Director Erik Matti says Philippine film industry is "in a state of coma"

by Jet Hitosis
Aug 27, 2019
Filmmaker Erik Matti believes that the Philippine film industry is now "in a state of coma." He pleads: "We’ve got to find a way to move our toes on our feet to get us out of it and change the course of cinema in this country."
PHOTO/S: Erik Matti on Facebook

Para sa direktor na si Erik Matti, nasa “state of coma” ang Philippine film industry, na nagdiriwang ngayon ng ika-100 taon nito.

Ito ang buod ng mahabang Facebook post ng veteran filmmaker noong Lunes ng gabi, August 26, nang bigyang-diin niya ang kawalan ng “high concept fresh ideas” ng mga pelikulang ipinalalabas sa bansa sa kasalukuyan.

Iniugnay pa nga niya ang problema ng film industry sa matagal nang usap-usapan sa social media na hindi pagkamatay ng karakter ni Coco Martin, si Cardo Dalisay, sa ABS-CBN series na FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

“This industry is on auto-pilot now,” bungad ng post ni Direk Erik.

“No wonder Cardo doesn’t die in Probinsyano.

“Until we’ve figured out how to woo the audience back, let’s just keep Cardo alive for now.”

Ayon sa direktor, bagamat maraming proyekto sa industriya sa ngayon gaya sa pelikula, teleserye, at digital series, “the work seems to be just getting by.”

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Post ni Direk Erik: “Everyone’s working. But the work seems to be just getting by.

“No game changers looming in the horizon. No high concept fresh ideas coming out.”

Ito, aniya, ay dahil paulit-ulit na lang ang konsepto ng pelikulang napapanood ng mga Pilipino.

“Rehash after rehash.

“Rehashed love triangles. Rehashed May-December affairs.

"Cliche children stories and old age stories. Cliche boy-girl commitment issue movies.”

Aniya, bagamat interesado ang filmmakers sa pagtuklas ng bagong genre, kulang naman sa “reimagining” ang nabubuo ng mga ito.

“Everyone’s into genre too. One-line premise genres.

“Everyone wants to discover a new genre or sub genre but there’s not much reimagining that goes into it.

“We mostly get fast and easy genre stories with old and told character arcs and plots.

“We are all guilty.”

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NEW GENRE, OLD STORY

Para kay Direk Erik, bagamat hindi naman nagkukulang sa pagsisikap ang filmmakers na bumuo ng mga bagong konsepto, kailangang makibagay sa “call of the times.”

Ayon sa direktor, “This is not to say that everyone is not doing their best. That no one wants something fresh and sort of original.

“It’s the call of the times. It’s a calculated risk.

“Let’s try a different genre but let’s try the stories that sort of already worked.

“That’s the only thing we can afford.”

Dahil sa pagiging unstable ng film industry sa ngayon—partikular sa kawalan ng katiyakan kung kikita ang isang pelikula—“everyone is on desperate mode,” ayon kay Direk Erik.

“In this volatile industry where we don’t know if there’s an audience for any story we come up with or if it will ever see the light of day in cinemas, everyone is on desperate mode."

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Dagdag pa niya, “Steady middling mode.”

Kasunod nito, hinikayat ni Direk Erik ang tuluy-tuloy na paggawa ng pelikula nang “fast and loose.”

“It’s just about content. More more content,” patuloy pa ng post ng direktor.

“You want content? You say every story’s been done 20 years ago? Well, so long as it’s content then anything is good.”

Aniya, ang tanging magagawa ng filmmakers ay ang umasang susuwertihin itong may tatangkilik sa bagong konsepto ng pelikula.

Saad ni Direk Erik, “Yes, we know it’s bad but maybe there’s an audience for that somewhere.

“Maybe. We love maybes.

“We are a country that believes so much on luck that we still make movies based on luck and chance.

“Maybe we get lucky. We’ve gotten used to always wishing for the best.”

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Ayon kay Direk Erik, tumigil na kasi ang mga Pilipino sa paghahangad ng “big things,” at nakuntento na lang na iasa ang lahat sa suwerte, at sa kung ano ang matagal nang tinatangkilik ng moviegoers.

“We have stopped dreaming of big things,” bahagi pa ng post ng direktor.

“We are resigned to the fact that this is all we can do.

“Who’s to blame?

“Is it the audience whose gauge on a good film is based on the polished look of a Hollywood western film?

“Is it the cinemas who have found a sure hit with Hollywood and would find it to be too much work to push for local movies?

“Is it the producers who can only risk so much and would fall back on tired stories just to not alienate the ‘audience they know’?

“Is it the filmmakers who have come up with some wild original film stories only to be slowly circumcised and eventually castrated by being told to calculate the risk of stories by making it more relatable than different?”

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“DO WE STILL KNOW OUR AUDIENCE?”

Dagdag pa niya, “I’m at a loss. Do we still know our audience?

“Do we still know who we’re making our films for?

“Does the audience still care about the films we make?”

Muling binigyang-diin ni Direk Erik na naka-“auto pilot” na ang Pinoy film industry. Ayon sa veteran filmmaker, mahalagang aminin natin ang mga kakulangan upang maresolba ang problema.

Ngayong taon ang opisyal na selebrasyon ng “Sandaan,” ang pagdiriwang ng ika-100 taon ng Philippine cinema.

Saad pa sa post ni Direk Erik: “Do we just sit still and watch the industry go down in flames?

“2019 is the 100th year of Philippine cinema and this is all of what’s left that we can offer?

"What do we have in the next 100 years? Or will we even have Philippine cinema in the next 100 years?

"I can’t sit still. We can’t just ride the tide and wish we end up in a good place.

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"We’re in a state of coma now.

"We’ve got to find a way to move our toes on our feet to get us out of it and change the course of cinema in this country.

PRODUCING LOCAL MOVIES FOR INTERNATIONAL MARKETS

Nagkomento sa nasabing post ni Direk Erik ang kapwa niya filmmaker na si Mikhail Red.

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Para kay Direk Mikhail, panahon na marahil na asintahin ng Pinoy filmmakers ang international market para sa mga “properly costed genre films.”

Sumang-ayon naman dito si Direk Erik, at sinabing ang paggawa ng pelikula para sa international market ang “only saving grace to get us out of this nightmare of recycled stagnating regressive local cinema culture.”

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Para naman sa ABS-CBN resident director na si Frasco Mortiz, masisisi pa rin ang problema sa edukasyon at sa “years of dumbing down the Filipinos,” na inayunan din ni Direk Erik.

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February 2019 nang manawagan si Direk Erik sa gobyerno na solusyunan ang malamyang kita sa takilya ng local movies.

Nang panahong iyon, kapapalabas lang ng pelikula niyang ‘Tol.

January 30 nang ipalabas ang ‘Tol, kasabay ang mga pelikulang Elise at Hanggang Kailan.

Pawang hindi kumita sa takilya ang tatlong pelikula.

Si Direk Erik ay ang filmmaker sa likod ng On The Job (2013), na ipinalabas sa Directors' Fortnight ng 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Siya rin ang direktor ng horror film na Seklusyon (2016) at ang action-drama film na Buy Bust (2018). Ang huling pelikulang natapos niya ay ang horror film ni Sharon Cuneta titled Kuwaresma na ipinalabas nitong May 15, 2019.

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Filmmaker Erik Matti believes that the Philippine film industry is now "in a state of coma." He pleads: "We’ve got to find a way to move our toes on our feet to get us out of it and change the course of cinema in this country."
PHOTO/S: Erik Matti on Facebook
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