Wednesday, October 21, 2009



The Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Digital Cinema
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

The internet has been an important avenue for digital filmmakers to distribute and circulate their works. Digital filmmakers use their personal websites while others use their personal blogs. Perhaps one of the most techno-savvy digital filmmaker who uses ICT to extensively to disseminate his ideas about digital cinema in the country is Khavn De La Cruz. He is the festival director of .MOV Digital Film Festival and has made nine digital features and more than thirty short films. His website This is not a film by Khavn contains several manifestos in strong support for what he calls “filmless films” referring to digital films. In the Digital Dekalogo: A Manifesto for a Filmless Philippines he declares that “Film is dead. Please omit flowers.” The Filmless Manifesto is a poetic rant in support of digital cinema. In The Zero-minute Film School, Khavn gives budding filmmakers suggestions on how to make a film. In Dogman2000's The 12 Bowowows of Impurity, Khavn issued rules on independent digital filmmaking, apparently as a response to Dogme 95’s Vow of Chastity. Khavn’s website also contains his filmography and film-related articles.

Digital filmmakers also use web blogs to feature their works such as Tad Ermitano , Mike Dagnalan , Quark Henares , Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez, and Jeffrey Jeturian . Chuck Gutierrez has a compilation of his digital short films with links to Youtube and Google video.

Art writer Gibbs Cadiz uses his blog to circulate his writings about film, as well as noted film critic Noel Vera . An interesting blog is Philippine Art Scene where Philippine art and culture news such as exhibits, film festivals, cultural summit, art contests may be posted.

Independent digital film producers such as Arkeo Films use their website to publicize their films such as Joel Ruiz’s Mansyon and Mario Cornejo and Monster Jimenez’s Big Time. Similarly, Mes de Guzman’s, director of Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong, created the independent film and digital outfit Sampay-Bakod and has a website that contains trailers, production notes, reviews, filmography, etc for films such as Imposible and Midnight Sale.

Several digital films have their own websites namely JP Carpio’s Balay Daku , Doy Del Mundo’s Pepot Artista , Auraeus Solito’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros , Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Babae (Woman) , Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino , Ian Gamazon and Neill dela Llana’s Cavite , and Will Fredo’s Compund contains reviews, production notes, trailers, screenings, awards, etc. Jeffrey Jeturian’s Kubrador (The Bet Collector) uses Multiply, an internet network site similar to Friendster, as a website.

At the same time, digital filmmakers in the Philippines have used the internet as an avenue to distribute their works. Youtube, Google Video and Yahoo! Video are popular websites which enables digital filmmakers to upload their films . Their audience can then access their digital films for free. One can find short films made about the Guimaras oil spill, as well as short films by Filipino digital filmmakers Chuck Gutierrez, Jim Libiran, Khavn De La Cruz on Youtube. It also gives a space for student filmmakers to show their film projects. Youtube contains the trailers for Cris Pablo’s digital films Duda/Doubt, Slowmotion, Bathouse and Metlogs. Jon Red’s Boso (first digital film of VIVA) and Astig trailers can be watched on Youtube, as well as Will Fredo’s Compund. Ramon Bautista’s One Sip at a Time is also accessible on Youtube. Videos by RA Rivera and Marie Jamora made for Filipino bands are also accessible at Youtube . Youtube does not allow downloading of the films but only streams the film, which means one cannot copy the film but can only watch it on the internet.

Another website for film distribution is Atom Films which hosts Raymond Red’s 2000 Palme D'Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival award winning film Anino (Shadow) . Filipino digital short films are also accessible at Nice Shorts such as Joel Ruiz’s Mansyon.

An important website where Filipino digital films can be viewed is 8arts , “Asia’s first internet film, video and animation site.” It aims to give the public access to the best of Asian independent short film and animation. It features Cinemanila founder Tikoy Aguiliuz’s 30 Views of Mt. Mayon and the internet premieres of shorts by Filipino directors Erwin Romulo’s The Window, Pam Miras’ Reyna ng Kadiliman (Queen of Darkness), Peter Chua’s Buwan and Tad Ermitano’s Sausage and Una Transmiccion del Cueva Del Ermitano (The Retrochronological Transfer of Information).

A promising website is the newly created The Filipino Filmmaking portal created by Dino Manrique which contains film event announcements, reviews, links to blogs, forum, tips on filmmaking, database, etc. It aims to be a:
…repository of Filipino films and a venue to discuss the merits of these creative works…one of its goals is to provide a marketing platform for these films – to help further popularize Philippine aspires to be cyberspace’s one-stop shop… (to) distribute Filipino movies… (it) is also an online interactive workshop, a place to talk shop about the art of filmmaking, where one can trade and share filmmaking experience and knowledge. And lastly, is a venue for collaboration, a place to look for or meet like-minded persons who could help you realize your cinematic vision and goals.

The boom in digital cinema in the Philippines in the last two years attracted the attention of critics here and abroad contributing to a rise in film reviews circulated on the internet. Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Evolution of a Filipino Family), a critically acclaimed ten hour digital film, was first noticed by Ekarn, a Slovenian film journal, writer Paolo Bertolin in (On) Time: Lav's (R)Evolution. It also attracted the attention of writer Brandon Wee in his essay The Decade of Living Dangerously: A Chronicle from Lav Diaz for the Australian film journal Senses of Cinema. Mauro Feria Tumbocon Jr. also wrote Lav Diaz's Ebolusyon A Rearrangement of a Troubled Landscape. These online film reviews, and others, give us a glimpse on the production, direction, vision, and distribution of Lav Diaz’s landmark film, the longest film in the history of Philippine cinema.

Online film journals include Senses of Cinema is dedicated to “the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema” and the UK-based Firecracker . In the Philippines, the now defunct Sinewaya , was an online journal created by young Filipino film critics. Criticine: Elevating Discourse on Southeast Asian Cinema is an online publication that specializes on discourse about Southeast Asian Cinema and edited by the young film critic Alexis Tioseco, is an important source of information about Southeast Asian cinemas in general, and Philippine cinema in particular. It contains in-depth, incisive and engaging interviews conducted by Tioseco on three maverick digital filmmakers: John Torres, Ato Bautista and Lav Diaz. It also features film reviews by noted film critic Noel Vera, Raya Martin’s journal about his experiences as Cannes Cinefondation Resident in 2006 and feature essays by Tioseco. More importantly, Criticine builds bridges between film critics, historian and filmmakers in Southeast Asia.

It has also been easier for Filipino digital filmmakers to get information about international film festivals through the internet. Filipino filmmakers have been very active in participating in international film festivals and 2005 and 2006 have been banner years for Filipino digital filmmakers in terms of international awards. Films can even be submitted to the festivals online.


Commissioned by the DOST, Presented at the ICTD4 Roundtable Discussion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, January 30, 2007. Published in the book The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Digital Cinema. Information and Communication Technology in Philippine Art, Heritage and Religion. Department of Science and Technology in 2008.

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