Monthly Archives: December 2004

my mind has been quite a blank lately, almost as if i’ve said everything i’ve wanted to say. and with good timing i guess, as the year wraps up. it might be time to look for bigger adventures as the new year rolls along. wait, you know what, i’m so sick of talking about adventures. dude, i’m sick of talking period. or maybe, i’m just sick. or maybe i’m just bored. in the middle of the morning. again. blah blah blah, yadda.

( jingle balls )

and so i quote snoop do-double-g, from the t-mobile commercial. “everybody needs a sidekick.”

( Boycott Metro Manila Film Festival )


WHY I WON’T WATCH ANY FILMS IN THE METRO MANILA FILM FESTIVAL

by Alexis Tioseco. Spread the word.

It has long been said that Philippine Cinema is on its death-bed. This statement is incorrect. The Philippine film industry, not Cinema as a whole, is; and rightly so. Hundreds of millions of pesos are wasted by the Film Industry investing in works that can not hold a candle to smaller, independent productions, both long (Lav Diaz’s towering achievements: the 5-hour “Batang West Side” and the 11-hour “Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino,” which has screened in New York and Toronto, and will also be travelling to Rotterdam and Goteborg) and short (Sherad Anthony Sanchez’s 11-minute “Apple,” a powerful, moving elegy on the loss of youth and innocence through child-prostitution, premiering in Rotterdam this January alongside “Ebolusyon” and works by Khavn Dela Cruz and Rox Lee) that are invested with passion and made with purpose.

Earlier this year I wrote I an article about the Metro Manila Film Festival for Indiefilipino.com (http://film.indiefilipino.com/item.php?id=118), lamenting not just the lack of desire to show quality films, but also the ridiculous selection process of the “festival”. Said article can be read at the end of this email.

This year’s festival is an even bigger mockery than the last, with 4 of the 8 participating films being produced or co-produced by Regal Films head Mother Lily and 3 films being directed by Joel Lamangan.

How is that for pushing for a progressive diverse cinema?

The Philippine Film Industry is on its death-bed…the Metro Manila Film Festival is holding the last nail to seal its coffin. The audience holds the hammer.

If you want to see the best of what Philippine Cinema has to offer, if you want stand up for the choice of better movies, better values, and a better cinema, do not watch any of the films in the Metro Manila Film Festival. I certainly won’t.

P.S.
The Breakfast Show on Studio 23 will be airing a special episode dedicated to Philippine Independent Cinema in 2004, 6:30-8:00am this Friday December 31.

If you would like to see and hear from the filmmakers behind some of the best and most interesting works in Philippine Cinema in 2004, tune-in. Featured guests are Khavn Dela Cruz (“Ang Pamilyang Kumakain ng Lupa”), John Torres (“Salat” and “Tawid Gutom”), Pam Miras (“Blood Bank”), Lav Diaz (“Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino”), Rox Lee (“Romeo Must Rock”), “Bunso” by Ditsi Carolino (film discussed, filmmaker not present), Mes De Guzman (“Diliman”) and Raya Martin (“The Island at the End of the World”).

————-

REINVIGORATING PHILIPPINE CINEMA
The Possibilities of the Metro Manila Film Festival
by Alexis Tioseco

Alexis Tioseco writes about the inanity that is the Metro Manila Film Festival, and suggests ways in which to improve the farce

Audiences and industry folk alike have long been preaching the death of Philippine cinema. We gaze back fondly through sepia shades and smile at the glory of our past, shake and scratch our heads lamenting over our pathetic present, and blink and miss opportunities to improve our future.

The Metro Manila Film Festival is a great idea to support the local film industry. It reserves the time of year when most people are able to enjoy days of leisure, and allows only locally-produced films to be shown in commercial theaters. At the same time, it stages a “Film Festival,” a term that carries with it the connotation of presenting films of a higher-than-normal quality, and supposedly highlights our best works, bestowing them with awards and showcasing them: allowing the films to humor, move, teach, challenge, identify with and unite the county in a celebration of art and the best of what the Filipino is capable of.

The Metro Manila Film Festival is a great idea to support the local film industry.

Unfortunately, it is only an idea.

As it exists today, the Metro Manila Film Festival accomplishes all of the above– reserves the Christmas season for a display of local works, stages a “Film Festival,” and gives out awards. What is lacking, however– sorely, painfully, sadly-– is the driving desire to show quality films.

The decision of whether a film will or will not be accepted into the Metro Manila Film Festival is made all the way back in July, usually before even a single frame of film for ANY of the projects to be considered has been shot.

