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Direk Reyes airs PH film industry in ‘dismal’ state

January 25, 2023 - Wednesday 3:01 PM by Caryl Gonzales

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A television and film director expressed the current state of the Philippine film industry is now in a dreary state as the showing of movies in theaters only provide producers with a low return on investment (ROI).

Director Jose Javier Reyes, who is also the consultant of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), made the remark during the House Special Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts hearing on Tuesday, January 24.

“Dismal, as I said, dismal. If I gave you the numbers of how much was the total gross on the opening day of the two movies that opened last Wednesday, the numbers are unspeakable,” Reyes said.

He also stressed that relying on the cinemas as the sources of ROI for the producer would bring “discouraging” results.

The director also said there are still active producers, but only those with their own platform, citing “Viva” as an example.

“If ever there are producers who are active, they’re no longer to service just the local industry alone, but to provide content for various platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix,” he added.

Shortage in producing films is evidently seen and felt due to the big risk for a film producer to release the money, the veteran directors noted.

He also cited that ancillary industries like catering, and service rental, among others, are also affected.

Meanwhile, policymakers and the general public avoid using the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) as an indication of the current state of the film industry, as people only go to movies due to the Christmas season.

“So the movies for Filipinos who are regular cinemagoers are rare because, to be honest, it is a losing proposition. Of course, the MMFF last December yielded a handsome result, like ‘Deleter’ earned so much,” Reyes said.

“People have money, and people have celebrated Christmas by going to the movies,” he said in Filipino. But Christmas doesn’t happen for 12 months a year. So that is not sustainable,” he added.

Reyes shared they wanted to teach people about the business of making movies, such as showing producers how to handle their finances.

He added that they want to revive the film fund, in which lawmakers propose a certain amount to serve as a starting point for filmmaking.

Recently, he claimed that it is more important to focus on the “survival of the industry” instead of more than “just going to the Oscars.”

Reyes added that for Philippine cinema to enter its "Golden Age," support from the government is needed.

The Committee chair Pangasinan Representative Christopher De Venecia gives light by saying a budget call by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will happen in the next few months, hoping to assist the producers with the additional funding.