejano said he was pleased to have been part of and to have won an award in the FDCP-sponsored festival. Qwerty, a story on police brutality, stars Joem Bascon.

“It’s a festival that’s freer and have no creative interference. It’s original,” Lejano told the Inquirer.

He added that he found the idea of bringing film festivals to the provinces encouraging. “Indie filmmaking happens not only in the city but also in the regions,” he stressed.

Best performances

The ensemble cast of Kidnaper—Ronnie Lazaro, Noni Buencamino, Epy Quizon, Soliman Cruz, Dwight Gaston, Hector Macaso and Raul Morit—won the best performance by an actor award. Only Morit was present to receive the trophy.

Kidnaper is about a group of down and out-of-luck men who attempt to make a film featuring Ronnie Lazaro, currently the most sought-after local indie actor. Conflict arises when Lazaro begs off from acting on the supposed indie film. The men then forcibly abduct him and force him to work on the project in a dilapidated house in Quiapo.

Sue Prado won best performance by an actress for her portrayal of a mute mother who crosses a river using a makeshift boat to bring her two sons to school in In Bangka Ha Ut Sin Duwa Sapah. Sanchez codirected the film with Fyrsed Alsad Alfad III.

Winner of the best animated short film was Si Pagong at Si Matsing by Carmen del Prado, Didy Evangelista and Mai Saporsantos. Walay Tumo’y ng Punterya (No End in Sight) by Cierlito Espejo Tabay bagged the best documentary award.

Meanwhile, the producers and supporters of the full-length feature Malan staged a protest on Sunday night demanding that the FDCP reverse its earlier decision to pull out the film from the festival.
FDCP Chair Briccio Santos earlier ordered the pullout of the controversial entry “pending settlement of dispute” between its director Benji Garcia and producer Buhilaman Visions Davao.

“This was very unfair to us,” said producer Lilli Arellano, who was among the protesters in front of Cinema 4 of Abreeza G-Mall, where the festival’s award ceremony was being held.

Arellano added: “It’s not right that just because a director threw a fit, pagbibigyan na agad. (The FDCP) said it was merely trying to avoid controversy, that’s exactly what it turned into when it ordered the pullout.”

Malan is one of 18 films—full-length features, documentaries and animated shorts—selected from the FDCP-initiated National Film Competition held last year. The finalists were awarded seed money to finish their movies.



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