BORDERLESS | Wanted: young breed of filmmakers

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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FILM in the Philippines started in stage plays. Examples of these stage plays were the komedya or moro-moro, sinakulo, sarsuwela, and bodabil.

The existence of film in the Philippines, according to Crispin Maslog, is not for technological advancement but more on entertainment, business and aesthetics purposes.

Maslog differentiated the different types of stage plays. Komedya are plays with stories usually taken from or patterned after those of Philippine metrical romances called awit and korido where characters fight over a princess. 

Sinakulo is the theatrical version of the passion play that traces the human race from the creation of the world through the life and sufferings of Christ until the assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. 

In the Philippines, sinakulo is very popular every holy week. The local version of sinakulo here in the Western Visayas is called taltal. I have witnessed one memorable staging of taltal; it was in Guimaras.

Taltal in Guimaras is often flocked by tourists because the whole show seems real. If you watch the play, it will make you reflect, perfect for your holy week soliloquy.

Sarsuwela, on the other hand, is a love story with songs and dances as highlights. 

Bodabil or Vaudeville is a potpourri of dances, songs, comedy skits, dramas, and production numbers.

During the early stage of cinema in the Philippines, it just lagged behind by a few years with France. Maslog stated, cinematographe was used in 1895 in France, it only took two years for it to be used in the Philippines as projector, and three years for it to be used as a camera. 

However, Maslog sadly noted that the current scenario in Philippine film is quite the opposite. In terms of technological breakthroughs, the Philippines is somewhat lagging behind by many years.

Moreover, no Filipino film has ever won in the Hollywood Academy Awards. What is good is that indie films are making raves outside the country. Brillante Mendoza and Lav Diaz are just two brilliant directors who brought honor to the country through their award-winning films shown in Cannes and other international film festivals.

There are independent films which lack taste. They are full of sex and gore. Perhaps there is a need to encourage young filmmakers to create films which focus on societal issues and other pertinent topics.

Filipinos are very talented and are very much capable of producing world-class films. They just need support from the government and of the Filipino people as well.

On my end as a Communication Professor, I encourage my students to step out of their comfort zones and try to immerse themselves in filmmaking. I am no filmmaker but I believe in the skills of my students. We, their teachers, encourage them to join film festivals so they will learn the craft through experience and from other filmmakers. We also bring them to the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ Cinematheque and watch different film genres both local and international. When the students leave the cinema, they have gained new knowledge and their eyes were opened to different types of realities.

To reach the pinnacle of success in film is no joke. It does not happen overnight. The industry of film has been in existence for several decades already and yet there is still more room for improvement. I still believe that education will bring success. There are a lot of young breed of filmmakers in the country and through education they could realize their potentials wisely.

So to all Communication teachers, let us support our students in their vision of making good films. ([email protected]/PN)





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