Press Release
November 24, 2010

An independent superbody to fund, develop, evaluate and promote local films

Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri has filed a bill creating an independent superbody that will oversee the funding, development, evaluation and promotion of local films. Senate Bill 2560 or the Local Film Industry Development Act of 2010 seeks to strengthen the powers and functions of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and reorganize it into an independent agency called the Philippine Film Commission.

"With the obvious pervasive effect of film in the lives of every Filipino and the significant contribution of the film industry to our economy, there is a need for a new law that will regulate this effect and, at the same time, encourage the production of films not only for commercial or entertainment purposes but as a viable tool for change in enhancing the quality of life of every Filipino," Zubiri said.

In line with this advocacy, Zubiri yesterday (Tuesday) led the oath-taking of the new set of officers of the Nagkakaisang Mangagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino (NMPP). In a simple ceremony held at the Senate, NMPP officers namely: President Joel Lamangan, VP for External Affairs Rez Cortez, VP for Internal Affairs Gina Alajar, Secretary-General Manny Morfe, Treasurer Mel Chionglo and Board of Directors Raquel Villavicencio, Jose Carreon, Amay Bisaya, Baldo Maro, Josie Tagle, Soxy Topacio, Allan Noble, Tirso Cruz and Richard Gomez vowed to push for legislative measure that will help strengthen the local film industry.

Under the proposed measure, the Philippine Film Commission will be collegial body composed of one representative each from the Directors' Guild of the Philippines, Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Mowelfund, Actors' Guild of the Philippines, National Cinema Association of the Philippines, the academe, local film producers and from the Independent Film Cooperative. The Commission will also have a nine ex-officio members from the DTI, DepEd, DOT, DFA,DILG, DoF, CCP, Film Academy of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The Commission shall have the following functions:

1. To coordinate all programs and policies of government departments and agencies that are related to the development of the local film industry;

2. To establish and implement a Cinema Evaluation System in accordance with the criteria set forth in this Act;

3. To develop and implement an incentive and reward system for the producers based on merit to encourage the production of quality films;

4. To promote, organize, encourage or support a more scientific system in which local films can be marketed locally and internationally;

5. To develop and promote programs to enhance the skills and expertise of Filipino film artists, technicians and workers through continuous craft and technical upgrading as well as attitude training;

6. To set up and operate a one-stop shop to assist foreign and local producers making films in the country;

7. To develop and implement a two-pronged program that will encourage the production of quality films;

8. To encourage, support and coordinate the holding of national and regional film festivals exclusively of Filipino films;

9. To establish, organize, operate and maintain international film festivals, exhibitions and similar activities, including the ASEAN film festival and market;

10. To encourage and facilitate participation in international film festivals and to ensure the continuous presence of Philippine films in international markets;

11. To invest funds and other assets in such activities or undertakings that shall directly or indirectly promote development of the film industry, including the production of films, and other terms and conditions as it may deem wise and desirable;

12. To ensure the establishment of a film archive in order to conserve and protect film negatives and/or prints as art of the nation's historical, cultural and artistic heritage;

13. To take measures to acquire for "safeguarding and preservation" any part or all of the national film production, including the institution of mandatory deposit systems which is hereby expressly authorized;

14. To set up mechanics to address the welfare and working conditions of local film workers, a concern to be implemented in coordination with the Mowelfund and the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino;

15. To promote the establishment of cinema clubs in barangays and schools in coordination with DepEd and the CHED and to develop elective courses related to film at the collegiate levels as part of a film audience development program; and

16. To promote the development and growth of the independent film movement.

"With the aid of advanced technology, film has not only become a popular form of entertainment but it has emerged as a social institution. Its ability to reach a wide audience with a strong and influential message accounts for this. It does not only entertain but it also educates...thus it may be said that, to an extent, it has taken on some of the roles played by our traditional institutions such as the church, school, government and family," Zubiri explained.

The Zubiri bill also aims to subsidize production of worthwhile screenplays and films through the creation of a Film Endowment Board which shall oversee the funding of film projects including production, promotion, marketing and distribution. Aside from grants and donations, the Commission will be tasked to create a Philippine Film Commission Fund Account to be deposited in the National Treasury which shall be included in the annual General Appropriation Act.

"Our film industry is struggling and is in dire need of support, I'd be honored to shepherd this bill until it becomes a law," Zubiri said.

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