SineBuano Speaks Out
In your column today, a good friend of yours made serious accusations against the people behind "The Witness", a film directed by Jurly Maloloy-on and produced by SineBuano. In behalf of SineBuano, I shall clarify the accusations thrown to us.
1. Uncompensated, unfed and Exploited Carcar Talent
Before pre-production even began, when we met the young talent from Carcar we already made clear to her that we may not be able to compensate her but we will, in return for sharing her skill, give her a copy of the film which she may use as a demo reel in case she does pursue an acting career. The crew and actors of the said short film were fed lunch during the 4 hour shoot and were fed during pre-production meetings properly. In fact, during the shoot, we all had to take an extra few minutes to let our stomachs digest the food.
Also, during the shoot, Jurly Maloloy-on Jr. picked her up at Urgello where she stays whenever she's in the city. The only time she would take public transport on her own was when she would attend our regular meetings, which are voluntary, of course.
In fact, I recently called the young talent and she expressed that she is willing to do more films with SineBuano, as long as it does not conflict with her job and study schedules. This maybe the reason why it seemed she has distanced herself from independent filmmakers.
2. Using film festivals as a shortcut to fame and glory.
SineBuano has been making efforts to make people aware of the existence of new Cebuano digital films through our event called SALIDA, usually held at Handuraw Cafe in Mabolo. We created the event to give filmmakers a venue to have their films shown to the public.
Even before SALIDA, we had Cebuano films screened at the Talamban Sports Complex last April 2005.
We never intended to get fame or glory from making and showing films. Nor did we intend to earn from it, in fact, in ALL of our shoots we dig in to our very own pockets to come up with the finance needed for our short films.
We just wanted what any other filmmaker would want, create films and show them to an audience.
The Witness was not only selected as an official entry once but twice, once in Sine Ug Katilingban held in SM Cebu and recently Experimento 2005 held in Manila. It was also submitted in Austria, Japan and recently in the United States. We did not get anything from being an official selection of these festivals, but merely being proud by the fact that a small Cebuano filmmaking group such as ours, made it.
The submission of this film was meant to re-introduce Cebuano films to the world, it was meant to show that Cebuanos can also create films that are at par with our regional and international counterparts.
It was not meant to be a shortcut to whatever.
Maybe what the Cebuano / Visayan Film industry needs is a new way of thinking. Instead of slinging mud towards one another maybe we could create a support group where we all try to attain the same goal.
We are but a small group of filmmakers who try to do our best to promote Cebuano films. It was disheartening to read the accusations thrown against us from someone who was not even present during the production of the film.
We have not even reached the foot of the mountain but yet we already try to push each other off the cliff.
Lastly, thank you for envigorating the interest of the public in the revival of the Cebuano/Visayan film industry and thank you for taking time to read my email.
Benjie I. Ordoñez
you can read the published version here.