Digital tech pushes more Pinoys to be filmmakers

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    Teddy Co of the NCCA
    Teddy Co of the NCCA

    NAGA CITY—Technology has drastically changed how films are made. Impacting on production and execution costs as well as in editing, special effects creation and post production and processing .

    Technologies that reshaped the film industry include digital recording, high resolution cameras, automated drones and the Cloud. These technologies are not necessarily cheaper than those used for film but have become more accessible.

    At the Cinema Rehiyon 12 held in Naga City, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts called for more regional films to be produced. The push to create films outside the mainstream, and regional in nature, will reflect its unique culture and develop an audience critical of the movies they watch.

    “Technology has played a big role in democratizing the making and distribution of films. It has pushed more artistically inclined Filipinos to create films. In 2009, when Cinema Rehiyon started, we only had 9 movies, some of them still shot and processed in film. In the recent past hundreds of movies have been entered and previewed in the various regional film festivals and almost all of them are produced digitally,” Teddy O. Co, Commissioner for the Arts and Head, Sub-commission on the Arts of the NCCA said. Co is also one of the founders of Cinema Rehiyon where he served as curator of Luzon films. This year will be his last with the NCCA.

    Technology, however, no matter how advanced, does not make a good film.

    “There is an immense amount of technology available for filmmakers that ‘made their jobs easy,’ but these technologies cannot replace truly artistic and creative sensibilities which allow them, because of innate passion or learned experiences, to tell a story well. Movies are stories and telling the story well is the most important thing,” Co said expounding on how using available tech in making a film is not an indication of its success.

    “We’ve had films shot using a phone camera or created on paper and assembled on a computer and the results are as good, or even more entertaining and inspiring than big-budget ones,” Co added.

    When the National Commission on Culture and Arts’ cinema committee created Cinema Rehiyon, the vision was to further enrich Philippine cinema. Co said the project became a “treasure hunt for cinematic gems in the regions, more than simply independent films, regional cinema portrayed cultures and expressed the uniqueness of each province, each region, each barangay.”

    “Regional filmmaking is now its own person. It has established its place in Philippine cinema not after but along with mainstream and independent films,” he reiterated.

    When asked about the latest technologies such as autonomous drone cameras, 4K 3D cameras, algorithmic video editing, facial recognition and automated correction running on the Cloud that have creeped into film making and production, Co simply said that “all technologies are welcome and should serve to enhance the cinematic experience.”

    “I don’t believe technology can replace human creativity and the human eye, and the passion for storytelling. Technology cannot replace the soul of a movie, ” Co concluded pointing out that ease by which films can be produced because of rapid technological developments also opened the doors for artistically or creatively starved films.

    Cinema Rehiyon in Naga is the 12th edition of the project that started in 2009 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Its aim is not only to promote regional films but also to espouse the ideal that Philippine cinema is the sum total of all cinemas in the regions. Its second run was also at the CCP followed by Davao (2011), Bacolod (2012), Los Baños (2013), Cagayan De Oro (2014), Cebu (2015), Dasmarinas, Cavite (2016), Compostela Valley (2017), Las Piñas (2018), Dumaguete City (2019).