Time for Cebu to see action as film site, performer says

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Friday, May 30, 2014


A FILM enthusiast is urging the local government to consider promoting Cebu as an ideal destination for filming movies to help boost tourism.

Maria Victoria Beltran, Visayas representative of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), said the province has all it takes to become a filmmaking destination, not only because of its creative talent pool but also its beautiful scenery.

She announced during the 888 News Forum last Tuesday that Cebu will host the 7th Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival in February 2015. The event is organized by the NCCA in cooperation with Cebu Province and Lilas Binisaya, Inc. Beltran also writes screenplays and acts in independent movies.

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The Cinema Rehiyon annual film festival aims to hasten the artistic evolution of Philippine cinema, especially regional cinema. It also aims to bring the works of Filipino filmmakers to different audiences and communities.

Beltran said they expect over 100 delegates including filmmakers, producers and performers from all over the country to attend the annual film festival.

Cebu’s hosting of the event is an opportunity for the province to showcase its potential to become a preferred film location, on the back of its rich culture and heritage, Beltran said.

Besides, Cebu has locations that have compelling stories that can interest both filmmakers and “film tourists”.

Wego.com, an online travel search engine, said that with more low-cost carriers and simpler travel booking options, film tourists will probably pursue film locations more frequently in their travels.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara filed last March 4 a bill that seeks to promote the country’s filmmaking industry by providing tax incentives to production companies, both foreign and local.

Senate Bill 2160, also known as the Fostering Investment through Local and International Movies (FILM) Act, aims to attract filmmakers by providing incentives to film production companies, primarily through tax credits ranging from 20 to 40 percent under a point-based incentive system.

“Film tourism is a growing phenomenon wherein a destination is visited by tourists because it was featured in a movie, television or video,” said Angara in a statement.

The senator cited, as an example, New Zealand’s international visitor arrivals, which increased by 50 percent since the first installment of the Lord of the Rings in 2001.

“By boosting the country’s film tourism, the Philippines stands to increase the number of tourist arrivals and stimulate its economy. A dollar spent by a tourist for accommodations is multiplied 2.1 times for the economy as it creates jobs and opportunities and spreads its effect in other industries as well,” he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 31, 2014.

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