COPYRIGHT and financial woes are threatening to destroy the last torch that bears what remains of the flames of Philippine cinema.

Despite the 92,000-strong audience of the 10th edition of Cinemalaya Film Festival garnered, the acclaimed festival faces an uncertain future.

Last August 9, on the eve of the 10th Cinemalaya awards night, movies from the 2011 and 2012 editions of Cinemalaya were uploaded on YouTube by the management, without any consent from producers or directors.

Cinemalaya Foundation chairman Tonyboy Cojuangco–major benefactor of the festival for the last nine years– apologized to the filmmakers on his opening remarks during the awards night. However, he lamented that the festival has “reached plateau” and must find ways to become sustainable.

“We uploaded the movies on YouTube so people will know what Cinemalaya is all about,” Cojuangco explained. “We’re trying to hook people to our movies so they will watch [out] for the next [Cinemalaya].”

The directors and producers affected by the dispute requested for a dialogue with the Cinemalaya management but as of press time, no specific dates have been set. “Whatever harm that could have happened already happened. With the amount of time the films were exposed in YouTube, downloads would have been abundant,” said Director Jose Javier Reyes in an email interview with The Varsitarian.

Reyes whose film “Ang Mumunting Lihim” won Best Screenplay at the 8th Cinemalaya Festival last 2012, said that even with the Cinemalaya’s blunder, respect is still due to Cojuangco.

“The filmmakers are demanding respect that is due to them in as much as respect is also due to Mr. Cojuangco, who invested in Cinemalaya for the past nine years and make it what it has become a decade later,” said Reyes.

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This year’s edition was funded by the Deparment of Budget and Management through Cultural Center of the Philippines but recent “political developments” has forewarned the management that it can no longer finance the festival.

Cinemalaya Festival Coordiwnator Vicky Belarmino said that the management is trying to handle the issue professionally and wants to keep matters private first with the filmmakers. “All things will be settled with that meeting but as of now, no official word yet regarding the issue,” Belarmino said.

Critical success

The 10th stint of Cinemalaya was a critical success with all movies sold-out at least at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The multi-award winning film “The Janitor” follows the exploits of suspended cop Dennis Trillo as he battles his personal conflicts while investigating a town massacre. The Michael Tuveria-directed film won for Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Meanwhile, Directors’ Showcase winner “Kasal” tackles the challenges of a gay couple as they contemplate on the idea of marriage. For the New Breed category, “Bwaya” was awarded Best Film including Best Cinematography. Based on a true story, the film narrates the missing girl attacked by a crocodile in Agusan del Sur.

As for the Shorts category, Kevin Ang received the award Best Director for “Lola,” a horror comedy story of the supposed invasion of zombies in Manila and how one gunshot-carrying grandmother tried to protect her family who was turned into zombies by then from further exposure and danger. The short film also garnered the title Best Screenplay out of all the 10 competing short feature films.

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Children trained by syndicates to participate in underground wrestling gave “Children’s Show” Best Sound, including Best Supporting actor for one of its main stars, Miggs Cuaderno. Ida Del Mundo’s debut, jury prize-winning film “K’na The Dreamweaver” is a T’Boli epic centering on a young woman’s role as her town’s ‘dreamweaver’. Joel Lamagan’s “Hustisya,” which won for Audience Choice, features Nora Aunor as her character struggles to fit in the seedy and evil side of Manila. Kristelle-Ann A. Batchelor, Elyssa Christine A. Lopez, Ethan James M. Siat, and Aliliana Margarette T. Uyao

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