FUTURE PROSPECTS: The Role of ICT in Digital Cinema

Part VI: FUTURE PROSPECTS

The Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Digital Cinema
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

Though the effect of the information and communications technology on Philippine cinema in general is essential and evident, there are still prospects to be explored. For instance, like the Singapore Film Commission website which contains vital information such as a list of all the films released in the country-state for the past several years, it also includes information on the gross earnings of each film, cinema attendance per year, number of cinema screens and seating capacity. The website does not simply function as a website of the state institution; it also functions as a database for Singapore film releases. The Film Development Council of the Philippines website still needs to work on its database on Philippine cinema. The Internet Movie Database website is a central site (it claims to be the world’s biggest movie database) but sadly contains only a few entries about Filipino filmmakers such as Cris Pablo, Khavn De la Cruz, John Torres, Lav Diaz, Aureus Solito, Raya Martin, Brillante Mendoza, and Jeffrey Jeturian. A similar website will be useful to the digital film community. There are attempts to create a database for Philippine cinema with efforts from the U.P. Film Institute but it seems that the site has not been updated recently.

Filipino film classics can be transferred to the digital format and the database on Philippine cinema can contain excerpts of the digitized film classics such as Octavio Silos’ Tunay na Ina (1939), one of the oldest existing Filipino film and Manuel Conde’s Ibong Adarna (1941), the first with colored sequence. These excerpts can be very helpful to teachers and students of film.

It would also be beneficial to independent digital filmmakers to create a website where their films can be sold online. It may include a catalog of digital films in the Philippines complete with production notes. As of today, there is no internet store that sells digital films from the Philippines. An interested buyer would not have any idea where to buy the works of John Torres, Lav Diaz or Raya Martin. Most of the digital filmmakers now are just using the Do-It-Yourself or DIY approach, making DVD or VCD copies of their films and selling them to friends, bookstores, conferences, tiangges or film screenings. They can pull their resources together to set up a central website to sell the DVDs and VCDs of their films. They can follow the example of Objectifs Films , a Singapore-based organization, which features a catalog of around 40 digital short films from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Objectifs acts as a distributor of Southeast Asian short films and utilizes the internet as its display area. Digital films can also be downloaded from the internet for a fee but this requires a cable or DSL connection, and both are not yet prevalent in the Philippines.

Film criticism and writing in the Philippines can get a much-needed boost if a website that contains compilations of excerpts and links to film criticism and film reviews can be created much like the websites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic . Both websites contain a compilation of film reviews by well-known critics all over the world and acts as a database of film reviews.

Thought ICT has had a great impact in the distribution and circulation of digital cinema in the Philippines, there are several issues such as piracy, censorship and technological infrastructure. The proliferation of download sites such as Limewire and other P2P (person to person) file-sharing programs, digital films can easily be downloaded without the permission of the filmmakers. Filmmakers can avoid this by using Youtube since it does not allow downloading. They can also disable the right click functions in their websites or use Macromedia Flash. There are also digital filmmakers who allow the distribution of their films without copyright or with reasonable copyright. The issue of censorship is also surfaces since as of today the internet is not under any censorship body. Digital films distributed on the internet are not under the jurisdiction of the MTRCB. Another issue is the readiness of the technological infrastructure in the Philippines that can support a wide distribution of digital films. Most internet users still use dial-up which is very slow when downloading films. Only when cable or DSL connection becomes a standard does distributing films on the internet can become a norm.

Film distribution and circulation can also benefit with the potential integration of the internet, cable TV and mobile phones. Filmmakers can produce content which can be distributed in all the three major ICTs.

These issues and prospects will hopefully provide more avenues for the distribution and circulation of digital cinema in the Philippines and ensure the role of digital cinema in social and cultural transformation.

Commissioned by the DOST, Presented at the ICTD4 Roundtable Discussion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, January 30, 2007. Published in the book The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Digital Cinema. Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion. Department of Science and Technology in 2008.

