Sunday, January 03, 2010

Bong Revilla: "show only one Hollywood movie a month."

"Hollywood movies? Did someone say Hollywood movies?"

"We should show only one Hollywood movie a month."

It's a hot topic of discussion among online Filipinos. For the record, I'm not a big fan of Revilla Jr.'s movies on the whole but I do sympathize with his sentiments.

Hollywood has always had a powerful influence on world cinema but its latest serious attempt to conquer foreign markets is actually quite recent--around the '90s or so, or about the time when Governor Schwarzenegger's movie career was at its height (Coincidence? I think not; Sylvester Stallone's films also did well internationally around this time). Hollywood's global push helped destroy the once-robust Hong Kong film, and brought both South Korea and Mexico to their knees (South Korea has since recovered, partly by imposing quotas).

France has long survived by subsidizing its film production and, during trade conferences, championing cultural diversity over open-market distribution of films (In other words, it kept speaking out against Hollywood imperialism). Of the commercially successful cinemas of the world, only India does not impose quotas--and that mainly because its cinema is so successful (it produces eight hundred films a year to Hollywood's 200 plus films) it doesn't need to protect itself.

Mainland China is an interesting case all its own. Not as commercially successful as India, it is nevertheless such an economic powerhouse, with a market larger than any American studio executive's wet-dream fantasy (and I'm sure they can fantasize) it can lay down strict quota rules and pretty much get away with doing so, just because no one can force it to do otherwise. China is in every way in an enviable position, but it's a position few other countries can emulate.

But India (and China in its own fashion) seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule. Trend seems to be, if you want a successful local cinema you needed to restrict the number of Hollywood films screening in your local cinemas. That, or you provide your production outfits with assistance of some kind, the way France does--anything to level the playing field.

I've actually suggested this very action on an online forum, in pinoydvd.com. Some five years later that discussion seem more relevant than ever, and recent arguments to and fro on the issue sound suspiciously familiar. One online forum poster at one point asked "Okay, so there's no Harry Potter, no Ironman, no Robin Hood. You now have the entire domestic box office to your own. What's next?
"

That was too tempting to let pass. "Then," I responded, "we're left with the works of relatively new filmmakers like Lav Diaz, Raya Martin, John Torres, Brillante Mendoza, Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Rico Ilarde, Dennis Marasigan, Auraeus Solito,
Richard Somes, Veronica Velasco. We're left with the works of established directors such as Raymond Red, Laurice Guillen, Chito Rono, Maryo J. delos Reyes, Joey Reyes, Gil Portes, Joyce Bernal, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, and (hopefully, someday) new work from masters like Mike de Leon, Celso Ad. Castillo, Mario O'Hara.

"Heaven help us then!"


51 comments:

dodo dayao said...

Hi Noel.

I wasn't aware of that thread of yours form way back,or maybe I've forgotten. Re-reading it is a blast. Any discusson with our "old friend" is always good for a laugh or two. I've given up weighing in on the recent thread myslf. Always exasperating to try and have discourse with the guy - - must be hell to have drinks with.

Not a fan of Bong Revilla myself,nor his films, nor his attitude and I think his intentions are misguided . . .but I do sort of agree with him in principle. One may be too much. Two per month,maybe, three a month,I can live with. This way you also get rid of the chaff that gets dumped here. Which very few go see anyway. The people who are anxious about the issue aren't necessarily Hollywood fans, more Hollywood Blockbuster fans, out to protect their right to see their precious Iron Mans and Harry Potters and Transformers in 3D. I doubt if they'll turn up for Invictus or Shutter Island or a David Gordon Green movie, let alone get all riled up if these kind of Hollywood movies are threatened.

It's a little too utopian at the moment, though. Or maybe I'm just a little jaded. Oh well. Cheers,man. Happy New Year.:)

Noel Vera said...

"Always exasperating to try and have discourse with the guy"

There's an art to beating one's head on a brick wall. The trick is to imagine that the cracks you made are actually getting bigger, not ignoring you.

Facebook someone berated me for my 'mentality.' Sound like a friend in the making.

HarryTuttle said...

I like this way of thinking. This is the only way to oppose resistance to the Hollywood steamroller.
Though the realistic goal is not to entirely replace Hollywood sensationalist blockbusters... that would be reversed cultural censorship, which is another form of censorship.

