A shared passion for film

(From left) Ambassador Gilles Garachon, FDCP Chairman Briccio Santos and the French Embassy’s Audiovisual Attache Martin Macalintal

(From left) Ambassador Gilles Garachon, FDCP Chairman Briccio Santos and the French Embassy’s Audiovisual Attache Martin Macalintal

PH and France begins exchange of cinematic styles
Films not only serve the purpose of entertaining the public but also of preserving the cultural heritage of different nations. When done well and accurately given a particular era, films can become a very powerful tool in documenting a people’s history.

With this in mind, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the French Centre National du Cinema et de L’image Animee (CNC) collaborated in May to save masterpieces from the country’s “Golden Age of Cinema.”

Formed at the Cannes Film Festival in France, the “film cooperation agreement” also aims to create new and interesting Filipino original films.

CNC’s deputy director Michael Plazanet recognized that the Philippines is “not just a nation but a bridge between Europe, France, and Southeast Asia.” At the signing of the memorandum of agreement, he expressed, “It would be great for both regions to exchange and become a two-way street in terms of cooperation between two great regions of cinematography.”

In response, FDCP chairman Briccio Santos acknowledged, “Since the Philippines is one of the oldest film cultures in Asia, we look forward to this partnership with France, which is also one of the centers of culture in Europe.”

In this two-year agreement, France and the Philippines will engage in information sharing, two-way participation of national cinematographic works in film festivals, capacity building, archiving and anti-piracy.

19th French Film Festival
This landmark agreement between the two nations coincided with the 19th French Film Festival in the Philippines. Francophiles gather each year for this event to experience the European nation’s culture as well develop a more sophisticated taste as they immerse in the French art of filmmaking.

“What we will be showing Filipinos are recent movies, and not the most commercial [ones]. Since there are a lot of people who already watch commercial films, we want to show films that will not be exported outside of France,” French Ambassador Gilles Garachon said at a press conference on June 3 at the Alliance Francaise de Manille in Makati City.

Until June 15, newly released French films will be featured at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas for a minimal price of P100. Nine dramatic and romantic-comedy films are lined up for the festival, which kicked off with 20 ans d’ecart (It Boy) on Monday at the opening night of the weeklong event.

On June 12, the French Film Festival will also celebrate Philippine Independence Day by screening three award-winning films that were showcased at previous Cannes Film Festivals. These are Lino Brocka’s digitally restored Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag, Erik Matti’s On the Job (OTJ), and Lav Diaz’s Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan.

Sharing France’s personal love for local films, Garachon talked about the extensive support his government extends to filmmakers.

“In 2013, we have produced about 250 to 270 movies. This shows that a lot of people are interested in and care for the local cinema in France. One important reason we have such [a great]number of films in one year is that we subsidize cinema. For every ticket sold, a part of that goes to a fund that helps the production of local movies,” the envoy related.

One of Garachon’s favorite movies up for screening this week is Quai d’Orsay, which he describes as “very critical” and “close to reality” as it delves into internal issues within France’s Foreign Affairs ministry. Movies directed by Roman Polanski and Michel Gondry are also high on the ambassador’s recommended list.

“These movies tell stories about our lives and our culture. In the past, we used to have epics and wonderful novels, now we have films as an access, like a window to our souls. This avenue can help other nations discover pleasant, as well as unpleasant stories in our lives,” he concluded.

The complete list of movies for screening at the 19th French Film Festival includes: La Vénus à la fourrure (Venus in Fur), Mon âme par toi guérie (One of a Kind), Une autre vie (Lovers), Amour et turbulences (Love is in the Air), Les beaux jours (Bright Days Ahead), L’Écume des jours (Mood Indigo), Quai d’Orsay, and Situation amoureuse: C’est compliqué (Relationship Status: It’s Complicated).

For more information on screening schedules, log on to www.ambafrance-ph.org.


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