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DIGITAL FILMS ON MOBILE PHONES AND CABLE TV: The Role of ICT in Digital Cinema

Part V: DIGITAL FILMS ON MOBILE PHONES AND CABLE TV

The Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Digital Cinema
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

Though not as prevalent as the internet in terms of circulating digital films in the Philippines, the mobile technology holds tremendous promise. With the introduction of 3G in the country by the two largest mobile providers, SMART and GLOBE, distributing digital short films through the mobile phones is now being explored. With the proliferation of cellular phones equipped with a video camera, one can make a short film easily. The world’s leading mobile phone maker, NOKIA, sponsors Nokia Shorts, an international competition of short films made by using Nokia mobile phones. Nokia is also the major sponsor of Mobile Filmmakers Awards. Filipina Janice Yu won the Mobile Filmmakers Awards in 2005 by using her Nokia N90 to shot underwater scenes in Anilao, Batangas. Another Filipino, Noel Osting, won as Best Editor. The Mobile Filmmakers 2006 Awards had two Filipino finalists – Reynaldo de Guzman and Joel Cardenas. The digital films shot using a Nokia mobile phone is available for viewing at the Mobile Filmmakers Awards website and will also be shown at the international cable channel Discovery. It has not been distributed via mobile yet.

Mobifilms has a portion dedicated for the more established filmmaker such as Singapore’s Kelvin Tong and Bertrand Lee and Malaysia’s Yasmin Ahmad. The Philippines is represented by Jeffrey Jeturian’s Tracking Shots .

There have been efforts though, to use mobile phone technology to distribute television soap operas. ABS-CBN Interactive and Globe is pioneering Mobisoaps, the first ever series created exclusively for mobile phones. Digital short films on mobile phones may not be far behind.

Cable TV also promises to be a good avenue to distribute digital films. Finalists for the Cinema One Originals film competition are screened on the Cinema One cable channel. Unfortunately, like the mobile technology, its potential has not yet been fully explored. On regular local TV, ABC 5 airs documentaries on its late night show called DOKYU. It has since been transformed as an avenue to show independent and mostly digital short films in a show called SHORTS: Istilong Iba, Indie Pelikula.

Part VI: FUTURE PROSPECTS to follow.

Commissioned by the DOST, Presented at the ICTD4 Roundtable Discussion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, January 30, 2007. Published in the book The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Digital Cinema. Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion. Department of Science and Technology in 2008.

DIGITAL FILM DISTRIBUTION AND CIRCULATION ON THE INTERNET: The Role of ICT in Digital Cinema

Part 4: DIGITAL FILM DISTRIBUTION AND CIRCULATION ON THE INTERNET

The Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Digital Cinema
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

The internet has been an important avenue for digital filmmakers to distribute and circulate their works. Digital filmmakers use their personal websites while others use their personal blogs. Perhaps one of the most techno-savvy digital filmmaker who uses ICT to extensively to disseminate his ideas about digital cinema in the country is Khavn De La Cruz. He is the festival director of .MOV Digital Film Festival and has made nine digital features and more than thirty short films. His website This is not a film by Khavn contains several manifestos in strong support for what he calls “filmless films” referring to digital films. In the Digital Dekalogo: A Manifesto for a Filmless Philippines he declares that “Film is dead. Please omit flowers.” The Filmless Manifesto is a poetic rant in support of digital cinema. In The Zero-minute Film School, Khavn gives budding filmmakers suggestions on how to make a film. In Dogman2000’s The 12 Bowowows of Impurity, Khavn issued rules on independent digital filmmaking, apparently as a response to Dogme 95’s Vow of Chastity. Khavn’s website also contains his filmography and film-related articles.

Digital filmmakers also use web blogs to feature their works such as Tad Ermitano , Mike Dagnalan , Quark Henares , Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez, and Jeffrey Jeturian . Chuck Gutierrez has a compilation of his digital short films with links to Youtube and Google video.

Art writer Gibbs Cadiz uses his blog to circulate his writings about film, as well as noted film critic Noel Vera . An interesting blog is Philippine Art Scene where Philippine art and culture news such as exhibits, film festivals, cultural summit, art contests may be posted.

