The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) aims to promote Philippine Films internationally by hosting the 2nd International Film Exposition held last September 6-7, 2013 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City with the film: “Your Film Corridor to Asia”. This is to provide opportunity for both local and foreign filmmakers/ producers for partnerships, co-productions as well as exchange of knowledge in technological and marketing strategies. Chair of Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Eugenio Villareal, established the need for the Philippine Film industry to move towards having a “global outlook”.
Is the Philippines ready for a collaboration with other countries when it is the Independent Films that is currently saving the Philippine Film Industry? Are our actors ready for an international competition of skills and standards?

Independent Films have been saving the industry since the latter was reported to be “dying”. As we all know, the Indie films caters to only a few audience. In order for it to cater the mass, it needs more financing. However, Indie films are usually low-budgeted films. Fortunately, some Indie films are now being distributed by mainstream producers—this can be a bridge to actually moving towards “global outlook”.

The reason why Filipino Indie films do not receive as much attention like any other countries is not only because it is low-budgeted or low quality but because the actors are not popular. Filipinos tend to pick movies in cinema with their favorite actors or actresses in it—this has been the reason for the co-production of movies between mainstream outfits such as Star Cinema and Viva, and GMA and Regal. FDCP, however, goes beyond this.

The reason for collaboration and co-production is to call the attention of people not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well where the Philippines can introduce its Films. Our Indie film has already attracted international distributors through Cinemalaya which the FDCP should also focus on. The quality of Indie Films has also been improved because of this foundation and the number of Filipinos watching through Cinemalaya every July has also been increasing. Moreover, more and more Indie Films are now vying for international awards such as Marlon Rivera’s “Ang Babae sa Septik Tank” which has been nominated for the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival’s Cinema Fairbindet Award and Best Feature Award for addressing a global issue, Vancouver International Film Festival for the Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema. This indie film will also be exhibited in various festivals such as Hawaiian International Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival and Udine Film Festival. Another indie film is Alvin Yapan’s “Gayuma” which has been nominated in the 27th Warsaw International Film Festival’s Free Spirit Action.

The Philippine indie films has been already known in some parts of the world however in order to improve international recognition, the FDCP wants collaboration and a co-production between countries. With the improvement of indie films from Cinemalaya foundation and some Mainstream Producers, the industry has now better chances of international recognition. Co-producing with other countries will be a leap for the quality of films as well as acting which is why FDCP wants to pursue this. 

Camu | Quinto

The Philippine movie industry, apart from other industries comprising the entire local arts and entertainment industry has started to see the light in the coming years as most of those engaged in the business would soon receive incentive systems that would encourage them to increase their productivity and would therefore lead to sustainable economic growth in the long-run.

First, the local film industry is soon to receive corporate tax breaks which entitle movie exhibitors and other theater owners’ exemptions from paying amusement taxes provided that the movies are locally-produced and that these are comprised of Filipino artists.  The proposed “Local Arts and Entertainment Industry Promotions Act” is geared towards giving exemptions from moviemakers as regards the total costs incurred in a local movie’s entire theatrical run.

Second, there are also amendments being proposed, such as that of Section 140 of Republic Act 7160, which is also called the Local Government Code of 1991, which now gives local films consisting of predominantly Filipino actors the chance to generate more revenues as tax exemptions are now granted. Instead, a company’s net income usually increases as government revenues are to be assumed to be at zero rate (due to exemption).

Third, the bill amends Section 109 of Republic Act 8424, also known as the National Internal Revenue Code. Producers are then faced with an incentive to produce more films since the importation of raw materials and equipments are to be given VAT exemptions provided that the Bureau of Internal Revenue has the sole right to evaluate which raw materials and equipments are to be used. Exemptions are not only confined to film production and projection, but also include that of album production, theatrical plays, and other forms of art.

The analyses are as follows: more than a decade ago, the movie industry remains one of the most highly-taxed in Asia given the corporate income tax, VAT, and amusement taxes – whereas others do not charge their locally-produced films with any tax so as to encourage participation in movie production and distribution. Just like what the President of South Korea did to encourage local national determination, the Philippines can take on an initial “sure” step in providing incentive systems that would boost producer activity and productivity.

