It’s not just the interest drawn by a post you viewed on your Facebook wall, but also the unique or “kakaiba” factor you just witnessed. It’s not only the eye-catching artistic details you see, but definitely also the inspiring, relatable stories that moved you to tears, rage, or that hearty kilig. Whether it involves a certain part of our history, a riveting crime story with many twists or a memorable scream to the mountains that you're over (maybe!) with an ex-flame, the real secret is simpler than imagined.
“[That Thing Called] Tadhana, Heneral Luna, and even OTJ (On the Job) have a great story that is affecting audiences,” cinematographer Pong Ignacio, who is part of the crew behind the phenomenally successful Heneral Luna, explains. “Yun core story nagre-resonate through the Filipino audience.”
Creating indie films that capture the Filipino’s emotions is one fulfilling challange faced by filmmakers nowadays. With audiences getting more aware and involved with how the story progresses in the film and how it affects them in real life, it surely is a big risk to carry formulaic, tried-and-tested strategies in their production. They must need to try fresh concepts and story ideas that would primarily engage with the viewers and become a real personal experience, and not just exhibit and expose the ills of society.
Film festivals, such as the Cinemalaya and the current Cinema One Originals, have been the profound and prolific platform to put such inspiring work to the fore. Above the mastery in direction, cinematography, screenplay and film editing or musical score, the real competition would mean determining the best in creating a story or plot that relates to the audience in a unique and inspiring way.
“Kakaiba yun mga kwento: hindi siya yun usual na love team, hindi siya yun usual na family drama,” Ignacio said.
Film director King Palisoc affirms this, noting that indie productions such as those that carry themes that affect middle-class families, as seen in Ang Nawawala, and coming-of-age sports stories, as seen in Patintero: Ang Alamat Ni Meng Patalo.
“[There’s] a new consciousness to the Filipino movie-going public,” Palisoc said. “Our audience is now more aware that our industry can also produce alternatives to what they normally see in theaters.”
Currently, Filipino audiences would choose to patronize films that make them experience being part of what they are watching, just like being immersed as a character in the film. “[Importante] yun nakakarelate yun manonood, na there’s that instant connection between the movie’s characters and the audience,” remarked Cinema One Channel Head Ronald Arguelles.
This new, empowering quality of independent cinema in the Philippines is what is being showcased in the ongoing Cinema One Originals, which is running until November 17 at TriNoma, Glorietta, SM Megamall, and Resorts World Manila cinemas. Moviegoers will definitely enjoy this new breed of filmmaking with the nine competition films being showcased.