By Danielle Gabriel
FILIPINOS will get the chance to view more film treasures from past decades, as the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) strengthens its efforts in film preservation through the restructuring of the National Film Archives.
FDCP Project Development Officer Quintin Cu-Unjieng said the council is hard at work in salvaging and restoring acclaimed films from the 1940s to the 1980s.
“The challenge is on the preservation and proper archiving. We are trying to strengthen our National Film Archives. We really do the best we can to collect and properly archive as many films as we can, so that we can really preserve our cultural heritage. This is something we have seen gotten a bit stronger over the past years,” Cu-Unjieng said.
Cu-Unjieng added that the country has a very short list when it comes to silent films. The Philippines’s entry to the ninth edition of the Silent Film Festival, the 1934 film Brides of Sulu has been shown in previous film festivals in the country.
“There is only a limited number of silent films in the Philippines and the genre was not that popular in the country then. But we have been doing our best to research and acquire as many of these films we can for the National Film Archives in the hope of preserving these for future years to come,” he said. Assisting the FDCP in developing the film archives facility is the French Embassy. Its audiovisual attaché Martin Macalintal, said they are working closely with the film council in upgrading the status of film preservation in the country by offering a study grant on film archiving.
“France has been supporting the efforts of the FDCP. At present, we sent somebody from the FDCP on a master program in Paris to be able to hopefully run this archives facilities in the future. Hopefully then, more of the Philippine film heritage will be preserved can be made accessible to all,” Macalintal said.
Partnering with the Instituto Cervantes, FDCP is set to release later this year a restored 1949 film shot in Spain centering on Filipino themes during World War II.
In May the restored 1976 film by National Artist Lino Brocka, Insiang, was shown before the international audience at the 68th edition of the Cannes Film Festival under the Classics category. Two years prior to that, another Brocka masterpiece, Ang Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag, was preserved by the film council and showcased at the prestigious festival.