Cebu being positioned as film marketplace

WHILE various industries in Cebu have claimed unprecedented growth in the past years, the local film industry is catching up with the development as it seeks to position Cebu as a “film marketplace.”

Last Monday, local and international filmmakers, producers, and investors gathered at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino to participate in the first Cebu Film Market and Broadcast Expo (CFMBx). The event was part of the third Cebu International Documentary Film Festival (CIDFF).

In an interview with CIDFF festival director and board member April Dequito on the sidelines of the festival, she said that this year is high time for film industry players, especially the locals, to present their works and network with investors and fellow film makers involve in the buying and selling of films.

“We want the (global) market to know that there is a market here, that they can do business on film here because we have local players,” she said.

She noted, however, that the film industry in Cebu, although present, has “no structure” yet.

“The industry is there but it just needs to be formed, it needs to be aligned. (With the) Cebu film market, you have an area where they (filmmakers) can do business,” she said.

During the CFMBx, local filmmakers pitched their films to investors. The Next Page by David and Francisco Salazar and Siquijorror by Emmanuel Dela Cruz received $500 each from RRK Entertainment and Asiatech Films respectively.

The Next Page follows the story of a father and a son coping with pediatric cancer while Siquijorror follows the trail of a team of an American-led movie filmmakers who was ship-wrecked and got stranded in a mythical island.

Cebu, according to Dequito, is also envisioned to become the center for “creative documentaries” in Southeast Asia, with no neighboring country to have tapped the concept.

Creative documentaries differ from journalistic documentaries with the former injecting a creative treatment on the subject.

For this year’s festival, documentaries were categorized under long documentary, short documentary and special documentary.

Apart from establishing Cebu as a marketplace for films, CIDFF president Lilu Aliño said the organization also aims to make Cebu as a film destination to further boost the island’s tourism industry.

Instead of filming in other places, Dequito said foreign filmmakers can opt to shoot in Cebu. She said tourism resources are adequate and can meet the requirement of producers, especially for those on the lookout for beach destinations.

Aliño said Cebu can also compete on historical and cultural destinations, with it being named as Association of Southeast Asian Nations City of Culture.

More than 30 films were showcased in this year’s CIDFF. The festival culminated on Saturday at the Marcelo Fernan Press Center in Lahug and featured Johannes Wahlstrom’s film, Mediastan.
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