It’s More Fun to Film in the Philippines: FDCP Goes to the American Film Market 2021
MANILA, PHILIPPINES, NOVEMBER 4, 2021 — The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) is currently at the American Film Market (AFM) 2021, which started November 1 and will culminate on November 5, 2021. As part of the AFM’s official events and activities for this year, the FDCP, through UniPhilippines and the FilmPhilippines Office, hosted a panel discussion about the opportunities available for international partnerships with the Philippines.
A virtual panel discussion titled "It's More Fun to Film in the Philippines" was held last Monday, November 1, and was moderated by journalist and film festival consultant Wendy Mitchell. The panel was made up of American and Filipino producers and filmmakers who have had experience in working with the Philippine film industry on international productions, including Philippine Film Studios, Inc. Executive Producer Jun Juban, Director Pedring Lopez of Counterplay, writer and producer Scott Rosenfelt, Electric Entertainment's producer Francis Dela Torre and FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño, who joined the panel as a resource person to discuss the country's filming incentives which intend to boost international coproductions and make the Philippines more enticing as a film location option for international production outfits.
FDCP Chairperson Diño shared her excitement about the Agency’s ongoing projects and incentive programs. Through its banner program FilmPhilippines, the country offers location incentive programs to attract a range of international film and audiovisual projects for production and post-production, as well as foreign producers looking to do international coproductions with Filipino producers. One such incentive is the Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP), which grants an eligible international project a 20% cash rebate on their qualified spend in the Philippines. It also provides logistics support via the Film Location Engagement Desk (FLEX), one-stop-shop assistance for government permits, and interagency endorsements to those coming to shoot in the country.
UniPhilippines, on the other hand, has several support programs aiming to help Filipino films and filmmakers, as well as their international coproducers, intending to reach a global audience by exposure to international festivals and film markets.
But more than the incentives and support, it is in fact the people that makes the Philippines an excellent choice for collaboration and film location. Executive Producer Jun Juban relates, “the best ‘infrastructure’ is the people themselves, the enthusiasm to work… the qualified and well-trained technical staff.” He also shares that film technical personnel were even invited to overseas filming projects for their expertise, and then they go back to the Philippines with even better experience to share with the industry.
Chairperson Diño said that the film industry was one of the hardest-hit sectors in the Philippines during the pandemic. She adds, “Participation in festivals and film markets open new avenues to our films and our filmmakers to have a wider reach. Not only does choosing the Philippines as a film destination make the country more visible to the world, but it also helps our economy by creating jobs for our homegrown pool of film workers and generating revenue for service providers in the country.”
A film market is not only where films are showcased but is the place where networks are forged, titles acquired, and production and distribution deals sealed. The AFM has the reputation of being the most efficient, with more than a billion in US dollars worth of deals closed, both for completed films and those under production and development. It brings together a diverse audience of more than 7,000 film industry professionals from more than 70 countries every November. It is also a venue to discover a global catalog of available films and projects, attend world-class conferences, panels, and workshops, and connect with the independent film community’s decision-makers.
Throughout the five-day networking event, FDCP hosts two virtual booths at the LocationEXPO and Industry Offices for FilmPhilippines and UniPhilippines, respectively. Four Filipino films are on market screening as well, namely: “Hello Stranger” directed by Dwein Baltazar, “Whether the Weather is Fine” by Carlo Francisco Manatad, “A Hard Day” by Law Fajardo, and “Real Life Fiction” by Paul Soriano.
Since its first participation at the AFM in 2016, FDCP has closed numerous deals, acquired remarkable films, and made notable partnerships in this annual event. AFM will run until November 5, 2021. “It's More Fun to Film in the Philippines” panel session will be available for replay to participants of the American Film Market 2021. It can be accessed by logging in to https://afm2021.online/.
To know more about FDCP’s international collaborations and opportunities, you may check out - filmphilippines.com.