Situating Regional Cinemas in Philippine National Cinema Discourse

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Situating Regional Cinemas in Philippine National Cinema Discourse
Situating Regional Cinemas in Philippine National Cinema Discourse
Katrina Ross A. Tan
Regional filmmaking in the Philippines, or filmmaking outside Manila that uses local
talents and non-Tagalog-based Filipino languages, has gained strong presence not only in the
national but also in international film communities. It has grown into a movement as evidenced
by the yearly increase in regional film productions and the national awards given to them. A
national film festival devoted to regional cinemas has been in existence for six years. Neighbors
in Asia have also recognized them by including regional films in their festivals. Very recently, the
4th Southeast Asian Film Festival in Singapore screened films from Mindanao, south of the
Philippines.
Given this increasing strong presence of regional cinemas in the local, national and
international level, it is imperative to investigate how it engages in the discourse of Philippine’s
national cinema. To answer these questions, the emergence of regional films will be discussed,
as well as examples of regional films to situate regional cinemas in the contemporary landscape
of film culture in the country.
It is posited that regional cinemas challenge the notion of a national cinema based on
the Manila-centric commercial and independent cinemas. Regional cinema constitutes the
national cinema, giving it a more inclusive and dynamic character by highlighting the pluralistic
cultures of the Philippines.
The study also posits that in the personal level, regional films express one’s identity to
the locality where the filmmakers are situated. These films then constitute a national identity
that recognizes a plurality of cultures hence, a plurality of the country’s national cinema.