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Spotlight on Filipino producers for the Cannes Producers Network


By Rica Arevalo

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), headed by chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra, is bringing a contingent of Filipino producers who will take center stage at the Marché du Film— the world’s biggest film market at the Cannes Film Festival.

We’ve talked with some of our fearless young producers to address their mission. Netherlands-based Arleen Cuevas heads the Cinematografica Films. “I have been in Cannes for several years and it is a great event for networking for the international film community,” says this Independencia and Manila producer. Both films were screened at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. “If you want to meet someone from the international industry, chances are they will be in Cannes,” she adds.

Featured Filipino Producers in Cannes

“I have three projects in development, The Empire, to be directed by Raya Martin and co-produced by French producer Mandra Films, which we hope to film in Mexico; The Perilous Journey to Mount Gulsuk, to be directed by Jordan dela Cruz, co-produced by Alemberg Ang, which we just presented at Tribeca Film Festival and Cinemart this year; and Puppy Love, to be directed by Raya Martin and co-produced by Ria Limjap and Spring Films, which we plan to shoot mid-year in Bacolod,” muses the Breda University of Applied Sciences professor.

Team Philippines in Cannes

PRIME PRODUCERS From left: Monster Jimenez, Pamela Reyes, Treb Monteras, Madonna Tarrayo, Armi Rae Cacanindin , Alemberg Ang, and Margie Templo Parks

As a first timer in the French film market, Madonna Tarrayo, president and CEO at UxS (Unitel Productions, Inc. and Straight Shooters Media, Inc.) hopes to understand the needs of the biggest film market in the world. “I think the world should invest in us because we have great potential in storytelling and producing that has not been tapped by the world,” remarks this CineFilipino Film Festival director. “We have a wealth of talented people who can deliver world-class films. Apart from our social class conflicts and our politics, we do have narratives that the world can relate to, that go beyond the usual.” She also plans to market their production services and sell their vast library of films.

We have a wealth of talented people who can deliver world-class films. Apart from our social class conflicts and our politics, we do have narratives that the world can relate to, that go beyond the usual.

Dan Villegas from Project 8 corner San Joaquin Projects will bring Fan Girl to the producers-only event in France. “It is a story about a fan meeting her hero and idol. The film is going to be directed by Antoinette Jadaone and is going to shoot soon,” shares the Alone/Together producer. “Another film we have is the debut feature of Shai Advincula, a very promising director whose short film made it to this year’s Cinemalaya,” he adds.

How will he market Philippine Cinema to the world? He replies: “Filipino talent is world class. Period.”

Pamela L. Reyes from Create Cinema is generating partnerships for the debut of E del Mundo’s feature film Thanatos. “I’m hoping to meet with potential co-producers, sales agents, and distribution,” she says. “To be able to find collaborators who’ll help further my projects would make this trip worth it!”

Inside the Cannes Producers Network

BEHIND THE LENS Inside the Cannes Producers Network

Pamela is also bringing Wilderness by Nadira Ilana (A Malaysia-Philippines-Singapore co-production), Awaremi by Daisuke Miyazaki (a JapanPhilippines co-production), Kontrata by Ely Buendia, Maboteng Usapan by Steven Evangelio (Spring Films), and her debut film Mysticism.

“We have stories that are unique, and although our production costs are lower compared to others, our production quality is high,” confides the Birdshot producer. “We can offer projects with commercial viability and/or projects that are arthouse and can compete internationally in festivals,” she adds.

The goal of Monster Jimenez is to find the perfect match for the company projects in the pipeline. She is behind the films, Respeto, Apocalypse Child, Kano: An American and His Harem, and Big Time.

“I have a lot of projects but my priority is getting meetings for a film that Mario Cornejo and I are producing: Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago, directed by Martika Escobar,” remarks the 2011 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam winner for Best First Appearance.

“In my meetings, I realized that Philippine cinema to the world is arthouse and poverty porn. I think it would be great to tell them that we’re making more and more cross-over films and our range is becoming more diverse,” she adds, smiling.

The 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival is ongoing until May 25. Lav DiazAng Hupa (The Halt) is screening at the prestigious 51st Director’s Fortnight. Organized by the French Directors’ Guild, other films included are Takaskhi Miike’s Hatsukoi, Johnny Ma’s Hue Zhe Chang Zhe, Robert RodriguezRed 11, and Robert EggersThe Lighthouse, among others.

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