The audience wants to watch this kind of spectacle, nothing will change that. There is a need for pure entertainment in our society. Art films, however masterful, will never fulfill this need, because it's not their purpose.
There is no frontal competition with Hollywood. It is impossible. Although I would like to see more non-American worlwide blockbusters to see how other cultures can produce this kind of universal entertainment that appeals to any country. India can do that in its best days, Hong Kong too, like you said, and Korea is capable to compete head-to-head with commercial-Hollywood (if we ignore the langage barrier).

The idea is not to restrict Hollywood to 1 film/month (which would only divert the theatrical audience to the pirate DVD black market). But to make sure to preserve a decent share of the screens for local and non-Hollywood cinema.

The latest numbers are even worse, in 2008 : India (1325 films), USA (520), Japan (418), China (406), South Korea (113), The Philippines (89), Hong Kong (53)

Raymond Red said...

almost 30 years ago we were creating alternative cinema - experimental films, documentaries, animation, shorts that were truly unlike anything you will see in the mainstream. "Alternative" has somehow evolved into "indie" or "digital" which somewhat aimed to either penetrate, co-exist, or totally replace the mainstream. Now that we have all these "indie" films getting recognized, winning both local and international awards, and getting some (though very limited) screen time, guess what, I think we missed the boat. Mainstream cinema is now television. That is what the general masses are really watching. The upperclass generally still don't want to be caught entering a pinoy movie, and would rather rely on their dvds, blu-ray, and downloads. I feel like those 3 bewildered characters in Peque Gallaga's "Virgin Forest", after nights of orgasmic ponderings on their convictions, they arrive in Palanan to realize Aguinaldo's camp had already been overrun by the Americans aided by the Macabebe scouts. This analogy reads deeper than you would care to think.

Anonymous said...

Filipino movies are nothing but a waste of time...Your films are in the bottom of the barrel so to speak.

Noel Vera said...

Good point, Raymond; success is a moving target. I suppose what we can do is move as well--adapt and change, and so on. Or go online for our distribution (how to make that pay, though, is the challenge).

Noel Vera said...

"Your films are in the bottom of the barrel so to speak."

Spoken like a true self-hater! Anonymous at that!

Noel Vera said...

"The idea is not to restrict Hollywood to 1 film/month (which would only divert the theatrical audience to the pirate DVD black market). But to make sure to preserve a decent share of the screens for local and non-Hollywood cinema."

Bong's stance is extreme, I admit, but it's a good way to spark a discussion. Your suggestion is more of what I had in mind.

"The Philippines (89), Hong Kong (53)"

We still outproduced Hong Kong? Sweet (well, bittersweet)! Where'd you get those figures?

coppergirl said...

i think one Hollywood movie a month is extreme, although i see the point behind it. i agree that Bong Revilla might have less noble reasons for wanting to impose this though.

the problem is that not a lot of commercial Filipino films these days can satisfy our cravings. the only one i've seen in the last 6 months was Kimmy Dora (really funny!). i'm afraid to watch the other movies for fear of my brain turning into sludge; MMFF is like cinema abstinence for me. that being said, there is no doubt that we do have an abundance of great films by Pinoy filmmakers--they just aren't that accessible. the Pinoy indie films i watched this year were only showing for a limited time and at 1 or 2 cinemas in the whole metro that i got quite stressed out planning the experience (it was well worth it though).

i think all malls should do what they've been doing at Robinson's Galleria IndieSine, so regular people can be more aware of and have easier access to such films. if every mall would have at least one cinema devoted to entirely Pinoy-made films, that could really boost Philippine Cinema.

There are plenty of great films abroad too, both from Hollywood and elsewhere, and i think limiting their access to the Philippine market defeats the purpose of films and art in general, which is to enlighten, entertain, inspire, and so forth. besides, imagine what would happen if there was very little competition in the movies here. the realist in me doesn't see Brillante Mendoza's films showing in every SM or Ayala Mall in the metro (besides, if the interviews are to be believed, he doesn't want that anyway). i shudder to think what the big-name directors would come up with, knowing Filipinos had no choice but to watch their movies.

though it might make sense to limit foreign movies here, wouldn't it make better sense to make better movies and come up with a policy that focuses on funding and support for our indie filmmakers so they can also show their works in public cinemas and not just film festivals abroad and a few universities in the country?

Noel Vera said...

I can see Kinatay in every cinema except SM, for adults only of course.

