Philippine film biz drafts bill

MANILLA — The war against the censors has escalated to new heights in the Philippine cinema industry as producers, directors and other members of the industry have taken their battle to the Senate.

Rushing to beat the 1998 presidential elections, a bill has been drafted for sponsorship by senators sympathetic to the cinema industry, seeking to create a powerful body that would vest the industry with responsibility of policing its own ranks.

The bill would create a Film Development Board under the Office of the President, which would undertake various functions geared toward boosting production of quality films, whether for local viewing or global exposition.

The functions would include holding local and international festivals, training programs and an incentives system for quality films.

Members would include the heads of the Film Academy of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Directors Guild of the Philippines, and film director Carlos Signuon-Reyna.

At present, the censoring body bases its decisions on a law promulgated by the former dictator president Marcos.

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