Laurice Guillen on the controversial uploading of Cinemalaya film entries on YouTube: “Nobody wanted this to happen...”

Cinemalaya Film Fest competition director Laurice Guillen on the controversy pertaining to the unauthorized uploading of Cinemalaya film entries on YouTube: "Nobody wanted this to happen."


Sa nakaraang Cinemalaya Film Fest closing (awarding) ceremonies, noong August 10 sa Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater, ay humingi ng dispensa, o public apology sa mga independent filmmakers ang mga pinuno ng Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc. na sina Chairman Antonio “Tonyboy” O. Cojuangco at President Nestor O. Jardin.

Pahayag ni Jardin: "We wish to publicly apologize to the filmmakers and producers of batch 2012 and 2013 for the uploading of their films on YouTube. The said films have been removed last night and we are calling for a dialogue to discuss and settle the issue. Again, our deep apologies."

Sa kanya ring speech nang gabing 'yon, bukod sa paghingi ng paumanhin, ay nilinaw ni Tonyboy Cojuangco ang para sa kanya'y mahalagang kadahilanan sa nangyaring pagkaka-upload sa YouTube at sa Cinemalaya website ng mga film entries na nakasali noong 2012 at 2013.

Kabilang sa mga ito ang respective best picture winners na Posas ni Lawrence Fajardo at Sana Dati ni Jerrold Tarog (sa Director's Showcase category); at ang Diablo ni Mes de Guzman at Transit ni Hannah Espia (sa New Breed category).

"Why did we think of doing this? The market that you cater to needs to know what your product is about," diin ni Cojuangco.

"[But] only a small percent of the population get to watch Cinemalaya films, so our market has to know what we're talking about."

May sentimyento ang mga apektadong filmmakers at producers, bilang may-ari ng DVD rights para sa kanilang pelikula. Ang punto naman ng Cinemalaya, ayon kay Cojuangco, ay ang "sustainability" ng market para sa mga produkto ng annual local indie filmfest ang kanilang kinukonsidera.

"We have to find other ways to let our market watch our films," banggit pa ni Cojuangco.

Sa grupo ng mga filmmakers na naroon, naging emotional naman ang director na si Hannah Espia ng Transit (2013), na siya ring producer ng Dagitab (2014), ang New Breed entry kung saan nanalo ang direktor nitong si Giancarlo Abrahan.

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FILMMAKERS SPEAK UP. Nagsalita si Espia sa huling bahagi ng awarding ceremony, matapos ang public apology nina Cojuangco at Jardin, at bilang karagdagang sentimyento rin matapos maipahayag ang official statement ng filmmakers sa pamamagitan nina Kanakan Balintagos (formerly Auraeus Solito) at Sigrid Andrea Bernardo.

Pahayag ni Espia: "I want to express my heartbreak over the upload of our films on YouTube. To see our films on YouTube is a violation of our rights as artists and filmmakers.

“This is a wake-up call for the Cinemalaya Foundation and the filmmakers to have a dialogue. And for filmmakers to unite. We cannot stay silent."

Samantala, ito naman ang official statement ng mga filmmakers (ng na-upload na Cinemalaya films sa YouTube, noong July 31, 2014), as read by Auraeus Solito and Sigrid Andrea Bernardo:

"Nakikiramay po kami sa mga sentimyento na pinagdaraanan ng mga kapwa naming filmmakers.

"We are in solidarity with our fellow filmmakers whose artistic rights were violated when their films were uploaded on YouTube and on the Cinemalaya website without their final consent.

"We make films not for fame nor money, but for passion and love for Philippine cinema. Gusto naming maabot ng mga pelikula namin ang higit na nakararami.

"Pero hindi sa paraang lalo pang sisikil kundi tuluyang kikitil sa sustainable na paggawa ng malayang pelikula.

"We believe in Cinemalaya and what it stands for. We are asking for dialogue and some reform.

"Para sa malayang paggawa ng sining. Para sa tunay na malayang Cinemalaya!"

LAURICE GUILLEN RESPONDS. Hinggil sa nabanggit na kahilingan ng mga filmmakers na magkaroon ng dialogue sa pagitan nila at ng mga organizer ng Cinemalaya at mga pinuno ng Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc., hiningan ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ng follow-up information si Laurice Guillen, competition director ng Cinemalaya.

Nagpaunlak ng panayam si Direk Laurice noong Thursday night, August 21 sa set ng Whistleblower sa Manila City Hall. Ang obra ay sa direksiyon ni Adolf Alix, Jr., tampok ang Superstar na si Nora Aunor.

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"Hindi pa kami nagmi-meeting," simula ni Laurice. "That night, nag-apologize lang for what happened [sina Mr. Cojuangco at Mr. Jardin], pero hindi pa kami nagmi-meeting.

"Kasi, si [Tonyboy], kababalik lang, galing States."

Before Cinemalaya, Tonyboy was in the U.S. for a throat operation, ayon kay Laurice.

