Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) join efforts in 2018 to bring “SineSaysay: Documentary Film Lab and Showcase,” a new program that aims to empower documentary filmmaking and filmmakers in the country.
A portmanteau of the words “sine” (film) and “saysay” (meaning), SineSaysay combines the power and beauty of filmmaking with meaningful and real stories of people, society, and the world.
“Documentary filmmaking is a powerful medium that tells the real stories of our past and current generations,” said FDCP Chair and CEO Liza Diño during the SineSaysay Conference at Cinematheque, Manila.
“We are proud to partner with NHCP for next year to shine a light on significant movements and events in our history that helped shape our country to what it is today,” Diño added.
For their part, NHCP found it fitting to tap documentaries as a tool to educate people in schools and academe.
“Let’s admit it, not all students want to learn through their textbooks alone. Many of them are even spending more time on their gadgets than on their books. So we thought, what better way to promote Philippine history right now [at this digital age]than to come up with documentaries? This can actually be a tool for teaching and sparking interest in history,” NHCP chief history researcher Alvin Alcid also shared during the gathering.
“But we understand that it’s not our expertise, so we thought why not partner with FDCP who trains students and amateurs to produce documentaries,” Alcid noted adding that their commission will provide seed money for the projects, among other forms of assistance throughout the film lab.
Among the suggested topics laid out during the conference included: Islam and the history of Bangsamoro; World War 2 in the Philippines; feminist movement in the Philippines; and the 150th birth anniversary of Emilio Aguinaldo.
“The reason why we suggested these four topics is because we wanted to focus on milestone events but those who wish to submit their entries can go with whatever topic they have in mind,” Alcid clarified.
For those who wish to join, SineSaysay will be divided into two categories: The Bagong Sibol Documentary Lab and the Feature Documentary Showcase.
Bagong Sibol is open for emerging filmmakers working on their first or second documentary full feature films. Six projects and its fellows will undergo a series of workshops and consultations in developing their short documentary films. Of these, two projects will be awarded a P 700,000 grant to develop the full feature versions of their project.
Meanwhile, for the Feature Documentary Showcase, interested filmmakers who have worked on at least two documentary full feature films will submit a five-10 pitch trailer of the given topics. Four filmmakers will be given a co-production grant of P1 million to produce a documentary full feature project aligned with the themes of the program.
Application for SineSaysay is ongoing until February 2018.
In conclusion, the officials noted that through SineSaysay, they all hope to bring documentary filmmaking closer to the Filipino people and broaden their appreciation not just of the craft, but also of the stories that they tell.