But seriously, what about Last Supper No. 3? Or North Diversion Road? They could have been hits too, with proper marketing.

I'm just saying--with the exception of India, every successful cinema either supports their own or restricts Hollywood. We may need to start looking into that.

Noel Vera said...

"i shudder to think what the big-name directors would come up with, knowing Filipinos had no choice but to watch their movies."

I would love to shudder that way more often! Well, not with some big directors. I'm thinking of Laurice Guillen, Joey Reyes, Maryo J. delos Reyes, Chito Rono. And above all Mike de Leon, Celso Ad Castillo, Mario O'Hara.

rico said...

Ey, Noel, nice photo there of Mark Gil (wink-wink ;-). I think people in this business tend to lead with their egos first, as opposed to what makes real good sense. It seems to be a way of life for us. We've had several actor-politicians in office and even one as President of the Republic, and yet, the government can't seem to get rid of the excess tax levied on our producers. People seem to gravitate towards these dramatic, attention-grabbing pronouncements, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts effort of real problem solving --decidedly less glamorous and limelight-hogging-- it seems no one wants to take up the cudgels. Off-topic, congrats, I noticed you are the lone Filipino critic in Film Comment's Best of the Decade poll. Must feel awesome to be mentioned in the same breath as the Schickels or Sarrises at this stage of your writing career. I grew up reading a lot of those guys' works. I started my new year by paying to watch WAPAKMAN. I'm happy to put money in Pacquiao's pockets any day, a genuine national treasure and a perfect example of a guy who QUIETLY put in the time and work to be a world class talent.

Noel Vera said...

Thanks Rico; I really should have asked permission.

For the record, that's Mark Gil from Ilarde's Dugo ng Birhen (Blood of a Virgin), which I talk about in an upcoming book on Filipino indies (Ilarde's one of the few that swing back and forth between the indie scene and the studio system).

I'm happy to be compared to Sarris (not worthy), but Schickel--eh, he's okay. Better than Ebert, sure.

Film Comment's out? Now I know what to get this weekend.

john marzan said...

Noel: I'm just saying--with the exception of India, every successful cinema either supports their own or restricts Hollywood. We may need to start looking into that.

you and bong got it wrong sir. restriction won't help because most filipinos don't watch movies in the theaters anymore (too expensive).

film piracy is the main culprit in the last few years as to why most local movie stars are doing TV works and telenovelas these days. it's true that quiapo piracy mostly targets foreign films, but even the CAM version of local films will do some damage in earnings at malulugi ang mga producers dito. and local producers can forget about recouping their investments in DVD sales.

there's no need to restrict because regal, viva, ABS, GMA studios are not prolific film makers like they used to. it's not about "quality" or that hollywood films are better. it's about fear of losing money and the rising cost. FOX, UNIVERSAL, PARAMOUNT can take the piracy hit in Pinas, our local film producers can't. even if you make a quality film like errr.. Kinatay, most people will not go to the theaters to see it because of high ticket prices. it does not mean they will not seek it elsewhere.

(wala pa ang Kinatay sa DVD. wala pa rin sa torrents. pero kung uso pa ang VHS, siguro meron na yan sa videocity.)

even if you ban all hollywood films from showing here, most producers will still be afraid to fill the void and make films unless a) gov't starts getting serious cracking down on piracy. b) ticket prices go DOWN.

if bong revilla wants to help the local film industry, go after the pirates in quiapo.

but does bong revilla have the political will? kaya ba nya labanan ang mga sindikato doon sa hidalgo st.?

under bong revilla's watch as former Optical Media Board head, lumaki at lumago ang film piracy sa Pilipinas. nice job, sir!

bong revilla also used to be the head of Optical Media Board, where his job is fight film piracy. How exactly did that turn out under his tenure?

if bongbong revilla wants to support the local film industry, he should tell SM to lift the ban on R-18 films, kasi ito na lang ang mga films na gustong gawin ng mga local studios katulad ng "Kilabot at Kembot" nya dahil mura i-produce at kumikita.

another is to abolish the MTRCB censorship board and replace it with something more benign headed by artists and civil society members. clerics need not apply. separation of church and state.

Anonymous said...

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is beyond amazing. It gave justice to Alexander Pope's poem from which it got its title. If a local movie can top that, then I'm good with this law.

Noel Vera said...

Piracy is a serious issue, sure, but one disease at a time (or all at once, but someone better be getting paid here).