"But something happened, na na-ICU siya. So, uulitin dapat ang operation, pero sabi niya, hindi muna, 'kasi, may Cinemalaya.'

"So, after Cinemalaya, bumalik siya ng States, para ituloy ang operation. I think he just arrived today. Kadadating lang niya galing sa operasyon," lahad niya.

PURSUING DIALOGUE. Direk Laurice further assured na tutuparin ng mga namumuno sa Cinemalaya ang pakikipag-usap sa mga filmmakers.

"Sinabi naman during the closing [ceremonies] na talagang mag-uusap-usap."

Bagamat isa ring director at filmmaker of note, may posisyong pinanghahawakan si Laurice Guillen sa Cinemalaya kaya masasabing nasa isang maselang sitwasyon siya sa ngayon.

Depensa niya, "I mean, nobody wanted this to happen. I'm also a director.

"Cinemalaya is not about one director or two directors.

"Cinemalaya will continue to look for new directors. Tapos, once na-introduce kayo, bahala na kayo. You already have your [introduction to the industry].

"Yun nga yung sinasabi namin. Your first film is your 'calling card.' Meron ka nang ipapakita, 'O, ayan, marunong na akong magdirek...'

"So, next year, bago naman [ang bibigyan ng chance ng Cinemalaya]."

Hinggil sa "outpouring of sentiments", 'ika nga, ng mga apektadong filmmakers sa gabi ng Cinemalaya closing ceremonies, sabi rin ni Laurice:

"My God, dumaan na ako ng Martial Law, okay? The real [thing]... this is just a simple matter of, 'Okay, I'm very disappointed...'

"I mean, if that's how they feel and 'we want to get down to the bottom of this, because we don't want [this thing to happen again]...'

"You know, that's what the others did. They emailed us, nagtatanong... 'kasi mahal namin ang Cinemalaya.' "

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RESPECT. Kabilang sa hanay ng filmmakers na may Cinemalaya entry last year si Eduardo Roy Jr., direktor ng Quick Change. Miyembro din siya ng Selection Committee para sa Short Films category sa taong ito.

Sabi niya, "Dapat talagang magkaroon ng dialogue ang Cinemalaya at ang mga filmmakers, para hindi na maulit yung nangyari, dahil totoo namang parehong maganda ang layunin ng lahat.

"Mabuti nga at naagapan, tinanggal agad sa YouTube, e. Kaya dapat, may pag-uusap at paglilinaw sa nangyari, para maiwasan at 'di na mangyari ito."

Sambit naman ni Francis Xavier Pasion, direktor ng New Breed Best Picture winner, Bwaya, noon ding gabi ng awards night:

"Cinemalaya must respect the filmmakers and the filmmakers must respect Cinemalaya."

Meanwhile, may iba namang kapwa nila filmmakers na may "combative stance" sa kanilang naging pahayag laban sa pagkakamaling agad itinuwid at ipinanghingi ng paumanhin ng Cinemalaya.

Sa kanyang Facebook status ay nag-post si Jerrold Tarog, nanalong best director para sa Sana Dati, ng ganito: "What a dick move, Cinemalaya. After all the support we've given. Sorry pero bastusan na ito."

May poot din ang Facebook status ni Jun Lana, direktor ng Audience Choice winner na Bwakaw (2012) noong August 9, isang araw bago ganapin ang Cinemalaya Awards night.

"Cinemalaya, you're supposed to be on the side of the Filipino filmmaker!!! WTF???" saad ni Lana sa Facebook.


WTF stands for "What The Fuck."

At matinding pahayag ang sinabi rin ng isang filmmaker laban sa Cinemalaya, "They have a lot to lose by telling a lie!"

Tanong ni Laurice, "Bakit naman magsasabi... [nang gano'n]?

"Sinabi naman [during the closing ceremonies] na talagang maguusap-usap. The Chairman [Cojuangco] and the President [Jardin] na ang nagsabi."

In utter disappointment, the award-winning Laurice Guillen intoned: "Anyway, bahala sila..."

Recounting her own experiences then, Laurice pointed out, "Kung alam nila yung panahon mo... kung alam nila, kung gaano kahirap nung panahon namin ni Marilou Diaz-Abaya... hindi sila magbibitaw [ng salita] nang basta-basta.

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"Ngayon, kung ikaw ay hinuli ng Metrocom [during the '80s, at the time of Martial Law, when curtailment of artistic freedom was at its worst], may dahilan ka.

"Tingnan natin kung makapagsasalita [pa] sila," sambit ni Direk Laurice.

Habang wala pang pormal na announcement tungkol sa nabanggit na pag-uusap-usap ng magkabilang panig (Cinemalaya at mga sangkot na indie filmmakers) patuloy ang naka-schedule na pagpapalabas ng Cinemalaya entries—hindi na sa YouTube—kundi sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (UP) sa pamamagitan ng Cinemalaya X Goes UP sa mga petsang August 30, September 1-5, at September 8, 2014.


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