It means a lot for the Philippines to be chosen as the country of focus in the 2018 Singapore Media Fest.
Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson Liza Diño believes it is fitting for the Philippines to be chosen as the Country of Focus as part of the celebration of the centennial of Philippine cinema.
She told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview held in Singapore: "Very happy kasi grabe talaga yung value ng pagiging Country of Focus kasi lahat ng events, may mention ng Pilipinas.
From November 28 to December 9, the Singapore Media Fest brought together leaders and talents from the global film, television, and digital media industries to celebrate the best of Asian storytelling.
The SMF consisted of five events: the Asia TV Forum (ATF) and Screen Singapore, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), SMF Ignite, and the newly established Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA).
Liza lauded the gains from the fifth edition of the Singapore Media Fest by saying, "We were able to secure a six-picture with a Singaporean company and ABS-CBN."
Last December 5, ABS-CBN signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore-based production company Cre8 Productions at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Eerie, the horror film starring Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos-Concio, is the first co-production of the two companies. Directed by Mikhail Red, this film made its world premiere at the Singapore International Film Festival last December 3.
Star Cinema and Cre8 will collaborate for five more movies in the future.
TARGETING INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS
One of the biggest goals of FDCP next year is to establish an incentive program for Filipino filmmakers and an incentive program to entice foreign film outfits to shoot projects in the Philippines.
FDCP chairperson Liza Diño said this project that aims to target more international projects is called Film Philippines.
"The Philippine Film Export Services Office is under the supervision of the FDCP and nagpo-promote ito ng Pilipinas to foreign production companies para makita nila ang Pilipinas as their filming destination.
"Example, Born on the Fourth of July, Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Bourne Legacy, and all these Hollywood films na nag-shoot na sa Philippines.
"We want to attract those productions and we are partnering with a lot of local government units all over the Philippines like Bohol and Cebu para magkaroon ng partnerships sa kanila.
"Para yung mga naghahanap ng locations, pwede kami mag-liasion sa kanila.
"This is one of the projects of FDCP. The project is called Film Philippines.
"It's an incentive program. We do a single-window clearance transaction. Meaning: one-stop shop.
"Kapag nag-apply ka sa FDCP, kami ang makikipag-usap sa Bureau of Immigration, sa Customs, para bigyan ka ng working permit, and kami makikipag-coordinate sa respective local cities or municipalities kunsaan kayo magsu-shoot ng films.
"We also activate our production companies na pwedeng maging local coordinators nila at magiging line production company."
ON INCENTIVES FOR FILMMAKERS, ARTISTS
Last October, the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 7823, otherwise known as the “Film Industry Incentives Act.”
Upon its third reading, the bill seeks to grant incentives to Filipino filmmakers who have received honors in notable international film festivals. It received 162 affirmative votes and zero negative.
Under the bill, PHP 5 million shall be given to the filmmaker or producer of an international award-winning full-length feature or documentary film.
An incentive of PHP 3 million shall be given to the filmmaker or the producer of an international award-winning short feature or documentary film.
A PHP 2 million incentive is to be given to the main artist, screenplay, or technical support filmmaker personnel, including the scriptwriter, cinematographer, editor, production designer, music scoring, sound director, audio or video technician, who received the highest international awards in their respective categories.
Supporting artists or technicians who garnered the highest award in their respective categories can expect a PHP 1 million incentive if the bill becomes a law.
Liza explained in an exclusive interview with PEP.ph:
"Pumasa siya sa House of Representatives pero FDCP just submitted its position paper regarding the bill. We support the bill.
"Umattend kami ng committee hearings niyan and binigay namin ang position ng FDCP about the eligibility requirements.
"Yung eligibility requirements kasi nila between 75 minutes to 120 minutes lang ang film.
"E, halimbawa, Lav Diaz film ang nanalo, hindi na siya makakakuha ng incentive? Hindi na niya makakakuha ang P5 million?
"Kailangan ayusin. Kumbaga, from the House, dadalhin sa Bicameral, dadalhin pa sa Senate. Marami pang pag-uusap pero habang pinaguusapan pa lang, magandang maayos na ang requirements para akma siya at kung paano magbe-benefit [ang industry].
"We also have to identify which film festivals ang covered.
"There are 2,500 film festivals in the world.
"Maybe we should limit it to A-list film fests or Berlin, Venice, Cannes."
The FDCP chairperson then explained the rationale behind House Bill No. 7823.
"This bill came about because nanalo si Lav Diaz ng Golden Lion in Venice, nanalo si Jaclyn Jose ng Palme d'Or in Cannes, and walang incentive na nabigay sa kanila.
"Bakit hindi natin binibigyan ng incentive ang filmmakers natin na nagjo-join sa parang Olympics of cinema?
"For me, it's really good na binibigyan nila ng pagpapahalaga ang filmmakers natin.
"Pag lumalaban tayo sa SEA Games, pag nananalo ang mga atleta natin, binibigyan sila ng prize ng Pilipinas.
"Yun ang goal: na mabigyan ng incentive ang mga filmmakers. P5 million for a Best Picture."
In a separate interview, the FDCP chairperson envisions having an incentive program for foreign film outfits that will shoot movies in the Philippines.
"We could have P100 million as incentive for the year. We could create a program out of that. Pwedeng [i-divide sa] limang projects na nasa between P1 million to P1.5 million. Maka-lima o anim na projects ka just to see the value.
"All countries are really capitalizing on this. Ito ang pinakamalaking competition of all countries: to attract these foreign production companies."
The FDCP chairperson then recalled that the Philippines gained a lot when it served as the location for Hollywood film The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz.
"PHP 1 billion pesos ang na-spend ng Bourne Legacy in the Philippines for a 45-day shoot in four cities.
"May isang Korean film, Master, gumastos ng PHP125 million nung nag-shoot dito sa Tondo. Eighty percent of the film was shot in Tondo."
Master is a 2016 South Korean crime-action film starring Lee Byung-hun, Gang Dong-won, and Kim Woo-bin.
Some scenes of Master were also shot at the Manila Cathedral and the Jones Bridge in Manila was temporarily closed down for a car chase scene.
Liza is hoping that the incentive program will be in place by 2020.
"Naka-appeal ito right now sa budget namin, nakapila 'yan. Hindi ako papayag na hindi ito ma-accomplish next year. Dapat, by 2020, talagang we're really out there.
"There's a World War II film. Saan mo gagawin yun? Of course, dapat sa Pilipinas. But because Malaysia has 30 percent incentive, they're considering shooting it in Malaysia.
"It's a US $3 million dollar film, around PHP 150 million pesos being spent in a local government, say Bataan. Ang laking magagawa nun.
"That's the goal of FDCP: we need to put systems in place. Let's work on policies.
"We've planted our seeds internationally. We have to come up with a good framework."
FILIPINO WINS IN SINGAPORE
A political thriller film project titled Filipino recently won the top prize at the 2018 Singapore Project Market.
The film project from the Philippines bagged the Cre8 co-production award during the Southeast Asia Film Financing Forum (SAFF) Project Market, beating out 15 projects from Southeast Asia.
The project-in-development titled Filipino by Mel Allego impressed the jury for its powerful storytelling and potential to be commercialized and co-produced globally. Allego took home a co-production deal worth up to $200,000 from Cre8 Productions.
“I always have had [these] thoughts and ideas about my experiences living in contemporary Philippines. I wanted to do a film that is something nonconventional, and get people thinking about what is correct, what is incorrect–against the backdrop of the current uncertain socio-political landscape,” said Allego.
Set in Cebu, it tells the story about a journalist who sneaks through the blockade and inevitably gets caught up with five individuals cornered in a deadly chess game between fundamental extremists and higher powers.
The SAFF Project Market is back for its fourth edition this year to offer opportunities for investment and co-production to feature films from Asia and Europe and featured five Pinoy projects in its slate, including:
Title: Ani (The Harvest)
Science Fiction, Coming-of-Age
Producer: Toni Zuniga
Director: Kristine Zuniga
Title: Bangsa Badjao
Producer: Suzanne Richiardone/Jessel Monteverde
Director: Jessel Monteverde
Feminist Action Drama
Producer: Bianca Balbuena and Kriz Gazmen
Director: Gino M. Santos
Title: John Denver Trending
Drama, Social Satire
Producer: Sheron Dayoc and Sonny Calvento
Director: Arden Rod Condez
Launched by ScreenSingapore in partnership with the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association and Ties That Bind: Asia/Europe Producers Workshop, the annual summit was established in 2015 to bring together key players in the international film industry and promote fruitful collaborations.
In line with the celebration for the Philippine cinema’s 100th year anniversary, the Singapore Media Festival (SMF) puts the Philippines in center stage as this year’s country of focus.
The Film Development Council of the Philippines was the lead agency in the Philippine participation to the SMF, and brought together 30 companies including film buyers, producers, service providers, distributors, and animation agencies to attend SMF-established events, including the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) Leader's Summit and SAFF Conference.
The SAFF Project Market 2018 was held from December 5 to 7, 2018 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.