That said, there's an easy if dicey way out of that, something that General Petraeus implemented so successfully in Iraq: contact the pirates, negotiate with them to pirate only Hollywood movies and not local fare.

Alternatively, license them to do the distribution and production. They seem to do a pretty good job, speedwise (they just need quality control).

But that's just me.

Noel Vera said...

Might add that it's a multi-pronged problem: yes, piracy is a problem (it was in Hong Kong), but yes Hollywood is also the problem (else China, France and South Korea would have opened up their markets).

Noel Vera said...

"If a local movie can top that, then I'm good with this law."

Hollywood has its flavors, we have ours, and I'm an omnivore. Taste changes; one just has to have the will to try anything and everything.

Kaufman is ingenious and inventive but there's an emotional immaturity to him that I find rather distracting. If anything, I prefer the personal essays of John Torres' films (Todo Todo Teros, Years When I Was A Child Outside) to Kaufman's self-absorbed longings.

As for a wild imagination, check out Mario O'Hara's Pangarap ng Puso, and Sisa.

Haven't even started on Raymond Red, Raya Martin, Lav Diaz, Kidlat Tahimik, and others.

john marzan said...

That said, there's an easy if dicey way out of that, something that General Petraeus implemented so successfully in Iraq: contact the pirates, negotiate with them to pirate only Hollywood movies and not local fare.

they are already doing that.

ex. hanggang ngayon wala pa ring MMFF movies sa quiapo. at kung meron mang tagalog films, it's usually 6 months from theatrical release or lumabas na sa dvd.

Might add that it's a multi-pronged problem: yes, piracy is a problem (it was in Hong Kong), but yes Hollywood is also the problem (else China, France and South Korea would have opened up their markets).

of all the problems facing the local film industry, "US made films" are at the bottom of the list:

1) Piracy
2) Expensive ticket prices
3) High speed Internet
4) MTRCB's conservative, anti-artist policies
5) SM Cinema's banning of R-rated films
...
10) Hollywood films

john marzan said...

6) High Amusement Taxes on local films

pat said...

The suggestion is just too extreme. And it doesn't help that the suggestion came from bong revilla who just had a movie out and who is supposed to be making or passing laws. And if his suggestions do get implemented, our viewing choices will get further narrowed down to what's currently marketed by star cinema or gma films, because operator of malls and cinemas would still be singularly concerned about profit and giant local film producers would still be making garbage, with the exception of the not quite garbage, in my life and kimmy dora.

john marzan said...

contact the pirates, negotiate with them to pirate only Hollywood movies and not local fare.

add: unless gov't is serious about stopping piracy, this won't work either. local films cannot compete with easily available pirated blockbuster movies from Hollywood--pristine copies obtainable for as low as P10. it will only remind them how expensive tickets are nowadays.

only way is to get serious about piracy, and not selective enforcement of rules. good luck.

Noel Vera said...

Who made that list, I wonder? What's the basis for the order of urgency? What are the sources?

I do agree with no. 6, tho--our movies have some of the highest tax rates in the world.

pat--it IS too extreme; I'm using Revilla's statement as a talking point. Perhaps not one Hollywood movie a month, perhaps a quota, a certain percentage of local product must be shown. Perhaps a subsidizing effort, financed by taxes on Hollywood imports. The worse thing we can do is nothing.

Noel Vera said...

"local films cannot compete with easily available pirated blockbuster movies from Hollywood--pristine copies obtainable for as low as P10."

So use them for distribution.

Or get serious about piracy. I'm open to either ideas. But also get serious about clipping Hollywood's fat wings.

rex baylon said...

hi Mr. Vera,

It's been awhile since I've been to the Philippines and much longer since I've stepped into a movie theater there, but couldn't one way of stemming Hollywood's strangle hold on Filipino cinema be to charge people more for a ticket to see a Hollywood film and offer people a reduced-price ticket to see a Filipino film. I mean if ticket costs are a real issue couldn't that relieve the problem?

Also instead of banning Hollywood films just banning the advertisement of Hollywood films or at least heavily restricting how much ad space American studios can buy to promote their new movie. It might be construed as un-democratic, but at least when people want to go out to see a movie then an American film won't be the first thing that pops up in their head.

Noel Vera said...

Hi, rex--call me Noel. And thanks for dropping by.

