The Unnoticed Gems of the Philippine Cinema

Indie Films (Photo Credit : Todosabongga.blogspot)
Indie Films (Photo Credit : Todosabongga.blogspot)
Indie Films     (Photo Credit  :    Todosabongga.blogspot)
Indie Films (Photo Credit : Todosabongga.blogspot)

The rising industry of local independent films is considered as the hope of the declining Philippine cinema. This new wave of films offer better stories and show the realities of Filipino life. It has achieved a lot of recognition in different award-giving bodies locally and internationally but it is not very much appreciated by the Filipinos (Delocado, 2010).

The box-office hits in the local film industry are often the highly-commercialized movies. Even though the title of the movie is derived from a song and it is just a rehash of a previous movie released years ago, it could still capture the hearts of the masses. Most of these movies use formulas that appeal to a wide range of audience and are often profit-oriented (Benigno, 2012). Because of the low quality of most of the highly-commercialized local movies, foreign films are preferred over local films.

The domination of foreign films in the cinemas also contributes to the low support for independent films. Cinemas prefer to show foreign films, especially the Hollywood films, because these are profitable. Therefore, to improve the Philippine Film Industry, local independent films should be shown in more cinemas than foreign films and should have a better support from the people. This should be implemented because of these reasons

First, prioritizing local independent films leads to the betterment of the local film industry. If more cinemas offer independent films, the people will be more aware of the great films the local industry has. Filipino films serve as cultural artifacts that reflect Filipino culture and affect the Filipinos’ outlooks towards life (Ilda, 2011). This quality is always presented to the people by the local independent films. By prioritizing these good kinds of films, Filipinos are given the chance to know better choices of movies.

Moreover, prioritizing independent films will make Filipinos patronize their own works. In the status quo, there are big chances of high profit from foreign films. As more and more Filipinos patronize it, they contribute a lot in the decline of the Philippine cinema. Obviously, they do not help their own because the one who really benefits in the situation is the foreign country where the film is produced. Filipinos just obtain profit but they do not get the improvement that they really need. In showing more independent films than foreign films, Filipinos may become interested in their great local films and this may lead to the improvement of the local industry.

 Another advantage of prioritizing independent films is that it will serve as a big help for the Filipinos to know more about themselves. At present, the people are exposed to different cultures that foreign films show them. Most of the time, they often forget who they really are as Filipinos because they are greatly influenced by other cultures. Even highly-commercialized local movies adopt these cultures by imitating movie themes from foreign movies. In contrast, independent films show the realities of Filipino life. These films are driven by their creators’ vision and passion not by the eagerness to gain profit (Benigno, 2012).

If independent films are prioritized, the people will discover a lot about their own art and great artists. Independent films are mirrors of Filipino culture and by watching it, the people will know a lot about the society that they belong to. These films are also inspired by the Filipinos’ way of life and tackle serious social problems in the Philippines (Anonymous, 2012). By watching independent films, Filipinos will be aware of the present status of their country and there is a possibility that they will be inspired to change it.

On the contrary, the prioritizing of independent films results to a lesser profit for the cinemas. First of all, the masses will not be very interested in local independent films. Second, not all of these films have big stars as cast. Most of the blockbuster hits in the Philippines have a powerhouse cast because this is one of the main reasons why people watch films. Another reason for a lesser profit is that almost all independent films have a serious subject matter. With numerous problems that Filipinos face, they watch films to entertain themselves not to think about what the film means.

 Another disadvantage is the fact that the people are used to watching foreign films which are highly developed compared to local independent films. Even though there will be more cinemas showing independent films, people will still prefer to find more foreign films in the cinemas.

 These disadvantages are reasonable. Most of these are concerned with practicality which is good in some ways. However, if it is all about profit, then where is the essence of producing an art? A film is an art. An art is an expression of its creator’s passion. A true artist does not construct his art while thinking about the people’s response to it too much. He concentrates on making it beautiful and on making sure that it contains what he wants to share to the people. If most Filipino artists will focus on gaining profit from their films, then the Philippines does not have a lot of artists. Moreover, the people’s perception about a film must be changed. They should learn that a film is not all about the stars in it and watching a film is not all about entertainment. A film has a story to tell. It is the responsibility of a viewer to understand it and to decide if he believes in it or not. For the people to know this, the most effective way is to offer them real films made by real artists. With this, they will learn to appreciate a true art. Last but not the least, the foreign films that easily capture the hearts of the people should not hinder the showing of more independent films in the cinemas. There might be a negative outcome in the beginning but with proper promotion, local independent films can be on the top choices of the viewers. At present, foreign films are good to watch but when a good change happens, watching their own masterpieces will be the best experience for the Filipinos.

 The prioritizing of local independent films might not be initially profitable but it is worth the chance. The Philippine cinema continues to decline and if not prevented, the industry might be at its worst. Local independent films are the keys to international and global success. It has been proven itself many times and it just waits to be noticed by many. The time has come for the Philippine cinema to reinvent itself and to bring back the Filipino artistry in their local films. The time has come for the independent films to reign.


Anonymous. “Phlippine Film Industry Decline.” 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 3 March 2012.

Benigno. “Filipino Indie Film Makers Need to Stop Whining and Step Up.” Get Real Philippines. 2 Jan. 2012. Web. 3 March 2012.

Delocado, Emmanuel. “Indie Film Outtakes.” The Guidon. 25 Aug. 2010. Web. 3 March 2012.

Ilda. “Filipino Films: They Don’t Make Us Think.” Get Real Philippines. 31 Dec. 2011. Web. 3 March 2012.

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