Cebu News

Cebu filmmakers cry for support

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Members of Cebu's Film Industry are hoping that after 10 years since the approval of the Cebu City ordinance intended to support Cebuano Cinema, it would finally be implemented under the current administration.

Cebuano Cinema Development Council (CCDC) convenor Marlon

Hofer has recently expressed disappointment over the lack of support to thrive despite being backed by a city ordinance.

Hofer's call was backed by Cebu City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, who authored the ordinance creating the CCDC.

Cuenco said he has lamented even with previous administrations that the Cebuano filmmaking industry has not been given much attention and oftentimes are “left to feed for themselves”.

“It is a pity that our vast reservoir of Cebuano talent are not afforded the opportunity to showcase our rich Cebuano heritage and culture. I am hopeful that during the Garcia administration, this ordinance will be implemented more vigorously,” Cuenco told The Freeman through a text message yesterday, June 23, 2024.

To further strengthen its revival, Cuenco said he will lobby for the inclusion of the funding for CCDC in the 2025 annual budget. He, however, added that the executive director of the cinema council should also submit a detailed budget to the CCDC for inclusion in the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) for 2025.

The said city ordinance was approved by the city council approximately ten years ago. Hofer, who stood as convenor of the group, said that it was his personal advocacy to gather all the local film makers in Cebu to also accumulate all the needed support in aid of legislation.

"Nalipay ko kay daghang ni respond, naghimo sad mi og kanang petition bitaw during Sinulog Film festival nagpasign ko kung ganahan sila og film development council," said Hofer.

This petition was then forwarded to Cuenco, whom Hofer and his group tapped to be the proponent for the ordinance. However, despite having been approved by the city council, the ordinance wasn't enacted due to the changes in administration.

Hofer disclosed that when former Mayor Tomas Osmeña sat down as city mayor, a directive was accordingly released to dissolve all special bodies under the Mayor's office thus the ordinance has been set aside. During the administration of the late Mayor Edgardo Labella, Hofer said they were hopeful to find an "ally" in him.

He further elaborated that the ordinance was well represented with various sectors, including some from the mainstream platform, academe, the media, among others, emphasizing that it has existing an structure.

"Na pandemic man tog kalit, nya nasakit si Labella, so wala nasad. Nya Vice Mayor man to si Rama, sige mig duol sa iyaha kay sige baya na siyag claim nga artist sya," said Hofer.

Despite having the nod from City Mayor Mike Rama, Hofer said that it seemed that they were "always put at the backseat" hence their unapproved requests.

Hofer said there have been multiple attempts to lobby the implementation of the ordinance, but to no avail.

He added that when he went to private practice, he continued to provide filmmaking workshops as part of the programs stipulated by the CCDC.

Since then, Hofer said they were able to produce more than 1,000 youth graduates all over the city who were given free workshops. But even so, Hofer said they still weren't provided with budget support by the city government.

"In other words, ever since wala gyud mi budget for our programs, wala gyud mi budget for opisina, pero sa among kaugalingong paningkamot, nahitabo gyud nga we were able to come up with more than 1,000 free workshoppers," said Hofer.

With the assumption of acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia following the six months preventive suspension of Rama, Hofer said they are hopeful that they can finally be provided with an office space and funding to continue their programs.

This includes extending help to national and international filmmakers, who desire to shoot around the city with proper guidelines, Hofer said.

Further, Hofer said the Film Development Council of the Philippines has been in constant coordination with them, and have even proposed the provision of an avenue to showcase all the local films - the Cinematheque. He, however, said that the said proposal was also declined by the two previous Cebu City administrations.

"Tanan nga mga probinsya duna nay Cinematheque, except Cebu City where filmmaking actually started," said Hofer.

"Duna gyud tay kinahanglanon gikan sa city government aron ma achieve nato atong goals bitaw in Culture and Arts," he added.

Taking significance on the role of filmmaking, Hofer said they are not just advocating for filmmaking for entertainment, but also to "educate, empower viewers, inspire, evangelize and to also maintain the Cebuano identity".

In line with this, Hofer also calls upon the acting mayor to know the status of the CCDC as Garcia also heads the Committee on Cultural Historical Arts Commission.

"Mura gyud tag mga paupers, mura gyud tag mga makalilimos when in fact datu man ta nga syudad, pero wala lang tay tabang sa local government, wala lang tay suporta," he said.

Hofer further said that it is high time that their long overdue requests shall be answered by the city government, which he stressed they have studied for long. (CEBU NEWS)

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