Tuesday, March 08, 2005

THINGS I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN THE FILM INDUSTRY IN THE COMING MONTHS (OR NEVER):

1. Most definitely, there has been a clamor for new films with new stories. Here's hoping that there will really be new ones that will not only show new gimmicks (or borrow, in our case as Filipinos), but most importantly, present films that will elevate the minds of Filipinos, especially those in the B-C-D bracket that there are other ways of telling the story and presenting them so that the next generation will be inspired to create their own ways of presenting a "Filipino" film to the global market and not just copy concepts and styles. Also, here's hope to a really original Filipino film story. 'yung wala talagang kinopya from another film, Hollywood man or Korean or Spanish or British. A film with a very good and original story that is directed in sweeping visuals that can make us all gasp. it's a visual medium after all.
2. Less intervention from the government. We have no one to blame for the high tax and influx of Hollywood movies than the government. Fine, we are doing awful movies back in the 90s and one may say that because of these movies, the industry died. But only if our government was and is very supportive of the arts and knows when to tell when a movie sucks or not, then we could have produced really good movies which quality can equal and even rival those that are produced by our Asian neighbors recently. I'll bet my ass that if the independent digital films from Cinemalaya amd Cinema One vecome hits, the government will find a way to use it then kill it later on. Hell, we might be seeing a Mikey Arroyo digital movie in the coming months!
3. New yet very credible critics. Time was when critics were respected and you can only count with your fingers their number. However, things changed when producers saw critics as people they can buy in order for them to review their films with high grades even if they suck. And nowadays, a filmmaker is judged not because of his work but by the company he keeps. As long as a critic is in his circle of friends, he'll always get a good review eventhough his film is really full of holes. One must realize that not all filmmakers can make an obra each time he or she makes one. He may have a good film last year but his next film may suck this year. And regardless that he is your friend or not, once his film sucks, review his film the way it should be reviewed so he'll know his errors or really know what people think of it. Also, enough of critics giving good reviews because he or she is in the payroll of a movie producer. May we know to distinguish a good critic again from the bad ones. Dalawa singko na lang kasi ang mga kritiko ngayon. Ang iba, pinabili lang talaga ng suka sa tindahan.
4. Less but new faces for award-giving bodies. What we need now are new people who will handle these awards nights. I am sick and tired of watching production numbers that feature the newest young artists of a network that are doing things on the stage that have no relevance in the occassion itself. Enough lip-synching. Enough sexy dances that leave you with nothing. What we have been getting are artists performing on the stage just because their managers can pull a few strings to showcase their "alagas". Performances during awards night have become more like "rakets" for artists rather than a real artistic performance. I have yet to see The Jerks, 25 years in the music industry, being invited like a Santana and perform during the awards night. Or Jess Santiago for his works on the early Brocka films. Or Wuds, another band rocking for 25 years. If these people from the film industry really know their "arts" then they should know whom to give respect. And don't put them in numbers that will make a fool out of them. Make their performances connected with the show's theme. Also, can't we find a really good host for these awards night? I know there's someone out there. And good writers who will write good spiels. We can have a very quiety awards night like the Bafta but still memorable. I guess we have to change whoever has been getting the contracts for these awards nights and replace them with someone with new visions and styles. Although, that company may not be as tested as the old one, he may offer something new that will bring back the 40-below again glued to their sets and find these award-giving bodies entertaining as welll as very educating again.
5. hoping that when our award-giving bodies hand out nominations for production designers, he must have presented an architectural design of his set and the costumes used and explain why he chose to give it with that tone so we'll know if a production designer really is someone who knows production design in telling the story of the film and not just somebody who knows to bluff his way because of chika power. notice why we don't have nominations for art direction here? and even costume? and ever wondered why it is only the production designers (and the production managers) are the ones who can afford to have expensive cars and burloloys sa katawan in this industry when his work is as equal as that of a scriptwriter (ang laging mga kawawa at gutom) or a cinematographer? ever wondered rin why no Hollywood movie wants to shoot here in the Philippines anymore? kasi tuwing nagsu-shoot sila rito, niraraket sila ng mga Pinoy. ever heard of the money that was lost when Brokedown Palace was shooting here and six months after the shoot, the one who was supposed to have lost the money was able to buy a new house and a new car? mahusay man at magling ang mga Pinoy sa pelikula, sa sobrang galing, magaling ring rumaket. Beads lang na props are pegged five times their original price.
