Joey Reyes: ‘Film fests should not compete’

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The CineFilipino team (from left, clockwise) Bar Ocampo, Ronal Allan Habon, Rod Marmol, Roni Benaid, Ron Batallones, Alec Figuracion, Joey Reyes, Unitel Productions CEO and Festival director Madonna Tarrayo, Therese Cayaba and Cignal marketing head Guido Zaballero

Director joins selection panel in announcing official entries to CineFilipino

Eight original and innovative feature-length films have been chosen out of 150 entries for CineFilipino Film Festival 2018. The films were selected based on originality of material and freshness of approach, authentic reflection of Filipino culture and human experience, has strong potential for audience management (i.e. the movie should be mass audience-friendly without compromising quality), and commercially viable or has potential for a wider theatrical release.

The movies created by a new breed of filmmakers are “Delia and Sammy” by Therese Cayaba; “Mata Tapang” by Rod Marmol; “The Eternity Between Seconds” by Alec Figuracion; “Excuse Me Po” by Ron Batallones; “Poon” by Roni Benaid; “Hitboy” by Bar Ocampo; “Kahit Man Lamang Kung Maaari” by Donalyn Baltazar; and“ Mga Mister ni Rosario” by Ronal Allan Habon.

The daunting task of selecting the finalist fell on the shoulders of industry stalwarts comprised of festival director Madonna Tarrayo, Joey Reyes, Bayani San Diego, Hannah Espia, Joel Ruiz, Lilit Reyes and Manet Dayrit.


“For me the first thing I look for is originality. I’m so sick and tired of poverty porn. One thing I realized is there is a trending that takes place. If an indie film makes it big, the next submissions will likely be a template of that project. But our selection of films cuts across different varieties, which should be the most important part. These films are for Filipinos, I don’t think that we make films for foreign audiences. The success of the Filipino filmmaker is that he can relate to his Filipino audience. The doors must be open first in our country for them to be appreciated,” said director Joey Reyes who is also head of competition in an interview with The Manila Times.

“With the proliferation of numerous film festivals in the country, CineFilipino has taken a stance of being more audience-friendly and creating a program where we have a set of films which are not only aesthetically excellent but will really reach out to the Filipino audience. We believe that there’s no such thing as indie film or a commercial film, there are just Filipino films that would hopefully reach out to a much larger audience,” he added.

According to Reyes, while some festivals show films on a nationwide scale, CineFilipino albeit presented on a smaller scale promises to give new filmmakers “voices and platforms” to bring out what they what to say.

“Maybe there are just too many film festivals taking place, yet there is a need for new ground to be broken and a need for new themes and new subjects, new approaches for films to be made which are not necessarily just for a niche crowd but fora larger Filipino audience,” he said.

As the veteran director noted the glut of movie festivals going around, he also declared that they should not compete with one another but rather give importance to Filipino audiences and filmmakers first of all.

“Eventually there should be a kind of coordination among the film festivals in the country so that it does not need to be and must never be competitive. We are all seeking the same end goal which is to provide as much variety of films to a much larger market,” Reyes explained.

“And to end this whole dichotomy about indie versus mainstream, it shouldn’t function that way. I think the non-mainstream filmmakers and producers should see that each festival is an opportunity for them to bring out their films in a much larger context. Also, I think great changes are happening right now. A larger part of the audience is looking for something new and the best brand of marketing is word of mouth. A good film is a good film. The paradigm is changing that after years of getting more of the same thing, people are looking for something different and that is very important,” he added.

Meanwhile, Cignal Entertainment provided seed money of P2 million to each filmmaker in addition to the festival’s CAP money, which is a huge help in producing their film for showcase.

“We are in the business of providing premium content for our viewers’ tastes. Conversely, we also want to be the venue for more filmmakers to show their groundbreaking masterpieces,” Cignal president Jane Jimenez Basas said.

Moreover, the brand’s marketing head Guido Zaballero shared with The Manila Times that they provide seed money to these daring filmmakers because their content pushes the envelope with regard to what audiences appreciate.

“It is an investment that has returns for the film industry and the Filipino audience,” he stated.

“We partner with different producers to create different kinds of content for different kinds of platforms—free television, pay-per-view, mobile, broadband, feature length and basically we have a library that we’re able to syndicate. We feel that this partnership with CineFilipino fits right. We let the festival take its course and then eventually we’ll put films on a Cignal channel. It’s a way for us to also build our library to be able to come up with an entertainment channel,” Zaballero added.

The festival proper will be held in March 2018. CineFilipino also announced they will still entries for the Short Film and Digital Content Categories until September 30.

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