Thanks to the Freelance Writers Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) for giving me a full pass to this year’s 4th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (4th Filipino Film Festival). This event is the Film Development Council of the Philippines’s (FDCP) flagship annual film festival which features exclusive screenings of Filipino films in all theaters nationwide with no foreign films during its runs since 2017.
Now on its fourth year, as the world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the festival will be running from 31 October to 13 December 2020 instead of its usual week-long run. Also, the festival is held online via its FDCP Channel, showcasing more than 170 Filipino films consisting of 80 short films and 90 full length features, across different genres.
Aside from the online film screenings on the FDCP Channel’s Cinematheque, series of talks, panel discussions, on screenwriting, musical scoring, and more, and special events are conducted where filmmakers and producers discuss their stories, process, and themes and cineastes and students can also participate in.
There are six film screenings daily from 12pm to 10pm. However, there are a few films shown at 12mn to accommodate the agreed six screenings per film, an agreement made by the FDCP and film producers. The film selection is a mix of the most memorable titles of classic and contemporary films, from a wide range of genres. One would be surprised to see unfamiliar titles because they came from regional film festivals, while others were never shown in the Philippines at all or had a limited run in cinemas.
The films are viewed via livestream screenings on the FDCP Channel in four virtual cinemas named after the FDCP’s Cinematheque Centres — Manila, Iloilo, Davao, and Nabunturan (Compostela Valley) which are geo-locked to the Philippines only even though the FDCP Channel website is accessible worldwide. This is an effort by the national film council to prevent piracy.
This year’s theme is #SamaAll which invokes the spirit of unity, supporting one Philippine Cinema. With the imposed quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the online film viewing may encourage more viewers to learn about filmmaking, and boost the Filipino film industry.