MANILA, 1 July 2016 – The Third World Premieres Film Festival (WPFF) officially kicked off on 29 June at the Cinematheque Centre in the heart of Manila. The Festival will run until 10 July.
This year, over 60 international films of different categories, such as Main Competition, ASEAN Skies, Filipino New Cinema, Intercontinental, Viet Nam – Country of Honor, China, and many more, will be shown to feature a dazzling array of human narratives, cultural diversities, and social issues such as climate change. The festival provides a unique opportunity for filmmakers to reach new audiences in the Philippines, and launch their international premieres in ASEAN’s rapidly growing film community.
In the spotlight at the opening of the WPFF Manila 2016 was the pride of the Philippines, Ms. Jaclyn Jose, the first person from any ASEAN country to have ever won the prestigious Best Actress Award at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in May this year. Her success naturally positions her as the new “Face” and “Voice” of ASEAN films, thus complementing ongoing efforts of ASEAN to use films as a means to forge common cultural identity and to enhance its socio-cultural community and people-to-people contact.
In parallel with the film sessions and screenings, the 6th General Meeting of FILM ASEAN and inauguration of the FILM ASEAN Knowledge Management Centre were held on 30 June. In his opening speech at the inauguration of the Centre, H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community, highlighted that it is extraordinary to have the “first of its kind” facility in Manila as it can set an example to establish similar facilities throughout ASEAN for the people and film lovers to have greater access for audio-visual arts and understand more about the people and cultures of ASEAN. He further emphasised that films in ASEAN are on the rise and many ASEAN Member States are doing well in promoting their films at the world stage. According to him, this shows that ASEAN films are indeed thriving and that this trend is expected to intensify as the spotlight is cast on the cultural dynamism and creative vitality of the region. He said this is a trend of an “ASEAN film renaissance.”
Echoing Mr. Vongthep’s remarks, Mr. Briccio Santos, Chairman of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and President of FILM ASEAN, emphasised the golden opportunity that ASEAN Community brings about. He stressed that the FILM ASEAN and its agenda will focus on the promotion of ASEAN to become a prime film production location, and promote collaboration and possible co-productions amongst its member states and international film agencies.
Many issues have been discussed, including the future FILM ASEAN Pavilion (in Berlin and Cannes), film translation service, script development, statistics for audio-visual sector, archival cooperation with France, cooperation with other partners such as European Film Market, Russia, the USA, the World Bank, etc.
As a relatively young film festival, the WPFF has presented itself a mature process in promoting a comprehensive programme of activities, with various screening locations throughout Manila, thus attracting large audiences from both ASEAN and around the world.
The next showcase of ASEAN films and film development sessions will be held in November 2016 during the 4th Ha Noi International Film Festival.