Perhaps, the industry can once more experience another Golden Age of Philippine Cinema. Volume of films will surely increase and most likely, the quality of the film will not suffer for an increase in quantity of local films. Companies may then veer away from the “Pito-Pito” Scheme which only allots seven days for shooting and finishing a film – sacrificing quality then over an increase in quantity, If quality is then assured, there could be a lot of domestically-produced films which can promote Philippine culture and which could also represent the country in prestigious award-giving bodies internationally such as the Cannes Film Festival. The proposed bill then not only assures increase in profitability but also indirectly implies an increase in a film’s overall quality. 


John Camu
Josette Quintos
Rige Tuason
Althea Salcedo
Independent or indie films  are known as such because mainstream outfits do not produce these films. Unlike in our Southeast Asian neighbors such as Thailand, where the market for indie films are growing and largely contributing to their motion picture industry, the Philippines’ movie industry is a different case. Indie films are not well-received by many because of some factors such as poor quality, explicit themes and not so popular actors and actresses. Fortunately, today’s indie films are not as independent as they once were.

The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is held annually every July. This becomes a venue for starting film makers to showcase their talents and explore their comfort zones. The festival provides an initial grant of Php 500,000 to ten finalists who would then, create the film of their dreams. They can freely express their own concepts without being limited to the mainstream themes that oftentimes guarantee commercial success – providing alternatives to the usual feel-good Filipino and Hollywood films that dominate the box office [1] More importantly, Cinemalaya serves as a potential bridge to mainstream and even Hollywood.
According to an article, “the Filipino film industry has been in critical condition, proof of which is the decreasing number of films produced every year”. Before, indie films are only exhibited in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. In addition, mainstream producers already begin to distribute indie films like Star Cinema’s Ekstra. This movie will also be shown in SM Cinemas. Doing so will allow more visibility for indie films and can become an incentive for film makers to do more. It is also worth noting that Cinemalaya acknowledges the common complaint of moviegoers regarding the poor quality by doing something about it. “With seed money from one of the Philippines’ most prominent businessmen and mentoring from seasoned directors, the quality has gradually improved”[2].

Apart from possible local benefits, Cinemalaya is also a way for our country to be known abroad. As of the now, our country is not reliant on indie films. But with continued effort of such programs, the films we produce may be at par or even better than internationally accepted ones in terms of quality and substance.

Filipino indie films today are not as separated as they initially were. Cinemalaya is only one of the many bodies that aid our local film industry to release more and better movies. Not only financial support is given but more importantly, the technical and creative help as well. This does not only open the door for an increased number of movies but ultimately, it becomes a stepping stone for our local independent films to later on, contribute and be part of the mainstream.
[1] Salterio, Leah. "Global Nation |" Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. (accessed August 11, 2013).

[2] France-Pesse, Agence. " Philippine indie film fest a platform for raw talent | Inquirer Entertainment ." Inquirer Entertainment | Philippine News for Filipinos . (accessed August 11, 2013).

News from: France-Pesse, Agence. " Philippine indie film fest a platform for raw talent | Inquirer Entertainment ." Inquirer Entertainment | Philippine News for Filipinos . (accessed August 11, 2013).
Camu, Mon
Quintos, Josette
Tuason, Rige
Salcedo, Althea
               Location filming is the term coined when shooting films in an actual setting rather than in studios. Filmmakers or the producers often choose this kind of filming when they wanted to achieve greater realism or the illusion of reality. Of course, it can also be prompted by the production budget. 
               Low-budget production films would prefer location filming mainly because the production team would want to make do of the existing environment and minimize costs, rather than construct an artificial one. An example of this is our independent films that utilize location filming because of budget issues. On the other hand, when film producers with high budgets opt to shoot outside their studios or even outside their own country, they intend to achieve a real-world location that meets the requirements of the script. 
              Fortunately, they have the finances to explore and maybe feature one of the World's 100 Most Beautiful Islands and Beaches. Recently, some leading international film producers such as Columbia Pictures, 21st Century Fox, and Golan Films mentioned in the article by Charlie Lagasca and Raymund Catindig [1], see Cagayan’s Palaui Islands as one of the potential locations for movie production in the coming years. The country is not new to such international prestige when it comes to being chosen as a shooting location, in 2011, Deep Gold was filmed in Cebu and the Bourne Legacy in El Nido Palawan in 2012.