That sounds reasonable too. I'd like to see that worked into the several bills being proposed in Congress (any progress on any of them? Any sign that any one of them will be approved?).

ADRIAN said...

Hello noel,

Nice topic! Spicy!

--------------------

From Harry:

"India (1325 films), USA (520), Japan (418), China (406), South Korea (113), The Philippines (89), Hong Kong (53)"

Really? Hong Kong, only 53, over 89 from the Philippines? Wow! Nice. Made me cry actually

---------------------


Most mainstream Filipino filmmakers and producers nowadays work in the principle of the current filmmaking norms:

On Narratives:

(1) genre-type soap-opera 'television' dramas,
(2) "Comic Superheroes" adventure stories;
(3) 'global' (set outside of the philippines...) dramas
(4) please add, edit or deduct...

On style:

(1) computer-generated special effects,
(2) television-soap-opera-type editing
(3) please add, edit or deduct...

Most mainstream films are created based on the restraints and characteristic techniques of its institution they belong.In our case, that institution is hollywood-dominated. One cannot walk into an SM cinema without a premier of two or more hollywood films.

On the contrary, art films work via 'film as artist's self-expression' or creator-centered constructional principle. It usually has an ambiguity in temporal and spatial design, has psychologically complex characters symptomatic of its tendency towards realism, and has often open-ended endings. (from Bordwell)

Hollywood , being 'institutionalize' in the Philippines and having dictated most of the filmmaking principles of our mainstream cinema, is sadly 'our' cinema , but what is really 'our' cinema? The definition of 'our' is as ambiguous as a David Lynch character. And i bet the answer to this question is not easy as well. Is it our beautiful string of art films that 'represents' our culture abroad? Or the mainstream films that periodically sprouts on one or two SM cinemas?

This proposal of bong revilla is cute but weird, piquant and blunt, impossible yet promising. One Hollywood film per month is a risky business, but i like the idea of it This is an extremist stance from a person who made extremist claims from the past like Hayden Kho being "pervert of the highest kind." This is not a surprising claim at all!

I like dodo's idea. 3 to 4 Hollywood films per month is just enough. Also opening the market from other imports like France, India, China, South Korea and Japan is still okay. This might decentralize the institution and more or less create new norms in our filmmaking practices causing changes in aesthetics of our mainstream films.

What we need now is to institutionalize a NEW NATIONAL CINEMA, the past two ones happened during the 70s (about forty years ago) and, allegedly, during the silent era (most of the film prints were destroyed by the war).

I hope there is a step by step guide or a "INSTITUTIONALIZE A NATIONAL CINEMA" for dummies somewhere, but as weird as it is, most of the step-by-step guides for this is found somewhere in the 'revolutionary consciousness' of our art filmmakers and local film enthusiasts. Medoza, Diaz, Martin, Martinez, Red, Red, Red, and many more.

WE NEED THIS NOEL, gosh, i miss Alexis... ;-(

...

Anonymous said...

"Kaufman is ingenious and inventive but there's an emotional immaturity to him that I find rather distracting. If anything, I prefer the personal essays of John Torres' films (Todo Todo Teros, Years When I Was A Child Outside) to Kaufman's self-absorbed longings."

The point of movies is not to show how well-rounded a human being can be. We all dabble between immaturity and self-centric attitudes, and I think Kaufman excellently displayed these elements in his movies. What I like about Eternal Sunshine is that it showcases the hues and colors of the imperfect human being, and does not pretend to reach emotional maturity for its characters. I can live with that.

Noel Vera said...

Adrian--thanks! I saw those figures, I believe it's 2008 only (in 1998 mind you we were still outproducing Hong Kong; same with the period 2000 to 2004).

Noel Vera said...

Your proposal too seems to be the most detailed and workable I've seen yet...

Noel Vera said...

"does not pretend to reach emotional maturity for its characters"

It's not the characters' immaturity I find fault with (otherwise I wouldn't be happy with half the world's literature), it's Kaufman's.

john marzan said...

Really? Hong Kong, only 53, over 89 from the Philippines? Wow! Nice. Made me cry actually

the RP numbers are inflated. i think many of the RP films included were indie films done by UP and Ateneo students and submitted to local film festivals like Cinemalaya. these are not commericial films.

just to show you how bad things are nowadays, even those who used to make pito-pito films (low budget Rated R films shot in 7 days) are no longer in business because of SM's policies.

Noel Vera said...

