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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Interview with director Mel Chionglo about his film Lauriana and the National Film Festival

Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival 2013 – All-Masters Edition
Mel Chionglo

here’s my interview and conversation with director Mel Chionglo, he known as the director to these films - Dyesebel (1990), Babaeng hampaslupa (1988), Teenage Marriage (1984), Loretta (1994), Lagos sa laman (1995), Lahar (1996), Burlesk King (1999), Lagarista (2000), Isinakdal ko ang aking ina (1997) more info here

“The movie, Lauriana, is about love and obsession that went wrong. An imprisonment by love that is not really true love. Based on a true story and written by Ricky Castillo, its about a boy who witness a domestic violence during the 1950's in a town in Quezon Province.

This is the 2nd festival, but its the first for the all-master directors to come together in one festival, at first it was called Sineng Pambansa before and then it was titled to National Film Festival, we have to admit that there's a great frustration with indie film makers, our audiences are not that receptive to independent films, there's this idea to bring together the veteran directors, the directors of the mainstream that have done considerable works that made it to the box office, to do indie films, films of their own choice set in their own home town or province, for my movie, we filmed it in Quezon Province. We want to see how it sell in this festival, its like MMFF, but hopefully it will create some kind of impact in local audiences who might patronize our films.

The National Film Festival might revitalizes our local film industry.

At the same time the festival is taking place during an international film congress on Sept 6-7, that is organized by FDCP in SM MOA. There's a big gathering and this is the centerpiece of that film congress. The festival was originally Sept 7, but it was moved to Sept 11.

The surprise for us was the co-sponsorship of SM Cinema for our National Film Festival, our meeting with them was last month and they told us that the cooperation with FDCP, they will sponsor the screenings of our films in all SM Cinemas nationwide, with no competing local or international films. When we heard that, every directors in the room clapped their hands with joy.

It was hard to make indie films to go mainstream and penetrate the distribution to mainstream cinemas. Back in the days, they pull out films who don't earn much, but here in our festival, there's no pulling out of films till the end of the screening date.

FDCP really did a great work, from negotiations up to organizing this festival, we always wanted to have a festival middle of the year which is we lost it already, in the past we have that and now we have the MMFF only available for Christmas. (Mel is referring to the MMFF every Manila Day)

The National Film Festival will go annually based on its success, FDCP has its own Sineng Pambansa festival in regional areas, they organize script writing contest, and they are trying everything to help revitalize the industry and to see where it can go, obviously if there will be success here, there's a sign that it will continue for another festival next year.

All of us directors felt the same way after our first presscon and meeting with SM, we felt that we are moving as one and agree that there will be no competition with each other. The concern was that we must complete the film in time before the main showing.

And the new challenge for us is to reach an audience with these new movies.

FDCP and MTRCB got a MOA that all our films will have no censorship, because its a film festival, but ratings will be provided based on the directors rating and SM. R-16 is the highest rating.
Budget allotted by FDCP for us is Php 1.5 million per director and its up to us to look for our counterpart funding. We provide everything from getting the actors, productions and etc. FDCP is just there to observe and do documentation, its up to us on how we can use the budget and expand it for the film.

Last February 2013, after the presscon, the budget were released to us and then the casting started afterwards, all directors started on their own shoot, we didn't started all together in one schedule but
Ideal budget for big movies are 5 million, the budget that was given to us is Php1.5M only plus with our own expenses is not that enough, its up to us to do something.

In our movies, we use digital film making style, everyone uses digital, it was perfect and it was beautiful. Its not my first time to use it, but I can say that its faster, smoother, and not really cheap or expensive.

After this festival, I will read scripts again for Cinemalaya, I'm going back there again toward the ends of the year, and making final selection before the year ends. And this October, a new wave of MMFF movies will come in. I'm part of the committee that screens and organizing everything.

For the festival, they lowered the ticket price to Php 100. I think we are the lowest ticket price in a film festival. “

National Film Festival is on Sept 11-17,2013
all SM Cinemas branches nationwide
Price: Php 100 per movie

Lauriana Poster copy
watch: Lauriana , a film by Mel Chionglo -
about the movie: "centers on domestic drama about a Philippine Constabulary soldier’s mistress in the 1950s. The film tackles obsession, passionate love and abuse.  Based on a true story, Chionglo describes the film as a psychological thriller. The film casts Bangs Garcia and Allen Dizon.

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, Philippine Bloggers Network, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. Azrael's Merryland Blog is included in a list of top 50 Blogs in the Philippines , ranked 65th in Top 100 Blogs that Matter , 49 must read lifestyle blog in the Philippines. and rank 40th in 100 Top Philippine Blogs by Feedspot.
He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.
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