Last week, we chanced upon the young Congressman from Davao City and present chair of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives who ably shepherded the national budget.
He is also known as a champion of looking for the much needed funds for the free tuition of students studying in state universities and colleges (SUCs) for school year 2018-2019.
Karlo Alexei B. Nograles of the first district of Davao City is, many of us, are unaware a film buff. Ask him about Star Wars and he can eloquently tell you the synopses of all the films from the first installment to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
As we all know he chaired the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival, or the MMFF, with balancing artistic standards of films and commercial interests of theatre owners and producers in mind.
We asked him a few questions about the recently concluded film festival and he answered them gamely. questions posed to him:
What cay you say about the present quality of Filipino films vis-a-vis foreign ones especially the different fentries to the MMFF?
On the technical quality, of course, Hollywood still has the edge with their Computer Generated Imagery. But the Filipino film industry has made great strides in polishing some of our graphics, particularly in fantasy films, which are traditional fare of MMFF. The MMFF films are usually well-funded films boasting impressive graphics, though nakakaangat pa rin technical wise ang Hollywood. For this year’s MMFF, I personally appreciate the efforst in trying to strike a ‘balance’ between commercial and indie films.
What areas need improvement, if any?
I think the focus should be on making more quality films rather than pandering to what the market seems to want. We’ve had really great Filipino films but didn’t prove to be commercially successful. So I think the audience should have more venues to appreciate quality films in such a way that they dont have to choose between artistic quality or commercial appeal.
Is there a need for additional incentives from government to the movie industry?
Maybe in areas of taxation like amusement taxes. There has always been a call to decrease amusement taxes Big producers can afford the fees but what about indie or regional producers who have limited fund source?
The government can also give support to the local film industry on the aspects of production, wherein more fund grants can be given to produce quality films, story wise. Sadly, good stories normally do not get funding from big outfits who focus on the marketability of the artistas than the story.
On the aspect of marketing, there should also be a policy to increase screenings of local films in cinemas. The indie film industry is looking forward to a regional cinema development bill since film festivals in the regions have sprouted, just like the Mindanao Film Festival, which had over 100 films in participation in the first week of December.
What is your general observation of the recent MMFF?
MMFF 2017 reverts back with same crowd drawing formula that made huge money in the previous years. If it makes more money then we’ll see this as the current template for future MMFFs.
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Karlo together with wife Marga (who is a successful entrepreneur herself being the brains and moving spirit of Kaayo, a company that specializes in making stylized and classy indigenous clothes from Mindanao) are looking forward to seeing more quality Filipino films in the next 12 months.
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