Independent digital film producers such as Arkeo Films use their website to publicize their films such as Joel Ruiz’s Mansyon and Mario Cornejo and Monster Jimenez’s Big Time. Similarly, Mes de Guzman’s, director of Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong, created the independent film and digital outfit Sampay-Bakod and has a website that contains trailers, production notes, reviews, filmography, etc for films such as Imposible and Midnight Sale.

Several digital films have their own websites namely JP Carpio’s Balay Daku , Doy Del Mundo’s Pepot Artista , Auraeus Solito’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros , Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Babae (Woman) , Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino , Ian Gamazon and Neill dela Llana’s Cavite , and Will Fredo’s Compund contains reviews, production notes, trailers, screenings, awards, etc. Jeffrey Jeturian’s Kubrador (The Bet Collector) uses Multiply, an internet network site similar to Friendster, as a website.

At the same time, digital filmmakers in the Philippines have used the internet as an avenue to distribute their works. Youtube, Google Video and Yahoo! Video are popular websites which enables digital filmmakers to upload their films . Their audience can then access their digital films for free. One can find short films made about the Guimaras oil spill, as well as short films by Filipino digital filmmakers Chuck Gutierrez, Jim Libiran, Khavn De La Cruz on Youtube. It also gives a space for student filmmakers to show their film projects. Youtube contains the trailers for Cris Pablo’s digital films Duda/Doubt, Slowmotion, Bathouse and Metlogs. Jon Red’s Boso (first digital film of VIVA) and Astig trailers can be watched on Youtube, as well as Will Fredo’s Compund. Ramon Bautista’s One Sip at a Time is also accessible on Youtube. Videos by RA Rivera and Marie Jamora made for Filipino bands are also accessible at Youtube . Youtube does not allow downloading of the films but only streams the film, which means one cannot copy the film but can only watch it on the internet.

Another website for film distribution is Atom Films which hosts Raymond Red’s 2000 Palme D’Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival award winning film Anino (Shadow) . Filipino digital short films are also accessible at Nice Shorts such as Joel Ruiz’s Mansyon.

An important website where Filipino digital films can be viewed is 8arts , “Asia’s first internet film, video and animation site.” It aims to give the public access to the best of Asian independent short film and animation. It features Cinemanila founder Tikoy Aguiliuz’s 30 Views of Mt. Mayon and the internet premieres of shorts by Filipino directors Erwin Romulo’s The Window, Pam Miras’ Reyna ng Kadiliman (Queen of Darkness), Peter Chua’s Buwan and Tad Ermitano’s Sausage and Una Transmiccion del Cueva Del Ermitano (The Retrochronological Transfer of Information).

A promising website is the newly created The Filipino Filmmaking portal created by Dino Manrique which contains film event announcements, reviews, links to blogs, forum, tips on filmmaking, database, etc. It aims to be a:

…repository of Filipino films and a venue to discuss the merits of these creative works…one of its goals is to provide a marketing platform for these films – to help further popularize Philippine films…it aspires to be cyberspace’s one-stop shop… (to) distribute Filipino movies… (it) is also an online interactive workshop, a place to talk shop about the art of filmmaking, where one can trade and share filmmaking experience and knowledge. And lastly, PinoyFilm.com is a venue for collaboration, a place to look for or meet like-minded persons who could help you realize your cinematic vision and goals.

The boom in digital cinema in the Philippines in the last two years attracted the attention of critics here and abroad contributing to a rise in film reviews circulated on the internet. Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Evolution of a Filipino Family), a critically acclaimed ten hour digital film, was first noticed by Ekarn, a Slovenian film journal, writer Paolo Bertolin in (On) Time: Lav’s (R)Evolution. It also attracted the attention of writer Brandon Wee in his essay The Decade of Living Dangerously: A Chronicle from Lav Diaz for the Australian film journal Senses of Cinema. Mauro Feria Tumbocon Jr. also wrote Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon A Rearrangement of a Troubled Landscape. These online film reviews, and others, give us a glimpse on the production, direction, vision, and distribution of Lav Diaz’s landmark film, the longest film in the history of Philippine cinema.

