MANILA, PHILIPPINES, OCTOBER 25, 2020 — Four films, one film project, and 10 production companies are among the representatives of Philippine Cinema in the 25th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea.
“Death of Nintendo” by Raya Martin, “Cleaners” by Karl Glenn Barit, “How to Die Young in Manila” by Petersen Vargas, and “Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva are part of the BIFF Official Selection.
Sheron Dayoc’s “6th Finger” is the only Filipino project in Busan this year while 10 production companies are part of the Philippine Pavilion spearheaded by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
The FDCP is also the organizer of the Philippine Cinema Night as well as the sponsor of the webinar “Screen Talk: Asian Production Bounces Back” featuring FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño as one of the speakers.
“The Busan International Film Festival has been a crucial platform for the global track of the Filipino film industry. This year, the FDCP continues to be one with the BIFF in promoting Asian Cinema especially amid the COVID-19 crisis,” said Diño.
The BIFF, which runs from October 21 to 30, has limited film screenings in Busan while the programs and events concurrent with the festival have been migrated online.
Filipino films show unique local flavor
Of the 192 films in the BIFF Official Selection, the Philippines is represented by two full-length features and two short films. The four Filipino titles have one screening each at the Busan Cinema Center.
“Death of Nintendo” by Raya Martin, a Philippines-United States production that had its world premiere in Berlinale 2020, is part of the A Window on Asian Cinema section together with Karl Glenn Barit’s “Cleaners,” which had its international premiere in Busan on October 21.
Both coming-of-age films were selected for A Window on Asian Cinema to demonstrate different visions and styles of filmmakers from Asia. “Death of Nintendo” will be shown at the Haneulyeon Theater on October 27.
The two Filipino shorts, “How to Die Young in Manila” by Petersen Vargas and “Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva, are in the Asian Short Film Competition of the Wide Angle section for short films, experimental films, and documentaries that show a vast range of cinematic viewpoints and a marked vision.
“How to Die Young in Manila” will have its world premiere on October 28 while “Kids on Fire” will be shown on October 29. Both shorts, which also deal with the struggles and issues concerning the youth, will be screened in Cinema 2.
Asian Project Market seeks to boost international collaborations
The FDCP wishes to promote technical and cultural exchanges among local filmmakers and their global counterparts, and one way of doing so is through project market participations.
The Asian Project Market (APM), which will be held online from October 26 to 28, gathers emerging filmmakers of feature film projects so that they can meet international investors, producers, and distributors and land co-production opportunities.
Lone Filipino project “6th Finger,” which has Sheron Dayoc as director and Alemberg Ang as producer, aims to garner international partnerships while it is still in the development stage.
The project under VY/AC Productions and Southern Lantern Studios revolves around a 10-year old boy with a sixth finger, who has been subjected to bullying. He comes from a remote village where a mysterious plague takes the lives of children.
Philippine Pavilion in Busan goes online
Happening at the same time as the APM is the Asian Contents & Film Market (ACFM) that focuses on the business side of filmmaking, covering all stages from pre-production to sales. ACFM delegates can also seek trade information, buy and sell films and equipment, and secure licenses and production partnerships.
The FDCP is hosting a virtual Philippine Pavilion to optimize the exposure of Filipino films and talents to global audiences and markets. The country’s 10 delegate companies will get to showcase their content and hold meetings with various international counterparts.
The BIFF-ACFM 2020 delegate companies are Digital Dreams Inc., Heartleaf Film Production, Atom & Anne Mediaworks Corporation, North Luzon Cinema Guild, Inc., VY/AC Productions, Tuldok Animation Studios, Inc., Rein Entertainment Productions, MadScientist Media Production, Go Motion (WeLoveMotion Inc.), and BLINK Creative Studio.
QuaranCinema at Philippine Cinema Night
Another online event of the FDCP during the BIFF is the Philippine Cinema Night on October 27. This Zoom conference will gather government guests, filmmakers, and local and international industry movers in celebration of the Filipino film industry’s participation in BIFF.
Welcoming Addresses will be delivered by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat while the Opening Address is courtesy of FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.
Through the Philippine Cinema Night, the FDCP will recognize the filmmakers who made it to the prestigious BIFF Official selection as well as the APM participants and ACFM delegates.
Moreover, the FDCP will have a presentation on QuaranCinema Productions, which are Philippine works that were ideated, created, and screened during the pandemic lockdown. The short film “Heneral Rizal” of Tanghalang Pilipino and Voyage Studios and the online series “Taguan” of TBA Studios are among the featured works.
Other QuaranCinema Productions are “Lolo Doc, Lola Doc & Ang Dalawang Junior” of Tanghalang Pilipino and Voyage Studios, “Pamanang Pahina” of Tanghalang Pilipino and Anino Shadowplay Collective, “Oh My Sexual” of Taurean Pictures and Greenlight Studios, “Hello, Stranger” of Black Sheep, and “Gaya Sa Pelikula” of Globe Studios.
Launching the ASEAN Co-production Fund in Busan
Another highlight of the Philippine Cinema Night is the presentation of the ASEAN Co-production Fund (ACOF), the latest initiative of the FDCP’s FilmPhilippines Incentives Program.
This selective fund will grant up to USD 150,000 to feature film co-productions of companies from the Philippines with companies from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ACOF flyers are also made available at the virtual Philippine Pavilion at the ACFM.
The ACOF launch shows how the BIFF has been a crucial platform for the global track of Philippine Cinema. In 2018, the Philippines was named as the Country of Focus while in 2019, the FDCP launched the “Let’s Create Together!” campaign, a partnership with the DOT.
How Asian Cinema is coping with the pandemic
Finally, the FDCP is the sponsor of the ScreenDaily Talks Live Q&A series webinar entitled “Screen Talk: Asian Production Bounces Back.” It will feature FDCP Chairperson Diño, Singaporean producer and screenwriter Jeremy Chua, South Korean producer Kim Hyo-jeong, and Hong Kong-based producer and production director Jacqueline Liu.
Diño and her fellow speakers will talk about safe filming protocols, production practices in the new normal, film financing trends in Asia, and tips on securing co-production deals during the pandemic. The ScreenDaily Talks webinar, which will be held on October 26, will have Screen International Contributing Editor Wendy Mitchell as the moderator.
The Philippines is among the 68 countries participating in this year’s BIFF, which is among the largest and most significant film festivals in Asia. Most of the BIFF events are online along with the Asian Film Awards, Forum BIFF, and Asia Contents Awards.