pop goes the world: film, and life imitating

 POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  15 March 2012, Thursday

Film, and Life Imitating

“There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.” (Director Frank Capra)

Have filmmakers run out of ideas? The local movie industry has certainly been accused, many times, of rehashing worn-out narrative formulas ad nauseum.

Indie films may have the answer to the moviegoer blahs. As last holiday’s film festivals proved, a fresh way of presenting narratives will attract viewers. However, indie filmmakers will always have to battle constraints, primarily financial.

Cineastes will be happy to know that they can participate in the creation of movies themselves without being Mother Lily or other deep-pocketed capitalist. Multi-awarded indie filmmaker John Torres calls this “crowdfunding”, and it’s the way he’s chosen to finance his proposed fourth feature film, “Lukas Nino”.

Photo provided by John Torres.

Torres says the project “is a narrative from the succession of film titles and posters left behind by the late director Ishmael Bernal.” It received “a digital production grant from the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, “ and could be premiered in the Netherlands next year.

“Lukas Nino” will be Torres’s first time to shoot in film and use a team and script, rather than in his usual video, with non-actors, and unscripted. He needs P500,000 for 35mm film stock, processing, and transfer to video.

Visit http://johntorr.es/support to pre-order the DVDs of his earlier films – Todo Todo Teros (2006), Years When I Was a Child Outside (2008), and Refrains Happen Like Revolutions in a Song (2010). This will be the first release ever of Torres’s films and is a landmark event for collectors.

Portrait of the filmmaker. Photo provided by John Torres.

These films have been screened in international festivals in Berlin, Rotterdam, Buenos Aires, and other places, and have won many prizes – the Cinemanila and Gawad Urian locally, and the Dragons and Tigers Award at the Vancouver International Filmfest, among others.

Another filmmaker, Alex Socorro, is exploring the world of horseracing with “Largaaa!” He and his group are connected with the Philippine Motion Pictures Directors Association under the Film Academy of the Philippines. Their only source of funds is a grant.

The movie stars Yasmien Kurdi, Felix Roco, Leo Martinez, and Jeric Raval.  The actors will be guided only by a flexible script, “to maintain spontaneity”.

The first shooting day is March 24 at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. There will be unscripted interviews with trainers, jockeys, and other racetrack folk. To donate to their cause, check out the “Largaaa” page on Facebook.

* * * * *

 And in other news, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s front page yesterday showing a four-photo montage of impeachment trial witness Demetrio Vicente’s face unleashed a barrage of angry reactions from the public.

Image here.

 Via Twitter, Facebook, and other Internet platforms, commenters called PDI’s move “insensitive” and “cruel”, among other things.

As a subscriber, I received a version of the paper without the Vicente montage on the front. Instead, a photo in that same space was of Rep. Toby Tiangco conferring with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

The provincial edition I received as a subscriber (although we’re located in Metro Manila). 

A PDI insider who lives up north confirms that the edition I received was the provincial, which was also the one he also got. Provincial and subscriber editions are released before the city edition. So this was the first print run of the front page. The offensive Vicente photo series was placed on an inside page.

In PDI’s  provincial edition, the Vicente series was inside.  

PDI therefore made a second print run putting the Vicente photos on the front page. They also used this version for their online edition.

Now why go through all that trouble to redo the layout and stop-restart the presses again? What motive could PDI have for deliberately ridiculing the facial expressions of Vicente, a stroke victim?

Whatever their reasons for doing so, it backfired on PDI. Despite their issuance of an online apology and yanking the offensive image from their website, the damage has been done. PDI violated several Filipino cultural norms: support for the underdog, respect for the elderly, sympathy for the sick, no disparaging of personal appearance, and not kicking a man when he’s down.

PDI touts itself as the number one bestselling newspaper in the country and doesn’t miss a chance to trumpet this every so often with charts and ratings on their front page. With this one stupid decision to mock a man, its credibility has plummeted. Sales might not be far behind.

It could be a movie. Capra would have approved. As real life, it sucks. *** 

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