If shooting of the film has not yet begun, how then, one might ask, are the films chosen? Based on the script?

If the script has been written, yes.

But what if, as of July, there is no script– as was the case with Regal Films entry Mano Po 2?

Why, no matter, simply submit an outline of the plot.

And if there is no plot yet?

Umm… a list of the cast will be fine.

And if the entire cast has not yet been confirmed?

A proposed list will do just as well.

Are you beginning to see the inanity of it all?

What would happen, if, say, the announced director of a project drops out, and the submitted script; the script that the selection committee read and was the basis for the film’s inclusion (and ranking) in the festival, is completely re-written? This was the case with one of 2003’s MMFF entries, Captain Barbell: Quark Henares dropped out as director, and the original script written by Lyndon Santos and Ramon De Veyra that was approved by the Metro Manila Film Fest was re-written by RJ Nuevas beyond any semblance of its former self.

Would not this illicit a second look by the selection committee? Would it not warrant an investigation into whether the film still merited its slot (and ranking) in the festival?

As this year’s festival’s selection committee made apparent: No. Captain Barbell stayed in the festival without so much as a peep or raised eyebrow from the selection committee, nor, heaven forbid, a read-through of the new script or preview of the film beforehand.

What exactly is the criterion for the selection of films into the MMFF? Director Joey Romero, a member of the screening committee, broke it down in a December 13 article that appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer: creativity and style, 50 %; commercial viability, 30%; and exemplifying Filipino culture and history, 20%.

EXCUSE ME?!

Before anything else, let us remember that the selection committee makes their choices, at most, based on the script. Sometimes, as has been outlined above, the decision is made based on much less than that. Disregarding the idiocy of the film’s script being the final arbiter of its inclusion in a Film Festival, let alone a script that is often radically changed before, during, and after shooting, but to judge a film’s CREATIVITY AND STYLE, or COMMERCIAL VIABILITY, based on its script?! A film is not the equivalent of a book of prose– audiences don’t read it; they see and hear it, and creativity and style in the written form don’t necessarily translate to creativity and style on the big screen.

The MMFF is a great idea to support the local film industry. But in order to turn that idea into a reality, some serious changes need to be made.

Imagine a December festival done properly: one that, for example, chose to bring back the best films of the past year, chosen after viewing the finished film, not the cast list, not the plot, not the first draft of the script. Imagine a festival that awarded the acclaimed but overlooked films of the past year, such as Maryo J. Delos Reyes’s Magnifico, Quark Henares’s Keka, Mario O’Hara’s Babae sa Breakwater, or even Lav Diaz’s Singapore and Brussels Film Festival Best Film awardee Batang West Side of 2 years ago (a film that has received awards and been screened in numerous prestigious film festivals abroad, but which until now has never seen a commercial release in the Philippines), and re-released and re-introduced them to local audiences.

Imagine a festival that dared to do something as radical yet practical as encourage and promote our young and courageous independent filmmakers, artists like Khavn Dela Cruz, RA Rivera, Ditsi Carolino, Ramona Diaz, Sari and Kiri Dalena, and Raymond and Jon Red (to name but a few), by showing their works theatrically, either before a film or in combination as a feature in itself, introducing them to Philippine audiences.

What if, perhaps, 2 or 3 classic films were chosen each year to be shown during the festival, to re-introduce to Philippine audiences young and old the important works of our cultural history?

What we would have, then, is a breeding ground for the education of our audience towards our cinema’s past, a display of the absolute best of its present, and a harvest of the seeds of its future.

Having a festival where a prime consideration for a film’s acceptance or rejection is its “commercial viability,” is utterly ridiculous. Without getting into the argument over the selection committee’s mystical methodology for determining a work’s “commercial viability” (based simply on the reading of a cast list, plot, or even script) it is safe to say that this should not even be of concern to the festival organizers. Choosing the best possible films should be their main concern, as making the best possible films should be the concern of the filmmakers. The audience is there– the responsibility in a festival such as this does not lie in showing them what we believe they want to see, but simply showing the absolute best of what we have to offer.