Online film journals include Senses of Cinema is dedicated to “the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema” and the UK-based Firecracker . In the Philippines, the now defunct Sinewaya , was an online journal created by young Filipino film critics. Criticine: Elevating Discourse on Southeast Asian Cinema is an online publication that specializes on discourse about Southeast Asian Cinema and edited by the young film critic Alexis Tioseco, is an important source of information about Southeast Asian cinemas in general, and Philippine cinema in particular. It contains in-depth, incisive and engaging interviews conducted by Tioseco on three maverick digital filmmakers: John Torres, Ato Bautista and Lav Diaz. It also features film reviews by noted film critic Noel Vera, Raya Martin’s journal about his experiences as Cannes Cinefondation Resident in 2006 and feature essays by Tioseco. More importantly, Criticine builds bridges between film critics, historian and filmmakers in Southeast Asia.

It has also been easier for Filipino digital filmmakers to get information about international film festivals through the internet. Filipino filmmakers have been very active in participating in international film festivals and 2005 and 2006 have been banner years for Filipino digital filmmakers in terms of international awards. Films can even be submitted to the festivals online.

Part V: DIGITAL FILMS ON MOBILE PHONES AND CABLE TV to follow.

Commissioned by the DOST, Presented at the ICTD4 Roundtable Discussion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, January 30, 2007. Published in the book The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Digital Cinema. Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion. Department of Science and Technology in 2008.

VIRTUAL FILM COMMUNITIES: The Role of ICT in Digital Cinema

Part 3: VIRTUAL FILM COMMUNITIES

The Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Digital Cinema
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

Even with the increase in number of films made digitally, the problem of circulation remains. Most of them do not reach a commercial release. Independent digital filmmakers in the Philippines usually do not have the marketing machinery of major film studios such as Star Cinema, GMA Films, VIVA Films, and Regal Films. This is one area that the information and communication technology, particularly the internet, have had its greatest impact.

A vital component of the information and communication technology, the internet has become an arena to create virtual film communities. Electronic mailing lists or e-groups such as Yahoo! Groups, MSN Groups and Google Groups can accommodate an unlimited number of members and allow easy and widespread distribution of information through email messages. Membership to e-groups are hardly regulated, most are open to membership while some require the approval of the owner or moderator for membership. Messages can also be posted freely, though there are a few e-groups which require the approval of the owner or moderators before a message can be posted. There is a proliferation of e-groups related to Philippine cinema such as the University of the Philippines Film Institute e-group which has about 2,100 members. This e-group keeps UP students, alumni, employees, and other interested parties well-informed about screenings at UP Cine Adarna and other film-related events outside of U.P. The very popular and active e-group of Cinemanila is open to general membership and has close to 7,000 people subscribed. Members rely heavily on the e-group for announcement of festival film schedules and competition deadlines. Another important e-group is Pinoy Indie Cinema created and moderated by digital filmmaker Cris Pablo which has more than 1,000 members. The e-group is described as “a group of Filipino digital video movie producers, directors and artists who are producing self-financed or partially funded digital video movies, who intend to show these movies to commercial or mainstream cinema venues. The digital video movie producer/director/author/artist is not producing the movie under a major or commercial cinema production company or even a company that produces commercials and movies.”

These e-groups are vital in announcing the activities of the newly-formed and important Philippine Independent Filmmakers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, popularly known as Independent Filmmakers Cooperative, an organization of independent filmmakers that provides a range of services to its members from production to distribution. IFC functions mainly as a support and network system for independent filmmakers who need assistance with their movies. The Pinoy Indie Cinema e-group and other e-groups are integral part of the IFC’s networking and organization efforts.
E-groups have also become a fertile ground for people from all walks of life to post their comments and reviews about Philippine films. Debates about the state of Philippine cinema, the concept of “independent” filmmaking, and other issues are heavily debated in these e-groups. Filmmakers also frequently post casting calls on the different e-groups. Filipino digital films participation, as well as their victories, in international film festivals may be ignored by mainstream media, is usually announced and celebrated in e-groups.

