FDCP President and CEO Liza Dino with mentors and attendees at Full Circle Lab PH 2019 held in Batangas.
Besides success in mainstream cinema, Asian films have also made waves in the international film festival circuits, including Cannes and Venice, among others.
The whole world is now watching Asia. What an exciting and promising time for us to show the world what we are capable of in film – our world-class talents, our unique stories and our rich culture. What better way to maximize this opportunity than by ensuring we are ready and equipped with the tools to take our diverse stories to the world stage?
As economies around the world open up and countries find their place in this rapidly changing environment, it is imperative to continually equip our filmmakers with the tools to continue learning new skills, unlearning less effective practices and to relearn new strategies for doing things. so that they can keep up with the times. This is where the Full Circle Lab PH comes in. Through the Full Circle Lab Philippines, we are taking concrete steps to develop talents from the Southeast Asian region who are ready to meet the challenges, demands and competition of the global cinema and film markets. The long-term goal is to make the Philippines a creative hub for cinema in the region.
From Southeast Asia to the world
For two consecutive years, Full Circle Lab PH – the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ flagship international talent development program, co-hosted with French production company Tatino Films – has been held online due to the pandemic. . While keeping the labs online for 2020 and 2021, we have used this time to come up with ideas to further elevate FCL PH and reach more aspiring filmmakers towards its goal of meeting the training and development needs of our filmmakers and meet the demands of the ever-changing film industry.
The columnist with the resource speaker Benjamin Mirguet and the filmmakers-participants Joseph Mangat and Ilsa Malsi.
Last year’s lab hosted the Creative Producers Lab to meet the needs of emerging producers and prepare them for project development, legal and financial issues, and business development. For this year, another lab will be added to our program – the Story Editors Lab. This new laboratory responds to the need to train film professionals capable of reflecting with authors and directors on the entire creative process, particularly at the script development stage.
Since 2019, FCL PH has helped develop a total of 61 projects and talents from the Philippines and our neighboring Southeast Asian countries. As we move forward into another exciting edition, we hope participants’ journey with FCL PH will further help them discover their distinct voice, elevate their skills and open up more opportunities for them in the future.
Earlier this year, Martika Ramirez Escobar’s “Leonor Will Never Die” won the Special Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. “Hayop Ka!” by Avid Liongoren also became the first Filipino animated feature film selected in the official selection of the Annecy Film Festival. Antonette Jadaone’s “Fan Girl” and Rae Red’s “The Girl and the Gun” (Babae at Baril) have also made waves on the international festival circuit. All of these films, as well as many more, were part of the Full Circle Lab PH. To date, over a hundred film professionals have been included in the four years since FCL PH was established. Two alumni films were also selected for the Cannes L’Atelier program – “Sam” by E. Del Mundo and “The Beer Girl in Yangon” by Sein Lyan Tun.
FCL PH will take place over a total of five months which will take place in two parts – an on-site residential workshop from April 26-30 to be held in beautiful Cebu City, and online follow-up sessions during the month of film industry in September. The program will include four separate film labs – First Cut Lab and Fiction Lab under the project-based labs, and the Creative Producers Lab and Story Editing Lab under the talent and skill-based labs. This year’s edition will host film projects, series, animation and talent from the Philippines and neighboring countries Brunei, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and will be honored by a mentoring team of film professionals from around the world.
From the world to Southeast Asia
In our aim to nurture globally competitive film projects and film professionals, it is also important to internationalize our filmmaking standards. As we bring Southeast Asian films to the world, it is also central to FCL PH’s goal of bringing the world to Southeast Asia. This year’s FLC PH brought together film experts from around the world to frame this year’s crème de la crème.
The list of mentors for fiction films in this edition includes experienced producers, scriptwriters and script consultants, namely Ayman El Amir (Egypt), Helen Beltramé-Linné (Brazil/Sweden), Izabela Igel (Poland), Mmabatho Kau (South Africa), Meiske Taurisia (Indonesia) and Olga Zhurzhenko (Ukraine).
First Cut Lab discussions will be led by editorial consultant Benjamin Mirguet (France) with editorial consultant Wim Vanacker (Belgium). Creative Producers Lab, meanwhile, will be led by film producers Weijie Lai (Singapore/Canada) and Juraj Krasnohorsky (Slovakia). Fran Borgia and Vincent Queck, both from Singapore, Patrick Mao Huang from Taiwan and Tran Bich Ngoc from Vietnam will also join the event to share their expertise.
I believe this stellar lineup is a testament to how the collaboration informs the new global cinema we aspire to – inclusive and diverse, rich and promising, welcoming to all of our stories. Film as a medium transcends the boundaries of geography, it can be a valuable tool to inspire the world to listen and be more open.
Towards a new wave of Asian cinema
These are truly exciting times for Southeast Asian filmmakers. The unprecedented successes of our neighbors in Northeast Asia, particularly Korea, are goals that we all hope to replicate and capitalize on. This may be our time. The film industry is always on the lookout for new talent and new stories that we have as a nation of over seven thousand islands, so do our counterparts in Southeast Asia. We hold a source of stories in our cultures and our rich histories. We have what we need, we just need to make consistent and intentional efforts to translate them into well-crafted films that, while unique and personal, possess universal appeal.
Consistency and continuity are our mission. Over the past few years, the Philippines’ deliberate focus on regional collaboration through project and talent development has brought us global traction and success. Cooperation and long-term planning are essential in the film industry to achieve lasting results.
Our vision is not just to support individual film projects, but to elevate the entire film industry to new standards of storytelling and production value. Special thanks to Matthieu Darras and Izabela Igel from Tatino Films for bringing Full Circle Lab to the Philippines, we are moving in this direction.
We are excited to welcome and bring together the future of cinema in Cebu. Congratulations to the new wave of filmmakers and film professionals!