The Metro Manila Festival is a good idea for a way to support the local film industry. But without a drastic overhaul in regard to its implementation, it will remain simply an idea.

merry christmas, kids! wherever in the world you may be, chances are i’m missing you :)

i’m still feeling a bit detached lately, almost as if i’m an outsider to my own life. and although it shouldn’t really bother me, i’ve been thinking about how i’m supposed to fit in other people’s lives as well. most of the time i wouldn’t really care, but i just felt like writing that. perhaps i’m having too many idle moments and allow myself to downplay my life as a sham? idle moments not necessarily brought about by my unemployment (which seems like will end soon), but by the lack of general excitement. intrepid explorers, we are! now i just need to find my hobbes. i guess i’ll save that for the new year. :)

my eyes are open but can hardly see, i listen to music in the middle of the night and its the only thing that seems to make sense in a deep entanglement of numb emotion. heavy dosage of winston and the telescreen whom i saw last saturday, and listening to this band called phoenix right now. good stuff.

how much faster is the speed of light in comparison to the electrical nervous wirings in our bodies? random musings that might have some drunken philosophical meaning. too bad i’m sober.

i’ve had this blog since ’02. funny how it changes month per month, and i really don’t know what direction its headed. babbling idiot one moment, drunken kung fu master the next. elevator girl flop-sided anti-romance, secret messages between the lines. happy, sad, down and out and high up and about, i’ll still be around i guess. it’s just weird thinking that someone’s reading this. almost as if its some sort of sick twisted voyeourism. but for what it’s worth, i still try to tread across as much of the world i can sink my toes into. literally, and figuratively. as the wonderful japanese would proclaim.. all your base are belong to us.

and all the reasons that come out from the magician’s bag of tricks, are all the wrong ones.

while the rest of the world drown themselves in their petty problems, and seek in vain to quantify and validate their existence, mine has been reduced to being the recipient of your smiling eyes. you probably don’t know how much that means to me, while the world disappears in your embrace. it’s funny how you don’t even know how much it’s worth.

and so once in awhile, when the engines are running smoothly, a little wrench gets thrown into the gears. the machine sputters and goes haywire, pistons blow, bleeding a mix of high octane fuel and motor oil all over the place. you try to slowly roll towards the destination, but there are a few things you’d have to take care of before you could continue the journey.

so many options, so little time. so many decisions, so few answers.

i can’t believe i let this one slip under my nose. travis (http://www.travisonline.com/) released a best-of album, but what caught my attention were two new singles that i really like- walking in the sun, and bring me round. this band really kicks ass.

ain’t life grand? it’s like a movie and the camera rolls 24-7. oh, boy. i need a big fat dosage of radiohead.

i’m in an old section of town, in a small room where the lights are dim and the air is thick with wisps of cigarette smoke. that doesn’t really seem to faze me as the experience starts to blur the line between my surroundings and my own manifest. it seems as though i’m a prop, an accessory to complete the scene. yet the only reason why i complete the scenario, is because i’m there to experience it. inside that room, i listen to amazing music bourne out of those who dedicated their lives to the art. perhaps, one of the things i really live for. i need to get out.

i’m getting a pimple. hasslehof.

i’m totally stoked! mikko’s coming over in january! yea-uh!

this amounts to gross disrespect on my body. its inching towards 7am and i’m still awake. my knee and elbow are both busted amidst TTh workouts, and i’ve been sleeping with a down comforter for the past couple of weeks (i’m allergic). if all goes well i’ll tear an ACL, develop a psychological disorder and eventually succumb to a random allergic reaction while i sleep. oh, woe. this is what happens when your waking moments are prisoner of languid thoughts – you sensationalize the most trivial and random cards in a bid to bluff your ante to a bigger, more exciting pot.

first things first, though. rest in peace, mr. dimebag darrell. :c

this is unsettling. i have a general idea what i want this space to mold into, but i can’t seem to draft it on paper. all the small details have started to consume me. nitpicking code for standards compliance leads to a desire for a more functional layout and i’m back on square one. and other technologies such as PHP and mySQL that are slightly above my reach come into equation and everything goes down the toilet, reducing me into a hunk of tired flesh rotting in front of a glowing tube. my only consolation is knowing that everyone else works hard before coming up with something they can be proud of. sometimes i wish i had special underwear that would turn me into a superhero. boy, i’m tired.

the mystery of moving furniture

stolen from c.

it’s like when you find that perfect couch for your apartment but it won’t fit through your door (or your window, for that matter). you really, really want this couch, but can’t do anything about the impossibility of fitting it into your space. and instead of getting a smaller couch to suit your needs, you leave a big empty space in the middle of your flat for where it should be.

and then you wait, and keep waiting, until more pieces of the puzzle fall from the sky and all scientific laws are defied and it finally, finally, finally fits into the space where you know it belongs.