Film body removes Davao indie film from national festival-A A +A
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
DAVAO CITY -- “Malan,” an independent film that pays tribute to the B'laan tribe of Mindanao, was removed in the ongoing 1st National Film Festival in this city due to dispute over creative rights.
Briccio Santos, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair, confirmed the pullout of “Malan” from the screening because of some disagreements between Benjamin Garcia, film’s director, and producer Buhilaman Visions Davao Inc. (BVDI).
Don Pagusara of BVDI, also the indie film’s scriptwriter and producer, said on Monday they are against FDCP’s move to delist “Malan” from the film festival, which culminates today, Tuesday.
He said the issue revolves around Garcia’s insistence on a segment that is insensitive to the culture of the indigenous peoples, around whom the story revolves, and his refusal to include a massacre scene that the writer insists is important in the story as it lays down the essence of militarization in the Martial Law years.
It was earlier reported that some members of B’laan tribe protested the inclusion of the torrid kissing scene between actors Glenn Antaran and Martha Nikko Comia, who played the character of Malan, the B’laan girl. This also prompted the BVDI to come up with its own “producer’s cut.”
Pagusara said that shown in the June 29 film screening was the producer’s cut of Malan but Garcia allegedly said it was the pirated version of his film.
Pagusara added that FDCP was allegedly threatened by Garcia for not recognizing the latter as the director of the film.
“Garcia threatened the FDCP by going to court for non-recognition as the filmmaker,” he said.
Garcia reportedly said earlier that he was amenable to the film body’s decision to delist the independent film from the official list of entries.
In a meeting at the FDCP Cinematheque Davao on June 30, both contending parties have agreed that neither the producer's cut nor the director's cut will be screened during the festival.
"I have issued a directive that the producer's cut of the film be immediately pulled out of public exhibition in the ongoing National Film Festival in Davao City," Santos said in a statement.
He said FDCP is exerting all efforts to bring together the parties involved to settle differences regarding creative rights and artistic credits arising from the making of the film.
"As chair of the FDCP, I sincerely apologize to the viewing public, to the owners of the cinema houses where Malan is currently being shown, and to the producers, directors and film artists involved in the production of Malan, for any inconvenience or unhappiness this decision may entail. The FDCP only wants to be an instrument of progress and will do everything it can to help our Filipino filmmakers, including mediating in conflict cases and helping find solutions to problems," Santos said.
Santos, however, reassured the producers of Malan that this film remains eligible, together with other qualified film entries, for the Phase 2 of the FDCP's National Film Festival in November this year still in this city.
The film festival featured 18 films during its opening on June 29.
(With report from NCB/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 03, 2012.