PH Cinema makes history at the 78th Venice Film Festival

FDCP columnist and chief of staff David Fabros (second from left) with the winning team of ‘On the Job: The Missing 8’ – the only Asian film in the main competition of the 78th Venice International Film Festival – (from left ) Dondon Monteverde, director Erik Matti and producer Quark Henares.

VENICE, ITALY: In my five years as President of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), this was only the first time I attended the Venice International Film Festival, the oldest and one of the most prestigious of its kind. Despite the pandemic, I was fortunate enough to attend this year, in support of “On the Job: The Missing 8”, the only Filipino (and Asian) film in the main competition. I was also there to promote FilmPhilippines incentives to potential international partners and collaborators.

PH Cinema in Venice

The Philippines have created a strong presence in the festival not only with “On the Job: The Missing 8” by Erik Matti, but also with other Filipino projects which are making a statement in the industry programs within the festival. .

FilmPhilippines Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP) and partner of Epicmedia Productions, Inc. “Electric Child” by Simon Jaquemet, and “Plan 75” by Chie Hayakawa, a Japan-France-Philippines co-production, were among the projects in development at the Marché of Venice Gap Funding.

Filipino filmmaker Isabel Sandoval, one of the promising filmmakers to watch, also previewed her short film “Shangri-La”, a collaboration with Italian haute couture brand Miu Miu in the Venice Days section.

At the same time, several activities and events organized by the FDCP to highlight the participation of the Philippines and defend Filipino cinema in Venice.

On September 9, at the Venice Production Bridge, the Agency hosted an exclusive panel discussion titled “From the Philippines to the World: The On The Job Franchise and Exploring New Ways to Distribute Content Globally”. Moderated by Venice Film Festival programmer Paolo Bertolin with director Matti and producers Dondon Monteverde and Quark Henares as panelists, the roundtable recounted the journey of the “On the Job” franchise, from its development to its production.

Chairman and CEO of the FDCP at the FilmPhilippines stand in Venice.

Towards the end of the panel discussion, the FDCP FilmPhilippines video presentation was released to showcase international co-production projects that the Philippines has already supported since the launch of our incentive program.

It was quite surreal to present this for the first time on a world stage. Until the presentation, many people were unaware that the Philippines had incentives that can significantly help filmmakers and workers in their productions.

Some were even shocked to see the many acclaimed international feature films and series we’ve worked with. Director Matti himself was delighted and said many good words to salute the support mechanisms and initiatives put in place by the FDCP to support our Filipino filmmakers.

FDCP also set up a booth at the Venice Production Bridge to promote the FilmPhilippines Incentives and attract more international producers to partner with our Filipino production companies for co-production projects and location shoots.

The Filipino Cinema Cocktail Party, also hosted by FDCP in the evening, ended the fruitful panel on a sweet note, which was attended by many international players to explore a future collaboration to further promote Filipino cinema to the world.

The Philippines represent

Director Matti, actor Dennis Trillo, producers Monteverde and Henares and the rest of the “On The Job: The Missing 8” crew hit the red carpet on September 10, followed by the film’s gala screening in the Sala Grande, where the film received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience. Trillo also received accolades from award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo and Oscar-winning director and main competition jury chairman Bong Joon-ho.

I had the chance to see the film on the big screen and saw how well received it in Venice. It is a great pride to see a Filipino film compete in one of the most prestigious and longest-running film festivals in the world, the equivalent of the country participating in the Olympics.

The film, which ran for three years on the team, lasted three hours and 28 minutes. From a world premiere in Venice to HBO Go, every day they dedicated to making the movie was worth it. The music, the casting and the story were beautifully done, and the rendering was truly world class.

Among the highlights of On the Job in Venice was John Arcilla’s historic victory at the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. Arcilla is the first Filipino actor to win the award for best actor in Venice. He delivered his acceptance speech virtually and it was an incredible victory not only for him but for the film industry.

The presence of Filipino cinema has been intensely felt and recognized also due to the immense support provided by the Venice Film Festival with director Alberto Barbera, Venice Film Festival programmer Bertolin, Venice production manager Bridge Pascal Diot.

Set the bar high

I arrived the last three days of the festival. Fortunately, I met the artistic director of the Venice Film Festival, Barbera, despite his busy schedule. During the courtesy call, we discussed future plans and collaborations with La Biennale to further promote Filipino cinema to the world. He is amazed by the talents that we have in our country. Captivated by Matti’s film, he is eager to discover more diverse and groundbreaking stories from the Philippines.

We are grateful that the FDCP was able to support the Philippine delegation on behalf of the national government, and we are also grateful to be joined by Ambassador of the Philippines Domingo Nolasco and his wife Cecile Nolasco, Vice-Consul Flaureen Dacanay and Consul honorary in Venice, Atty. Giorgia de Biasil who personally attended the festival.

We were in the right place and at the right time to intensify the message we want to convey there, and we are making sure that we can provide a space for our Filipino talents and stories to the world.

No stopping now

The success of “On the Job: The Missing 8” really continues to pave the way for more of our own sharing with the world. I believe it is the future. This is what the FDCP tries to stand up for – to make our local films relevant and competitive on a global scale. The film has set the bar high and there is no going back.

We are heading in the right direction. It’s not a perfect race, but what “On the Job” has achieved has proven that it is possible to aim for quality, world-class stories from the Philippines and that they can have a place in it. global industry. To our Filipino filmmakers, you can be assured of the continued support of the FDCP. Let’s continue to raise our standards and introduce innovative ideas and stories.

What a way to celebrate the very first Filipino Film Industry Month. Here are many more firsts for Filipino cinema!

About Monty S. Maynard

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