AS THE designated cinema representative of the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA), Sub-Commission on Arts (SCA) for indigenous peoples (IP), I attended the two day planning workshop held in Manila for the 2017 to 2022 SCA Development Plan.
Along with other sub-committee representatives of the seven arts, namely, creative, theatre, literary, visual arts, music and architecture, we crafted a short term development plan.
As a newbie in my committee, I proposed to pilot an outreach film appreciation and education program in any of the IP areas with a short workshop on film production using available technology. About three decades have passed since I first attended short courses and workshops on film and video productions at the UP (University of the Philippines) Film Center and Mowelfund but I still fully recall the basic elements of script-writing, cinematography including acting and directing.
Of course, the technical requirements were different then compared today because we used 8mm and 16mm films that has to be shipped out of the country for processing and be able only to view what we called rushes after two weeks. With today’s digital technology, the craft of filmmaking has been too democratized that even elementary graders can produce short films using their smart phones and portable computers.
Now that the country is celebrating the centenary of Philippine cinema as noted by film archivists like my committee chair Teddy Co, we have included in our plans the granting of financial assistance to regional film festivals and encourage the participation of schools in coming up with capacity building programs for students.
We have discussed the possible mainstreaming of arts and culture that encompasses cinema in the educational system. Our proposal of establishing one culture hub in every strategic center also jives and goes hand-in-hand with the proposals of other art committees.
The 2017 to 2022 Development Plan that we submitted for review by the NCCA en banc includes the possible retrieval of earliest film adaptations of Mars Ravelo’s “Darna” and “Dyesebel” from Thailand for its historical value, the institutionalization of partnerships with other agencies through memorandum of understandings (MOUs) and strengthening of LGU (local government unit) engagements.
We also proposed the sharing of technology and expertise to the regions including film marketing, promotion, distribution, and film criticism.
The development of film education programs for Senior High Schools and DEPED’s Special Program for the Arts was also included and the offering of filmmaking platforms for Indigenous People Communities.
One of the things that we fully deliberated upon is how to professionalize and manage film productions and film festivals and we propose the publication of a manual or a journal based on experiences from past festivals like the Cine Rehiyon which will soon having its tenth anniversary by 2018. Also included in our proposal is the creation of an online platform for distributing films with focus on Philippine cinema.
During our discussion with Ed Palmos, the director-writer of the 1982 film “Ang Babae sa Ulog” said that his film received many flak after it won second in a Manila Film festival and we eventually agreed on certain points that creative rendition or artistic license will not give justice to inaccuracy of a scene especially if it depicts sensitive culture based practices. This thing on cultural sensitivity is also one of the reasons why I ventured into this national committee to identify and help guide media, educators, researchers and filmmakers on certain customary practices that should be properly depicted and not wronged.
One interesting point discussed during the culminating part of our planning session was the proposal to have a holiday for IPs and an act providing for the welfare and protection of artists and cultural workers that likewise supports the establishment of a Department of Culture.
Once given the signal to go on with my proposed program with the required budgetary provision, I might soon be trekking to one of the outlying IP areas of the north to look for conduits among the schools and conduct a film education program and mini-workshop on film production.
As one of its activities, the NCCA-Cinema will provide film-post production grants to qualified individual filmmakers with good track record in producing films. The rule specifies that the grantee must have a good track record with the ability to accomplish production schedule.
For this, it is required that the grant applicant must be able to present a screenplay or sequence treatment, copies of the rushes for the short film, and a rough cut of key sequences for full-length films.