Tolentino Says Local Film Industry Needs Shot In The Arm

Former MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino vowed to continue helping and reviving the Philippine film industry, which he said has been severely affected by piracy and the entry of foreign films.

Tolentino noted that the cost of film making has rapidly increased that it’s cheaper to import foreign films than produce movies locally.

He said piracy has resulted in huge revenue losses for producers and film makers. In 2013, the intellectual property office recorded a P7.5 billion cost of seized counterfeit films.

“I want to continue my advocacy in reviving our film industry by giving incentives,” he said.

Under Tolentino, films that competed in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) experienced impressive gross earnings.

He also established the ongoing Cinefone or cell phone film festival for high school and college students nationwide. The festival showcases students’ works featuring 3-minute films based on single themes such as environment protection, disaster preparedness and road safety.

Tolentino also supported indie films by establishing the New Wave section and student short film competition and initiated the first MMFF animation category.

The first MMFF international filmfest involving various embassies was also accomplished under Tolentino.

In addition, Tolentino also started the nationwide lectures on filmmaking and short courses on film production for college students.

Tolentino is proposing the Film Development Act of 2016 that will provide government subsidies to local filmmakers who will compete in international filmfests. Winners will also receive rewards.

Local film producers will also be given tax incentives especially when they produce during summer months when foreign films are released worldwide.

“It’s really important to help our Filipino filmmakers and producers as a way of encouraging them to continue making movies,” he said.

Tolentino said under his proposed law, film industry employees and their immediate family members will be provided with health and medical and educational support.

Films that promote Filipino values, culture and history will be given funding and technology assistance and promotional support if these are shown abroad.

He said regional filmfests will be supported by local governments while anti-film piracy laws will be strengthened.

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