December 12, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

No foreign films to screen for one week in August

NO HOLLYWOOD FILMS -- or any other foreign films -- will be shown nationwide from Aug. 16 to 22 to make way for the first Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), a festival featuring Filipino films.

The PPP was created in hopes to provide more avenues for local films and producers, said Mary Liza Diño-Esguerra, chairwoman of the Filipino Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) during a press conference on May 12 at Salu Restaurant in Quezon City.

A project of the FDCP, the one-week celebration is done in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, and the National Youth Commission.

Ms. Diño-Esguerra said that while over 300 Hollywood films are released in the Philippines each year, fewer than 100 local films are shown. She clarified that the PPP is not in competition with local film festivals like Cinemalaya, which usually takes place between July and August, or the Metro Manila Film Festival in December.

“The more platforms [for local films], the better,” said Ms. Diño-Esguerra.

The PPP selection committee is made up of cinemaphiles, film critics, and people in the industry, including screenwriter Ricky Lee, directors Joey Javier Reyes and Erik Matti, film editor Manet Dayrit, critic Oggs Cruz, and actress Iza Caldzado. The committee will choose 10 to 12 films that will be shown in more than 700 cinemas nationwide. Each selected film is guaranteed 60 screens for the first three days of the festival. The theme of the films should highlight Filipino culture and sensibilities.

The screening committee, however, will not have any percentages for the various criteria, and Ms. Diño-Esguerra said: “Di naman kailangan mataas or magiisip talaga sila (It does not have to be too fancy or highfalutin).”

One of the aims of the festival is also profitability, she added. The malls and the producers, and not the FDCP, will be the only recipients of the movie ticket sales.

The event is open to all Filipino film producers. While they may submit more than one entry, only one film will be selected per producer, including co-productions.

The films should be at least 75 minutes long, come with English subtitles, and should not have been shown on the Internet or have been commercially released in the Philippines, but those previously featured in festivals here and abroad are eligible. The films should have been produced between 2015 to 2017.

The PPP also aims to “crossover regionally and globally,” said Ms. Diño-Esguerra, adding that while Filipinos embrace foreign films, including Hollywood hits and Korean-produced films like the blockbuster Train to Busan, we should acknowledge the local talents we have. She noted that the Philippines has bagged 73 awards from different foreign film festivals last year.

“We are talented,” she said.

Entries are being accepted at the FDCP office until May 19 (with entry fee at P5,000), from May 20 to June 2 (P7,000), and from June 3 to 15 (P10,000).

Also to be shown alongside the full-length feature films are five-minute movies by young Filipinos in a section called Cine Kabataan.

Amateur filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 24 are encouraged to share their stories and perspectives on any current events. The themes include health (which may tackle HIV, AIDS, and teenage pregnancy), education (like out-of-school-youths and cyberbullying), family (experiences with OFWs parents, domestic violence), and security (youth in conflict with the law).

Entries must be submitted on or before June 30 at the National Youth Commission office. -- Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman