Erik Matti vs Liza Diño

FDCP Chairman Liza Diño and Erik Matti exchanged sentiments.

“Dear direk Erik Matti,

“Sorry if it took awhile to address your sentiments the other day. I’ve been busy working. But I’d like to address these concerns you raised in your Facebook post. Hope you understand this will be in segments just so i can give a more comprehensive response to your statements.

“You said:

“I wish that beyond this party, the costly Filipino nights abroad and all the reverie, FDCP can pour their resources, the hard earned money of the taxpayers…”

“Actually direk those “costly FILIPINO NIGHTS” you talk of serve as a bridge to introduce our local filmmakers and production companies to international stakeholders so they understand how to find audiences outside the Philippines. These networking events, attached to a Film Market or a Film Festival where there is a spotlight on the Philippines, make it possible for Filipino delegates to find possible contacts for their projects in a setting that gathers them and allows for them to talk to as many new and familiar faces as possible. These events have resulted to our filmmakers interfacing with some festival programmers to consider programming their films in their own festivals. Some of our production companies were able to close deals with Netflix and other platforms, and now they’re more exposed to making content not just for theatrical purposes but for other platforms. 

“Times are changing, the landscape is changing and this is what these “Filipino Nights” are about. Actually direk, it’s not called Filipino Night. It’s PHILIPPINE NIGHT. Every country with the goal to showcase their film industry does it: Korea, France, Germany, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, etc. This is not exclusively done by the Philippines. And though these events may seems costly to you, ours are far from such and always conducted on a set budget especially if you compare to the events that these other countries are hosting. We just know how to create an experience for our guests kaya hindi halata ang pagtitipid namin.

“Direk, We are showcasing our delegates to the world. These producers get exposed and create relationships. Isn’t this a good thing? We are empowering them to widen their audience and look at other markets esp if their film is for a niche audience or doesn’t have the normal “attachments” to make the film more commercial. You’ve done it with Buybust. Why not let more producers see this as a path?

“Since we started, more and more of our local stakeholders are finding partnerships outside the Philippines because they are humble enough to do the work and understand how it’s done. I wish you can find time to attend under our country pavilion because this is open to all Filipino production companies. We give out free badges and  provide free use of the pavilion as a form of support from government. We actually have an upcoming one this March in Hong Kong and as we speak 28 production companies have signed up already to be part of it. We’re on our 3rd year, started from 14 companies ngayon 28 na but hindi ka naman sumasali. Hope you can join us so you can see for yourself and understand more what we do and avoid making assumptions abut the intent and purpose of this program.”

Which Direk commented on.

“Thank you Liza. I can see what FDCP is doing internationally. But I think beefing up our international film relations is just one side of what should be done for movies in this country. I think the changing landscape in movies, where it is slowly moving towards international streaming platforms, is a given. 

“My concern was really not that. I don’t think any of the Filipino filmmakers is ready to give up local theatrical release in favor only of online platforms and international co-prods. We want to make Filipino films for the Filipino audience. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. Let us not use international recognition as the only or best standard to gauge what a good Filipino film is. Ishmael Bernal films barely went abroad. Same as Celso Ad Castillo’s. But I think they’re much better filmmakers than Lino Brocka who had most of his films travel abroad. At least in my opinion. 

“That was the main concern of my message to your office. How do we keep our Filipino films widely exposed to our Filipino audience and gain them back. That’s why we don’t attend the gathering of FDCP with international partners because our main concern as a company now is really on how to go about sharing our film to the local audience. If there’s a gathering set-up mainly to address that concern and with proper follow through and concrete timelines, expect us to be there in full support. I’m sure a lot more producers will be there. There’s nothing more that producers can ask for if it’s to help boost our films to the whole country. 

“FDCP has already gained traction in the international circuit. But isn’t this part of the mandate of your office? The fact is, the FDCP is tasked to oversee both local and international film development for Filipino filmmakers: it has always been part of the agency’s responsibilities. Isn’t it time that the passion filmmakers pour into making their movies, be met with equal passion by your office in solving our local movie problems.”

To which anither response from Madam Chair came in FB.

“Continuing my point by point response sa open letter ni direk Erik Matti sa FDCP para klaruhin ang mga concerns nya. 

“You said:

“We don’t need another two-hour question and answer portion that we can advertise on Facebook to show everyone that we held a meeting just to give the impression that something is being done… If FDCP can make this forum happen, with real follow through, conviction and will to find achievable results, I think that will be ten times more a cause for celebration for the film industry.” 

“Fora can happen in many forms. In the last hundred years of PH cinema, maraming nakasanayang practices na mahirap ng tanggalin sa industriya natin — making films that don’t go through proper development. Producing films without the right financing in place. Making films without importance to crafting. Bad sound. Etc. 

“I know that hindi mapipilit ng FDCP ang lahat to explore other ways of filmmaking in the Philippines. So imbis na ipilit namin, we brought those best practices from outside here in the Philippines so we can equip those who are open, with tools on how to develop their projects properly and secure the right amount of budget for their films. But we believe in presenting the industry with options rather than force it on them.

“In 2017, we put together the Film Industry Conference, an international conference designed to discuss changing trends in the film industry landscape because we have to cope sooner or later. 

“We had panel discussions talking about the global film industry and the Asian film industry comparing it vis-a -vis our local film industry para mapag-aralan kung pano tayo makakasabay sa mga pagbagbagong ito. Topics on film financing, script development, and marketing and distribution were discussed by international speakers to talk about how other countries are keeping up with the changing platforms. We also featured on a panel the various distribution platforms like iFlix, Hooq, Netflix to discuss how our content producers can create something that is just not purely theatrical. Hindi naman lahat ng indie kayang gumawa ng pelikulang pangmainstream. We have to introduce other platforms para hindi lahat ipilit sa sinehan esp kung niche ang market mo.

“We also had workshops to target specific aspects of filmmaking like project development workshops mentored by the Executive Director of Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab and one of the most respected producers in Asia so we can improve our approach to storytelling and craft our films better. 

“We had audio post production workshops so we can upgrade the production value of our films and be able to meet international standards like the quality control requirements of Netflix by White Light Studio which did post for films like Call me By Your Name, Pop Aye, among others.

“We also had an intensive marketing and distribution workshop mentored by Toronto-based distributor Michaelangelo Masangkay so we can introduce new distribution strategies to the industry and expose producers to other way of distributing films to audiences. 

“Dito sa Pilipinas, wide release lang ang alam gawin ng halos lahat when we know there are different distribution strategies for every film. Hindi lahat ng pelikula pang 100 cinemas ang opening. There are films that are not meant to open in that many cinemas right away. The concept of narrow release, limited release, platform release are not familiar to some producers. Even big Hollywood films start with less screens to test the audience first.

“Point is, there is a purpose behind these collaborations and its to bring these systems and structures best here in the Philippines so we can craft our films better. Para sa ikauunlad ng local industry yung ginagawa namin. Wala tayong sinusundang sistema. We need to understand  the business of film no matter what kind of content you have.

“Point is, there is a purpose behind these collaborations and its to bring these systems and structures best here in the Philippines so we can craft our films better. Para sa ikauunlad ng local industry yung ginagawa namin. Wala tayong sinusundang sistema. We need to understand  the business of film no matter what kind of content you have. We can’t say na di pwede sa Pilipinas yung style ng ibang bansa kasi di natin kaya; That it’s ok to compromise on quality kasi the local audience watch the film anyway; That we expect people to flock the cinemas when you didnt even spend budget on marketing and you didnt come up with the proper marketing strategy to promote your film. Even if your film is good, kung walang may alam, pano papanoorin?

“Itigil na natin ang ganong mentality. The audience deserves no less than the best from us.

“These are all forms of forum to reach achievable results.”

Direk’s reaction.

“Thank you Liza. I can see what FDCP is doing internationally. But I think beefing up our international film relations is just one side of what should be done for movies in this country. I think the changing landscape in movies, where it is slowly moving towards international streaming platforms, is a given. 

“My concern was really not that. I don’t think any of the Filipino filmmakers is ready to give up local theatrical release in favor only of online platforms and international co-prods. We want to make Filipino films for the Filipino audience. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. Let us not use international recognition as the only or best standard to gauge what a good Filipino film is. Ishmael Bernal films barely went abroad. Same as Celso Ad Castillo’s. But I think they’re much better filmmakers than Lino Brocka who had most of his films travel abroad. At least in my opinion. 

“That was the main concern of my message to your office. How do we keep our Filipino films widely exposed to our Filipino audience and gain them back. That’s why we don’t attend the gathering of FDCP with international partners because our main concern as a company now is really on how to go about sharing our film to the local audience. If there’s a gathering set-up mainly to address that concern and with proper follow through and concrete timelines, expect us to be there in full support. I’m sure a lot more producers will be there. There’s nothing more that producers can ask for if it’s to help boost our films to the whole country. 

“FDCP has already gained traction in the international circuit. But isn’t this part of the mandate of your office? The fact is, the FDCP is tasked to oversee both local and international film development for Filipino filmmakers: it has always been part of the agency’s responsibilities. Isn’t it time that the passion filmmakers pour into making their movies, be met with equal passion by your office in solving our local movie problems.

“I am not trying to pick a fight. I just want us to do something about it.”

And hopefully they meet eye-to-eye. And to us who are in this industry, let us think of ways to HELP in any way we can.

Like they said, walang away!

After the FDCP event with Chair Liza, we bumped into direk Erik in Baguio.

He is now finishing the scenes of the Megastar Sharon Cuneta in her first ever horror movie in “Kuwaresma.”

Direk is excited because it will be a very different Mega that her fans will see not just in her physical looks but her acting as well.

Direk was having a break that cold evening while the stars and the production are oblivious to the hustle and bustle in Session Road.

“Kuwaresma.” Tagalog term for the Season of Lent.

*****

ON FEBRUARY 23, two exciting groups will share the stage of Skydome in SM North EDSA to show who they truly are in the world of singing and dancing.

Clique V and Belladonnas with talent manager Len Carillo

“This Is Me” concert, directed by Robin Obispo, choreographed by Mia Pangyarihan and Eira Bermudez (of SexBomb) with Mitch Garong and Donald Balbuena for more dance steps, will level up the performances of Clique V and Belladonnas.

Sexier. Bolder. Something to remember.

Facing the two groups, Quinn of Belladonnas caught our attention. Yes, she is the daughter if their manager, Len Carrillo. Yet, she doesn’t throw her weight around.

But she is the one who lifts both the Clique V and Belladonnas. The leader of the pack without saying such.

She could be a future beauty queen with her looks and natural Pinay beauty. 

“She lacks in height,” said the mother who gave her the wonderful genes.

But who knows?

For the now, let us look forward to the night that each of their members will tell us who and what they are in their “This Is Me” line.

They will be joined by Kapuso Star Kyline Alcantara, MOR DJ Anna Ramsey and Hashtag members CK and Zeus Collins. This is produced by 3:16 Events and Talent Management.

Get your tickets now at SM Ticketron.

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