Filipino film professionals, students and aficionados have something to be jubilant about. The Philippine film industry gets a shot in the arm with the inauguration of Cinematheque Centre Manila on December 2015 by no less than Pres. Benigno Aquino III.
Spearheaded by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Cinematheque was established in Manila to reinforce the city’s stature as the bulwark of culture and cinematic arts in the Philippines. In cooperation with the National Film Archives of the Philippines, Cinematheque will provide an alternative venue for the screening of Filipino classic and contemporary films of the mainstream and independent kind, as well as foreign productions under the Film Cultural Exchange Program. Film festivals are mapped out in its calendar of activities. Special screenings are open to the public free of charge. Other films can be viewed for a minimal fee. The day of our visit coincided with the Spanish Film Festival, which afforded us the chance to watch El Caballero Don Quijote (The Knight Don Quijote).
Cinematheque will serve as the hub for the conduct of workshops and symposia delving into all aspects of filmmaking and cinema. Its primary aim, however, is to increase awareness and appreciation for film and cinema, with the end goal of equipping future generations for the development of the local film industry toward global competitiveness.
The center is also home to the Museo ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Musuem of Philippine Film). Interspersed with a photo gallery of film celebrities and celebrated films, on display are antiquated film-making and editing equipment, plus statues of film icons, including some of their personal work paraphernalia. Video documentaries featuring each of the legendary Filipino directors who made a dent in the industry provide a walk-through into their lives and careers.
For past movers and shakers of the Philippine film industry, their labors are not in vain. For present and future generations of local cinema insiders and enthusiasts, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If it’s any gauge, a new age is dawning for Philippine cinema with the acting coup of Jaclyn Jose, the first Filipino and Southeast Asian to bag the Best Actress trophy in the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival in her portrayal in Brillante Mendoza’s film Ma Rosa. Philippine cinema is suddenly making heads turn in the international film industry and gaining recognition for Filipino artistry. Things are looking up!