Film-related articles by writers such as Billy Balbastro of ABANTE Tonite, Bayani San Diego Jr., Rito Asilo, Ruben Napales, and Marinel Cruz of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Juaniyo Arcellana of The Philippine Star, and Iza Santos of Malaya regularly find their way into numerous e-groups.

Other film related e-groups include Cineaste Guild of the Philippines , ABC 5’s television show DOKYU , eKsperim[E]nto Festival of Film, Video New Media , film school Asia Pacific Film Institute , The CCP Sineklab , the relatively inactive e-group of the Southern Tagalog Exposure , and SineKalye spearheaded by the independent cinema icon Rox Lee. Individual filmmakers even have their own e-groups, such as Joey Fernandez and Khavn Dela Cruz , dedicated exclusively to their announcements.

E-groups have also been used by film scholars to circulate essays they have written about the history of Philippine cinema. Nick Deocampo, independent filmmaker and scholar, shares his recent findings on the history of Philippine cinema on several e-groups such as his recent post on “RP cinema marks 110th year.” Dr. Grace Alfonso-Javier, a filmmaker, film critic, artist, professor at the U.P. College of Mass Communications Film Department, sketched a brief history of how the digital technology emerged in Philippine cinema together with an overview of the Cinemalaya Film Festival in 2005 and the film forum that accompanied the festival in her column in the Daily Tribune that came out in the Cinemanila International Film Festival e-group. German film professor and U.P. CMC faculty Tilman Baumgarteal’s essay on “The Downside of Digital” which appeared at the Philippine Daily Inquirer was reposted on e-groups and elicited various debates and surfaced several hotly contested issues such as the limitations of the digital medium.

E-groups have been a fertile ground in network building among filmmakers, crew, cast, critics, enthusiasts, historians, students, and fans. It comes in handy for students researching on topics related to Philippine film can just post questions on the e-groups and expect answers. It is a common incident where people look for each other in these e-groups and hook up.

Philippine internet forums such as Pinoy Exchange (PEX) and Peyups also function as virtual film communities. They provide registered members an avenue to express their insights about Philippine films. PEX boasts of 35 discussion areas, over 200,000 discussions, 190,748 members served, 18,151,045 messages posted, and more than 1,000 people online. Peyups.com, with 39, 841 members, is primarily for U.P. students, faculty, and alumni but the forum is open to other people. Film related forums in PEX and Peyups are some of the most popular on the internet.

E-groups and internet forums have become virtual film communities where casting calls made, film showings are announced, issues debated, victory celebrated, films are reviewed, film history is shared, and networks built.

Part IV:DIGITAL FILM DISTRIBUTION AND CIRCULATION ON THE INTERNET to follow.

Commissioned by the DOST, Presented at the ICTD4 Roundtable Discussion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, January 30, 2007. Published in the book The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Digital Cinema. Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion. Department of Science and Technology in 2008.

Note: Since January 2007, a lot has happened in terms of virtual film communities such as the emergence of Facebook, Multiply, Twitter, etc.

DIGITAL CINEMA IN THE PHILIPPINES: The Role of ICT in Digital Cinema

Part 2: DIGITAL CINEMA IN THE PHILIPPINES

The Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Digital Cinema
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

In the face of constant invasion of high-budgeted and well-marketed Hollywood films, Filipino films remain important to Filipinos and watching films remain as one of the favorite activity in the country. The Metro Manila Film Festival still commands the attention of the general populace in spite of the constant controversies surrounding it and the persistent calls for its abolition. Fully cognizant of cinemas hold in the public imagination and the role of cinema in the country’s development, the Philippine government lends it support to Philippine cinema through various institutions such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The Philippine government created the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) through Republic Act 9167, “An Act Creating the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Defining its Powers and Functions, Appropriating Funds Therefore, and for Other Purposes.” Film’s role in national development is clear in the mandate of the FDCP, “the State, as a policy, recognizes the need to promote and support the development and growth of the local film industry as a medium for the upliftment of aesthetic, cultural and social values for the better understanding and appreciation of the Filipino identity.” FDCP envisions “a flourishing professional and united Philippine film industry that produces and promotes high quality films which encourage social and cultural transformation and is viewed by a wider audience.”