Well, you are the man on the spot. But better than anecdotal evidence would be documentary evidence, from a reputed website or at least reference book. Or an actual count, which if I remember right Butch Francisco used to do.

I'd direct this to Harry as well as you--what's the source of your Filipino film figures? Did you include student films in that number, and would that invalidate them (I don't see anything wrong with including a student film meant for eventual commercial release, though, or, conversely, the inclusion of student films for all countries)?

Our production being higher than Hong Kong seems consistent, by the way:

Noel Vera said...

An imdb title search for Filipino films in 2009 reveals 168 titles. Might take someone time to check each one, make sure they're all commercial releases. One on Ninoy Aquino is a documentary. One was a Jun Posadas flick. Another features Ricky Davao. Any takers, check them all out?

Noel Vera said...

And even if they ARE student made films, I'd question crossing them out totally. Are they feature length? Are they at least presentable? Then they should be distributed and marketed, and that kind of reinforces my point--there should be room in the marketing apparatus and distribution channels for films like these, and Hollywood just crowds em out.

HarryTuttle said...

Noel : "(in 1998 mind you we were still outproducing Hong Kong; same with the period 2000 to 2004)."

If you have more data, I can use it to complete my chart. It's hard to find a study on Filipino cinema. I asked Alexis Tioseco last year, and he didnt find anything for me.

My numbers (currently: only years 2008, 2004, 1997, 1996, 1995) come from serious sources. Either from the Cahiers world atlas, or from the governmental institute of cinema statistics in France (CNC). I believe they would only include commercial feature length films.


re quotas:
before you instore quotas, you need to make sure the alternative cinema is solid and competitive, and that there is a potential following audience. Because once you force the theatres by law to show a certain number of local films (which will restrict the number of screens for Hollywood blockbusters that have an automatic profit), they will cherrypick the most "popular" local films, and not necessarily the best filmic quality.
I don't know what is the local scene like, but I have the feeling that exhibitors will not ponder long before picking a "sopa-opera drama" or a "CGI spectacle" over anything by Lav Diaz or Raya Martin... and it will alienate the artfilms even more.

In any case, to preserve a minimal share for local films is vital for domestic cinema in every country, by any means possible. Because Hollywood CAN and WILL monopolise the market if you let them. They make 65% of their profit outside the American market!

john marzan said...

here's the list (2009) from imdb

And even if they ARE student made films, I'd question crossing them out totally. Are they feature length? Are they at least presentable? Then they should be distributed and marketed, and that kind of reinforces my point--there should be room in the marketing apparatus and distribution channels for films like these, and Hollywood just crowds em out.

not even quiapo is willing to touch those films.

john marzan said...

over 89 from the Philippines?

89/12 = 7.4 films a month

almost 2 films a week? it doesn't look credible. i may not be going to the theaters anymore, but i still go to all the malls, and i don't think these cinemas show 2 NEW pinoy films every week.

OT: "ang panday" earned P16.9 Million on opening day.

16.9 M/ P150 = 112,666 tickets

NO eF- way.

The DVD Thief said...

TV networks are also the culprit why many of our films are still struggling to find their audience. Look at their news program everyday they didn't fail to show a trailer of an incoming Hollywood blockbuster or report a rumor of this certain starlet. They mention the film independent scene, only, when someone wins in film festival abroad.

Noel Vera said...

"not even quiapo is willing to touch those films."

It would help to have figures.

I remember two, four Filipino releases a week sometimes when I was in Manila, up to 2003--more earlier, yes, even then the production was declining (but from over a hundred, mind you).

Not saying these are wrong. But anecdotal evidence goes only so far, including my own.

Thanks Harry, for your input. The figures I named in 1998 was given to me by a programmer of the Hong Kong International film festival (for the Hong Kong output), the other from an article I read in The Philippine Star.

Noel Vera said...

"In any case, to preserve a minimal share for local films is vital for domestic cinema in every country, by any means possible. Because Hollywood CAN and WILL monopolise the market if you let them. They make 65% of their profit outside the American market!"

I hear this from a lot of people, not just you. Hollywood's strategy is definitely to flood a country's market with their product. And they've made conquests too--Hong Kong Mexico, South Korea at one point.

Noel Vera said...

"TV networks are also the culprit"

Yep, this too. They should show a little more loyalty--or at least a little less loyalty, to the almighty dollar.

HarryTuttle said...