               According to an article by Karen Flores entitled "Why the PH movie industry is dying"[2], our local indie film producers has kept our film industry afloat amidst the falling revenues of major players.  Not only will location filming boost tourism in the Philippines, but also encourage more local films to be produced that may save our dying movie industry. Our local producers’ (both mainstream and indie) can imitate what these international movie outfits do which is produce movies that present realistic settings. This is even more advantageous in our country because of the richness of our natural resources and diverse tourist destinations. With location filming and with these international producers stressing the importance of realism, our indie film producers can use this opportunity to be one of our leading movie outfits. We do not have to look too far and spend too much because as what international film producers saw and our majority local producers have yet to see and utilize, venues for realism are just around the corner. 

[1] Charlie Lagasca and Raymund Catindig. "Cagayan’s Palaui Island eyed for int’l film shoots | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |" | Philippine News for the Filipino Global Community. (accessed July 22, 2013).               

[2] Flores, Karen. "Why PH Movie Industry is Dying." ABS-CBN Entertainment. (accessed July 22, 2013)
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Camu, John Harmon M.
Quintos, Josette Albertine S.
Tuason, Rige Gabriel N.
Salcedo, Althea Mae M.


News Article from by ABS CBN Corporate Communications

Having been the third of the film series, the Sarah Geronimo-John Lloyd Cruz starrer once again made history as it was recently proclaimed as the “Second Highest Grossing Film of All Time”, the “Highest-Grossing Non-MMFF Movie of all Time” and the “Highest Grossing Black Saturday Film of all Time” with a total gross of P387 Million, data according ABSCBN’s Distribution Director. Meanwhile, third party tabulator Box Office Mojo gathered the latest statistics that the film managed to reap a total of P584 Million worldwide as it was also shown in different countries across the globe. Having said all of these, what factors can we consider as the determinants of a film’s success in the box-office?

First, the “star power” once again ruled the box office as fans of both artists flocked cinemas even in its first day of showing, considering that it was a Black Saturday when it was shown. Their previous films A Very Special Love and You Changed My Life shown in 2008 and 2009 were the top Filipino movies in their time. Perhaps, the undeniable chemistry between the two lead characters left a lasting mark in the impression of the moviegoers.

Second, as a group, we think that the movie’s success is attributed to the positive word-of-mouth circulating in social media, which has now emerged as an effective tool in advertising and promoting consciousness about films. The history of Black Saturday openings of any film in Philippine cinema only managed to gross less than P20 Million pesos, although the record was beaten with this film’s astonishing P32.6 Million in the box office. Information was quickly disseminated through the overwhelming expressions and reactions of people who have watched the movie in theaters. Not only that, the fact that SM Cinemas provided four to five cinemas in its first week really counts a lot. The film managed to top the box-office for four weeks, the first time since 2010’s Avatar.

Third, what stimulated consciousness are the earlier promotions given to this film as the teaser was first shown during the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) and the trailer followed months after. 

Lastly, there is a possibility that the success can be attributed to it being a sequel of You Changed My Life which was last shown in 2009. It took four years before the John Lloyd-Sarah starrer was released in cinemas nationwide. The story of Miggy Montenegro and Laida Magtalas then became highly relatable as people found a bit of reflection of the characters in their personal lives. Even critics, specifically the Cinema Evaluation Board, had given the three John Lloyd-Sarah starrer Rated A, which granted them 100% tax exemption. This just shows that the film has the capacity not only to rule the box office but also to please critics for the overall quality.  


Camu, John Harmon
Quintos, Josette Albertine
Salcedo, Althea
Tuason, Rige Gabriel