6. Which brings us to the raket part. For this inductry to flourish again, enough of the raketeers. may we also able to separate the rotten tomatoes from the good ones. Although it's a tough job, creating a new industry that is separate from the one that existed before will help. After all, these new filmmakers have nothing to be thankful to the old traditions. The reason that indie filmmakers are doing their stuff is because thay are tired of conforming with the old norms. Let the old industry die. Let's all say that it is dead. What is not dead is our passion to tell our story using the visual language. As long as we have stories in our head, Pinoy movies will not be dead but old formulas, traditions, styles, and norms will.
7. New film writers or new and ample spaces to promote new films. The only reason why old formulas are still being used to make a film is because there will always be reporters who will write about these things eventhough the twists and turns have been rehashed. even gimmicks like Actor was smitten by the Actress during the shoot of the film. although gossip sells, reporters and writers must also help new independently-produced films get the same media mileage as that given to commercial films. There are new indie films this month done by indie filmmakers like Rico Ilarde, Khavn dela Cruz, Lav Diaz, Ellen Ongkiko-Marfil, Jon Red, Ditsi Carolino, and Erwin Romulo but they are getting only few reviews and limited spaces in newspapers amd tabloids. We may not even know what these films are. If only reporters and writers will find intersting ways of presenting these filmmakers and their films on paper. Something that will truly capture the interests of the readers. Huwag na sanang umasa pa sa envelopes that will be given to them. Write about them even if the review is bad. Good or bad review is still space given to a new independent film. Rather than giving it to Mystika, Madame Auring, Angelika Jones, or Mahal.
8. New musical scorers who can really put good and right music to a specific film. People who go inside to watcha publicized hip film go out of the moviehouses with the feeling taht they were duped because the score is not hip enoiugh for this generation. Or a drama that sounds very traditional. Our film scores don't even have an identity. Not unlike scores done for films like "Il Postino" (used nowadays for a detergent commercial) or "Cinema Paradiso". Ramdam mo 'yung puso at tamang timpla. Scorers must really research their stuff and really use thier music to tell the film's story. Hoping for scorers who have the knowledge about underground bands that came out in the 80s like Dean's December, Urban Bandits, Violent Playground, Identity Crisis, Ethnic Faces, etc. and the 90s like Bad Omen, Biofeedback, Mindrape, Sonnet 58, Half Life Half Death, etc. Here's hoping also that some of our underground and alternative bands and singers from this generation will joyfully lend their music to emerging independent filmmakers and be part of the revolution. Here's hoping also that we finally get a very good film soundtrack release (for the first time perhaps) that can be as cool as the soundtracks of Judgment Night, Spawn, The Wedding SInger, etc.
9. Very passionate producers who will equal the passion of a very passionate filmmaker's. "Minsan Pa" is a very big gamble. eventhough the producers were also thinking that somehow they can recoup their investments, producing a film that has no old formulas from the old cinema is really something very revolutionary. eventhough there is the element of then-sweethearts jomari yllana and ara mina in the film, that film still stands on its own with or without ara mina or the real-life love connections. here's hoping for other new passionate producers. there are many passionate filmmakers out there. what we need now are passionate producers, too. with the advent of new filmmakers, let there be new producers who will not have the culture and discipline of the old producers.
10. digital filmmakers who will get the chance to tell their stories using the 35mm format. film is not the enemy. it will never be. the enemy is the system that makes you turn to digital filmmaking in order to tell your story. high tax, old norms in the industry, star system, producers who think they are gods, envelopmental journalism, unsupportive government, these are the enemies of every filmmakers. nothing gives you more fulfillment than shooting using the 35mm format. it has ad ifferent approach and discipline than shooting using the digital format. some say it is the so-called "soul" of the 35mm. in shooting a film, everyone becomes more involved. everyone is a storyteller. the cinematographer properly lits your set according ti his way of telling the story and frames it and captures it the way he lits it on film. the efficient production designer designs his set according to the lighting of the cinematographer and tells his own story, too using his design. even acting comes out with more soul. and editing. the way an editor plays a music in his head as he views the footages on the Moviola. nothing beats that. i just hope digital filmmakers will get to experience the process then they can go back to digital filmmaking again afterwards. for now, with all the tax issues and lack of government support, we can also use the digital format in bringing a story on how we can all appreciate the 35mm format again and bring its old glory back.

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