Film, together with television, video, radio, entertainment software, internet activity sites, electronic media advertising, and other entertainment activities, has also been identified as part of the creative industry under the category of audiovisual and new media by the United Nations and is included in the UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics. In a paper prepared by the Institute for Labor Studies , film (along with radio, television and other entertainment activities, figured prominently as part of the creative industries at an annual average of 36,373 workers or about 21% of average total employment in community, social and personal service establishments for the years 1999, 2001, and 2003. The importance of cinema in national cultural and economic development is evident.

Regrettably, Philippine cinema has long been hailed as “dying” or “dead” but from impending death, there are signs of recovery. Digital cinema technology, together with ICT, is at the heart of it, breathing new life to a sluggish film industry. From a robust industry that consistently produced around 120 films a year for wide theater release, Philippine cinema has experienced a steady decline in film production since 2001. Records from U.P. Film Institute show that the industry only produced 103 films in 2001, 94 in 2002, 80 in 2003, 55 in 2004, 50 in 2005, and 49 in 2006. Several factors are blamed for the decline in production such as rising cost of raw film stock, taxes, and the constant influx of Hollywood movies.

Digital cinema in the Philippines has grown leaps and bounds for the past few years. Due to the unprecedented growth of digital cinema in the Philippines, it has created new modes of distribution and circulation, distinct from the Philippine film industry’s Hollywood patterned modes of distribution and circulation. Digital cinema, part of the so-called “digital revolution,” has been hailed as the way to liberate filmmakers from the hegemonic grip of Hollywood and similar film industries. According to Jeffery Shaw in Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary after Film, “the hegemony of Hollywood’s movie-making modalities is increasingly being challenged by the radical new potentialities of the digital media technologies.”

2005 was a banner year for digital cinema in the Philippines with the establishment of two major film festivals dedicated solely to digital films – Cinemalaya and Cinema One Originals. The 1st Cinemalaya: Philippine Independent Film Festival in 2005 featured nine digital feature films and six digital short films with Pepot Artista of Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr. winning as Best Picture feature category and Joel Ruiz’s Mansyon winning in the short film category. The most successful entry though was Aureus Solito’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (APMO for short, The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) which won numerous awards in international film festivals. APMO was subsequently transferred to 35mm and had a relatively successful commercial theater run. It earned Php 800, 000.00, the highest first-day gross of for a digital film, and more than P2 million in its first week with only 14 prints

The 2006 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition featured eight digital feature films and ten digital short films with Michael Sandejas’ Tulad ng Dati winning in the feature category and Rommel “Milo” Tolentino’s Orasyon winning in the short film category. Though the Cinemalaya entries did not really enjoy commercial success and only APMO was able to have a regular commercial theater run and critical success, the film festival and competition still provides Filipino filmmakers an avenue to explore narratives not usually explored by mainstream films.

Cinema One, the country’s popular Filipino movie channel on cable TV supports digital filmmaking in the country through its Cinema One Originals where several selected film projects are commissioned and given a substantial production grant to encourage the creation of full-length digital films. Cinema One Originals is a project of Creative Programs Inc., an entertainment subsidiary of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest media conglomerate. Cinema One gave production grants to film projects such as Dennis Marasigan’s Sa North Diversion Road, Mark Gary and Denisa Reyes’ Sandalang Bahay, and Topel Lee’s Dilim. Now on its 2nd year, Cinema One originals also started to give awards beside the seven production grants. The finalists are assured of theater screenings and will air on cable TV’s Cinema One channel. Huling Balyan Ng Buhi directed by Sherad Sanchez won the 2006 Grand Prize winner.

