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

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