Fi­nance ex­pert: Film in­dus­try can boost Cebu’s econ­omy

Cebu Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - by Irene Sino-Cruz

De­vel­op­ing the film in­dus­try will boost Cebu’s econ­omy said Gin Kai Chan, a Sin­ga­pore-based fi­nanc­ing ex­pert with fo­cus on film pro­duc­tion.

Chan is chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Sil­ver Me­dia Group, a pri­vate me­dia fund, and pres­i­dent of the South­east Asia Au­dio-Vis­ual As­so­ci­a­tion (SAAVA) ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. The SAAVA is a non-profit as­so­ci­a­tion that seeks to unify me­dia pro­duc­ers in the re­gion.

“In­vest­ing in com­mer­cially vi­able projects can help the Cebu me­dia and other in­dus­tries grow,” Chan said when he made a pre­sen­ta­tion on in­vest­ing in films dur­ing the open­ing night of the Cebu In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val held at Ayala Cen­ter Cebu.

First, he said, a de­vel­oped film in­dus­try here could bring in­ter­na­tional co-pro­duc­tions of films to Cebu and cre­ate me­dia jobs. Shoot­ing films would cre­ate de­mand for film­ing or non-film­ing re­lated jobs and ser­vice, like car­pen­try and cos­tume mak- ing, Chan main­tained.

In­ter­na­tional mar­ket

How­ever, he urged Cebu film­mak­ers to fo­cus on pro­duc­ing films for in­ter­na­tional re­lease. In­stead of tar­get­ing only the Philip­pine mar­ket, lo­cal film­mak­ers should look at a broader mar­ket.

“Why con­cen­trate on a few mil­lion peo­ple when your tar­get can be more?” he asked. By go­ing in­ter­na­tional, a film­maker can achieve economies of scale, Chan added.

Hav­ing a vi­brant film in­dus­try in Cebu will also pre­vent brain drain, Chan said. When he shot the film 100 yards in Cebu, he had to bring in some crew from Manila, he pointed out. “There is a short­age of jobs here for the me­dia in­dus­try,” he added.

Also, hav­ing in­ter­na­tional co-pro­duc­tions shot here will al­low trans­fer of skills and in turn, help Cebu film­mak­ers pro­duce for in­ter­na­tional re­lease, Chan said.

At the same time, a de­vel­oped Cebu film in­dus­try will boost tourism and help other in­dus­tries like food, ho­tel, trans­port and re­tail sec­tors, among oth­ers.

Chan cited his ex­pe­ri­ence in shoot­ing many scenes in the fea­ture film 100 yards here in Cebu. “I re­ally en­joyed shoot­ing 100 yards here. I love Cebu. It’s a very beau­ti­ful place,” he said.

The fea­ture film 100 yards is about a top Amer­i­can foot­ball quar­ter­back who comes to the Philip­pines to look for his miss­ing mother who came here to do mis­sion work in an or­phan­age.

Good lo­ca­tion

Cebu is a good lo­ca­tion for film­ing, he said, be­cause he found that all the things he re­quired for shoot­ing 100 yards are here. Cebu has com­pe­tent, very strong tech­ni­cal crew, Chan pointed out. Even those who did not have ex­pe­ri­ence in in­ter­na­tional film pro­duc­tion were very keen to learn, he added.

Since Chan has been in­volved in film­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, he en­coun­tered dif­fer­ent film crews. “We have met some of the best that we have met in other coun­tries (here in Cebu),” he said.

Cine­ma­tique

Mean­while, Ara Chowd­hury, film­maker and Bin­isaya Films Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor, noted that Cebu still don’t have a cine­ma­tique, a small mo­tion-pic­ture the­ateror moviehouse, to help pro­mote lo­cal films.

Chowd­hury said that this will serve as a mo­tion pic­ture hub for Bisaya clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary films.

The lo­cal film in­dus­try is also ham­pered by the 30 per­cent amuse­ment tax im­posed by Cebu City on movies and other en­ter­tain­ment shown here.

In­cen­tives

Ac­cord­ing to Chowd­hury, gov­ern­ment can also help the lo­cal in­dus­try by chang­ing the open­ing dates for Filipino films to Fri­days in­stead of Wed­nes­days.

She sug­gested that gov­ern­ment should of­fer fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives such as seed fund­ing for projects that pro­mote na­tional con­scious­ness and giv­ing tax breaks to lo­cal film­mak­ers to en­cour­age lo­cal pro­duc­tions.

The Cebu In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (CEBU.IFF) aims to gather global film­mak­ers to cel­e­brate the art and craft of film­mak­ing and pro­mote valu­able cross-cul­tural part­ner­ships. One of its goals is to re­vive the Visayan film in­dus­try and sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of Philip­pine­pro­duced films that have a global reach.

CDN PHOTO/GERARD PAREJA

CHOWD­HURY

CHAN

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