What is scary is that the domestic American market is the most profitable in the world : more screens than in India or China! Yet they still make the most of their money abroad. And every year they complain about being on a slump... As if any country in the world could not have their cinema industry survive on a smaller budget than theirs!

The aggressive hegemony of the Hollywood culture overtakes the biggest revenue shares in almost every country, leaving peanuts for the local films to pay off their costs. It's not fair.

And these Hollywood blockbusters don't even deserve to take the largest share of the cake, in most cases, because they are not always better films (whether it is better for the entertainment factor for the widest crowd, or better aesthetically) than the local production.

In these conditions, it is perfectly justified to halt the "free market" (which is skewed by the economic pressures coming from Hollywood distributors who sell their products in bundles to saturate the market and turn local exhibitors into dependent addicts) with protectionist laws. The domestic American market is itself THE most protectionist among the "democratic world of industrial countries". Non-American films sell less than 5% of admissions to the American public!

Noel Vera said...

That's your level playing field, your free market at work--if Americans are so gung-ho about showing their product to us, why don't they allow us to screen our products for them?

Noel Vera said...

For the record Plaridel Journal of the University of the Philippines Mass Communications Department publishes the official number of Filipino films every year. According to this journal, the number of 35 mm films that have been commercially released in 2008 is 36.

On the other hand, the number of Filipino digital films that have had a "full theatrical release" (quotes mine) are 47. Total of 83.

So I'd say Harry's figures are reliable, give or take a few films.

Noel Vera said...

Might as well add that I'll post all the numbers since 2003 this weekend. Maybe there's a post behind the numbers, maybe not.

HarryTuttle said...

Thank you for sharing these numbers.

Edwin Sallan said...

Noel, I think Bong Revilla is missing the point. Hollywood films are never the problem and limiting their showing to just one a month is certainly not the solution.

Even in toe-to-toe battles during the 70's and onwards, Tagalog movies (the good, the bad and the never mind) consistently trounced their Hollywood counterparts at the box office. Ask Dolphy. Ask Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. Ask Rosanna Roces. Ask Mother Lily. Ask, yes (eyes rolling) Carlo J. Caparas. If he was still around, we can also ask FPJ, for that matter.

Even many of the classics made by better directors like Celso Ad. Castillo, Lino Brocka, Mike De Leon and yes, even Mario O' Hara all did good business during their initial theatrical runs.

On TV, even today, more than 90 percent of those aired on free TV, particularly on ABS and GMA are all local shows, the highest rated being the teleseryes on prime time. Foreign shows are available only on the cable channel and their ratings hardly compare to the local shows.

What does this tell us? The unfair competition that Revilla is trying to imply simply does not hold water. Our films (the good, the bad and the never mind) have always held their own against the foreign competition. We simply just don't produce enough of them anymore.

Either that or it's simply more profitable to produce teleseryes than feature films (shrug).

Hollywood has nothing to do with why we're producing lesser films than we used to. As evidenced by the gross of almost every Metro Manila Film Festivals and even the more than encouraging turnouts at Cinemanila and Cinemalaya, people do come to watch local films.

But it's already a heavily taxed industry. Add to it the piracy issue where nobody wins and producers are discouraged from bankrolling film projects that promises very little in terms of return on investment.

If that's not the problem, I don't know what is. I also don't know the solution but I do know that restricting the showing of Hollywood films is not the answer.

Noel Vera said...

Teleseryes have a smaller budget, less to recoup.

Quality's a problem; it's always a problem. So is as mentioned upthread the education of the audience to be more media literate. So is piracy. On this I agree.

I don't agree that Hollywood isn't a problem. Harry does note (he's French, sorry Harry) and so do others that Hollywood does have an arrive and conquer policy, and that the American market is protected as much if not more than our own. I think there's at least room for improvement, qualitywise, taxwise, piracywise, Hollywood moviewise, and all around otherwise.

john marzan said...

There's a new film out called Chub Chaser. Nagulat ako na ipinapalabas ito sa Isetann Recto dahil mukhang indie film siya with no big stars, no advance hype on the internet or old media. Isetann 5 btw is the only theater in RP that is showing that film.

Usually, mga ganitong klaseng limited release ang nakukuha ng mga pinoy films na hindi gawa ng star cinema, regal, or GMAfilms--dahil sa policy ng SM Malls.

Anonymous said...

it should be "pinoy actors should be forbidden to join politics"

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