The FilmPhilippines Office of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has trebled its annual filming incentives budget from $1 million to $3 million, effective from 2022.
The Philippines offers a range of incentives, including rebate schemes for local and international projects.
“Electric Child” by Swiss Simon Jaquemet, produced by Switzerland’s 8horses GmbH with local production company Epicmedia Productions, was recently approved to receive a 20% cash rebate on its eligible expenses in the Philippines under the Location Incentive Program. The fund requires a minimum qualified production spending of PHP 8 million ($160,000) in the Philippines in order to receive a 20% cash rebate that is capped at PHP 10 million.
The FDCP also recently launched CreatePHFilms, a production fund worth $600,000 that supports local films from script through distribution. Production costs are low in the Philippines, compared to the West. “It’s still substantial knowing that the median production cost average production is around PHP 8 million in the Philippines,” FDCP chair and CEO Liza Diño told Variety.
Under the International Co-production Fund (ICOF), recent awardees include Raya Martin’s Philippines-Singapore-U.S. co-production “Hunter,” which was awarded PHP 6.2 million. Philippines-France-Singapore-Germany co-production “Whether The Weather is Fine” by Carlo Francisco Manatad, will receive PHP 2.5 million and Avid Liongoren’s Philippines-France-Malaysia-Iran-Norway co-production “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah vs. The Amazonistas of Planet X” is to get PHP 10 million.
Earlier this year, the FDCP launched an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Co-production Fund, and the first first recipients are two films by Indonesians: “This City is a Battlefield” by Mouly Surya, which was granted PHP 1.2 million, and “Autobiography” by Makbul Mubarak, which was awarded PHP 3.5 million.
Meanwhile, despite not having a film in official selection this year, there is a significant Philippines presence at Cannes. Xeph Suarez’s “Dancing the Tides” — where a Muslim trans-gender woman is torn between living blissfully with her boyfriend or following her tribe’s customs by marrying a woman betrothed to her at birth — is a part of the festival’s La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut Français, a program helping talented young directors increase their international exposure.
In addition, Rafael Manuel, who was previously part of the Cannes Cinefondation’s residency program is pitching a feature length adaptation of short film “Filipiniana,” which won the Silver Bear Jury Prize for shorts at Berlin in 2020.
Some 33 companies from the Philippines are participating in the market online.
Elsewhere, just before the festival began, the FDCP and France’s Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) committed to renew their Film Cooperation Agreement with a full co-production treaty planned for 2022.
And, Full Circle Lab Philippines is now open to filmmakers from Philippines and Southeast Asian countries including Brunei, Cambodia, East-Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“FilmPhilippines has been trying to change the way Filipino films are made, putting more importance on development and diversifying content,” said Diño.