Cinemanila International Film Festival, the country’s longest running film festival, has also instituted a digital film competition in 2005 with Digital Lokal: Cinemanila Digital Film Competition with eight entries with the first place going to Aureus Solito’s Tuli, second place to Ramon De Guzman’s Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong and third place to Briccio Santos’ Ala Verde Ala Pobre. The 8th Cinemanila International Film Festival in 2006 reaped six films for the Digital Lokal competition with Brillante Mendoza’s Manoro winning the top prize and Khavn dela Cruz’s Squatterpunk winning the Jury Prize.

The digital technology has allowed budding filmmakers to experiment and to tell stories otherwise ignored and marginalized by studio films. The technology has allowed filmmakers to make their films without huge budgets and studio financing. Filipino digital filmmakers of note include Lav Diaz (Heremias, Ebolusyon ng Pamilyang Pilipino), Khavn Dela Cruz (Mondomanila, Squatterpunk), Raya Martin (Bakasyon, Isla sa Dulo ng Mundo, Indio Nacional) and John Torres (Todo Todo Teros, Salat, Tawidgutom). Digital films such as Jeturian’s Kubrador, Torres’ Todo Todo Teros, Mendoza’ s Masahista and Solito’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros have reaped awards from international film festivals.

Part III. VIRTUAL FILM COMMUNITIES to follow.

Commissioned by the DOST, Presented at the ICTD4 Roundtable Discussion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, January 30, 2007. Published in the book The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Digital Cinema. Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion. Department of Science and Technology in 2008.

Introduction: The Role of ICT in Digital Cinema

Part I. Introduction

The Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Digital Cinema
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

Philippine cinema, in general, has been benefiting from advances in information and communication technology in the country. Major film studios such as ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema , Regal Films and VIVA Films have their own websites to aid in the marketing of their films and the promotion of their talents. These websites also has forums where fans can discuss about the films. An important section is the complete filmography of the major studios. Films produced and distributed by these studios are also available for sale on the internet. Some films have their own official websites such as Zsazsa Zaturnnah , Mano Po 5 , and Kasal Kasali Kasalo . The internet has become a major site for marketing and distribution of films produced by major studios.

Mobile phone networks have been used by film studios to send promotion messages to its subscribers. ABS-CBN owns a cable TV channel, Cinema One, dedicated primarily to Philippine films. Filipinos abroad continue to enjoy Filipino movies through ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel (TFC) and Cinema One Global, international cable channels. Viewers abroad can even vote for their favorite contestants in ABS-CBN’s local reality shows such as Pinoy Dream Academy through the website of TFC giving them a sense that they are still involved in their favorite entertainment shows even if they are outside of the country.

Digital filmmakers, most of them independent from major studios, do not have the marketing and distribution machinery that major studios have. Filipino digital filmmakers have embraced the information and communications technology and rely heavily on them to distribute their works. One of the integral reasons for the development of digital cinema in the Philippines is the parallel growth of information and communications technology in the country.

Information and Communication technology or ICT is a loosely defined concept that commonly refers to technologies such as the internet, mobile phones, AND cable TV. It has transformed the field of digital cinema in the Philippines by opening and creating distinct and varied avenues of distribution and circulation of digital films. Consequently, ICT enables digital films to be more accessible to the public. This paper will focus primarily on the internet, an integral component of ICT, with particular attention on electronic mailing lists (more popularly known as e-groups), blogs, forums, personal websites and the role that they play in the circulation and distribution of digital cinema in the Philippines. Other ICT components such as cable TV and mobile phones, and its potential integration, will also be explored.

Part II. DIGITAL CINEMA IN THE PHILIPPINES to follow.

Commissioned by DOST, presented at the ICTD4 Roundtable Discussion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, January 30, 2007. Published in the book The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Digital Cinema. Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion. Department of Science and Technology in 2008.