THE Cebu film industry is eyeing more connections with foreign productions that will boost the local filmmaking community not only for art but also for income.
Because of the improved connectivity of Cebu to the world through the Mactan Cebu International Airport, Mel Allego, president of the Cebu International Film Festival (Cebu.IFF), said there is a high chance that Cebu will become a hub for film and media production.
“These past two years, we’ve been focused on building relationships and cultivating previous relationships and building a larger and newer network so that we can give opportunities and jobs to local filmmakers, particularly in terms of having foreign productions or co-productions done here in Cebu,” he said
“Having a close relationship with the local filmmakers has helped them considerably because we’ve always had international partners and producers who are interested,” he added.
The Cebu.IFF is also banking on the clamor for original content with the advent of social media platforms that allow them to reach an international audience.
“The potential of having Cebu as a hub or an epicenter for film and media production is considerable, especially since we have an international airport right here. The Cebuano community speaks English well and we have a lot of stories (to tell),” he said.
More than art
Allego also noted how filmmaking was regarded only as art and not as a business.
He said their goal in the Cebu.IFF is to change that mindset by urging filmmakers to collaborate with investors, producers, financiers and business owners.
“The local community thinks of film simply as art. I think that’s what will change now that it’s commercially viable because there’s a whole ecosystem. Aside from the talents that are involved, directly and indirectly, in film there are also support industries like hotels, transportation, food services and also with more productions being done in Cebu, it’ll also help with our tourism particularly with our film tourism,” he said.
Local talents, he said, are also going to Manila or even migrate abroad to find jobs related to the industry.
“Our goal is to make sure that we can get those talents to stay here and for people to realize, especially in Cebu, that film is not just simply an artistic endeavor. It is an industry where people can make money, people can survive,” he said.
During the Cebu Business Month (CBM) that opens on June 1, the Cebu.IFF will launch a curtain raiser that will feature winning films from 2018 in the Robinsons Galleria Cebu cinema.
CBM is a month-long activity organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.