A CINEMATHEQUE will soon be established in Cebu City.
This is what Liza Diño-Seguerra has been working on for the Visayas as the new chairperson of Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), after baring her plans during a film forum held Sept. 23 at the University of San Carlos.
As part of her goal of bringing the FDCP to different regions and empowering local film communities, Diño-Seguerra said she envisions a cinematheque in the city which will serve as a motion-picture hub for Bisaya classic and contemporary films.
Her core plan for the region also includes a database and directory of filmmakers and artists, filmmaking workshops and trainings, and upholding government assistance for local film workers.
“Every time I go to a forum in a different community, I hear different needs,” Diño-Seguerra said. “I assure a proactive stance on addressing these concerns.”
The chief said FDCP will assess the Visayan film landscape to realign the council’s programs to the region’s specific needs.
“I want each city’s or province’s film scene to thrive on its own and be self-sustaining.”
Diño-Seguerra wants to zero in on building an audience for local films by formulating policies and programs for audience development.
“For whom do we make our films? There’s still a gap between the audience and the films we make,” said Diño-Seguerra who acknowledged the potential of film tourism in Cebu.
Upon hearing the issues raised among local film festival organizers, Diño-Seguerra said there’s a need to promote a healthy competition and proper communication among different players in the region.
“We are a community. We need to set our egos aside and form a unified front to succeed,” she added, addressing the “complex relationship” among local film festival organizers.
FDCP will also explore opportunities for film students as well as setting up production facilities in the region.
Local filmmakers agree that Cebu is not yet ready to become an international film hub as contended by Cebu International Film Festival director April Dequito because of the lack of a cinematheque.
“FDCP Chair Diño-Seguerra stressed that first on her list was providing a venue for local films to be shown—a Cinematheque,” said award-winning Cebu-based filmmaker Ara Chawdhury.
Local filmmakers found Dequito’s views too idealistic without heed of the current condition of Cebu. During the forum, Diño-Seguerra answered Dequito’s contentions saying that Cebu cannot yet compete with other Asian countries when it comes to festival positioning or getting at least 25,000 people in the audience.
The local film scene is not even causing a dent in the national gross domestic product, which is why the current administration is focusing on developing local talent because if the films aren’t making money for the country there won’t be money to go back to creating festivals.
Furthermore, Chawdhury clarified that it was Dequito’s statements that were found derogatory and insulting to the panelists, who were already internationally acclaimed filmmakers.
Diño-Seguerra said Dequito should level her expectations with reality before making bold claims about making Cebu an international film hub.
But in the middle of her discussion, Dequito cut her off, saying: “I’d like to sincerely apologize for giving locals undue pressure to rise up.”
It was found insulting especially for the internationally acclaimed panelists who were there and were included in Dequito’s contention of asking locals to step up their game. Denzel Yorong with reports from Chelzee G. Salera