Supporting and sustaining Binisaya films
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - September 29, 2016 - 12:00am

The dynamism and persistence of this young generation of filmmakers is one great sign and consolation that the once glorious past of the industry would be regained-and hopefully be sustained. These are new breed of filmmakers who dare to explore despite the many uncertainties engulfing the industry, characterized as being centered in the country's capital along with an audience that generally favored foreign flavors.

We have intrepid filmmakers who cry for an institutionalized support from the government and a harmonized backing from well-intentioned and culturally passionate individuals and private institutions. This is on top of the wider appreciation from the viewers in the local arena. At least I can say for now that there is a growing youth base that cannot be discouraged by the prevailing challenges.

On its sixth year, Binisaya Film Festival, through its prime movers, has been true to its "aim of spreading the waves of films made by Cebuanos. To create that appreciation, the festival had to overcome challenges that characterize every worthy endeavor, such as budget, support, learning the ropes of mounting a festival. To create alternative venues, part of the challenge is for Binisaya to be peripatetic in order to share the experience of films projected on any screen (even the old "telon") outdoors in as many places in the Philippines, especially the remote areas."

Binisaya, a brainchild of filmmaker Keith Deligero and friends, was established in 2009 as an outlet for the exhibition of Bisaya movies.And for this year's festival, it ran from September 17 to 24, which aimed to help promote the movies by bringing them to a wider audience. After years of small screenings in coffee shops and under the bridge communities, this year marks the first time the festival took place in a commercial theater, SM Seaside City Cinema.

Part of the festival's aim is the inclusion of the languages and dialects outside of the NCR which can be a more representative national cinema. This is a major direction of elevating the regard of local languages through films.

A filmmaker's forum was also held which aimed at fleshing out some issues and concerns besetting the industry. It was graced by Liza Diño-Seguerra, the chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and film producer Miss Bianca Balbuena.

As part of the academe's cultural promotion, showings of Bisaya classic films were hosted by universities like the Cebu Normal University, Cebu Institute of Technology-University and the University of the Philippines Cebu. 

One aspect that would help sustain the momentum, as Misha Boris Anissimov asserts, is nurturing the next generation of film scholars which is equally important as creating the next wave of Cebuano feature filmmakers. Universities have now considered offering degrees for students to specialize in filmmaking.

This year's festival director, Janice Perez, supports the general observation that "the continued output brought forth by more and more Cebuano filmmakers in the last 10 years, beginning with RuelAntipuesto's daring, political thriller, "Confessional" in 2007 all the way to Ara Chawdhury's astounding and noteworthy, "Miss Bulalacao" from last year clearly show that Cebuano cinema is alive, kicking, and showing no signs of slowing down."

For the past years, an international film festival is part of the yearly occurrence which features Bisaya films and other films from our Asian neighbors.

The future of Bisaya films is growing and bright. The initiatives are propelled by dynamic young individuals whose vision for the industry is relentlessly vibrant. Given the adequate support from local government units and the sustained support from the growing local market, for sure, the industry would not just be just be creating ripples in the local prospect but tidal waves in the international arena.

ligayarabago@yahoo.com.

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