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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who’s afraid of a gay-movie glut?

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:09:00 03/10/2010
MANILA, Philippines—Who’s scared of gay films?

During the first Indie Film Summit sponsored by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Cultural Center of the Philippines last year, the participants raised a common concern: There is a danger that, with the glut of independent producers, their films would cancel each other out, should they open in local theaters simultaneously.

Four alternative local movies open this week: Ralston Jover’s “Bakal Boys,” Raul Jorolan’s “The Red Shoes: A Love Story,” Jonison Fontanos’ “Parisukat” and Mark Shandii Bacolod’s “Ben & Sam.”

Fontanos had moved back the premiere of his film to give way to the Queer Love Film Fest which ran the week of Feb. 17. Unfortunately, “Parisukat” is now being pitted against another gay drama “Ben & Sam.”

Bacolod, whose film debuted at the Queer Love Fest last month, pointed out, “It’s important for us, gay filmmakers, to voice out our passions, beliefs, sentiments, even our desires.”

He noted that his film tackled discrimination. “It’s getting worse ... in schools and in society in general. My film is about the hardships and consequences of coming out.”

About love

But mainly, Bacolod said, his film is about “love.” He is presenting non-stereotypical gay characters. “I wanted to avoid clichés. There’s no male prostitution. No noisy, flamboyant parlorista types.”

He noted that his film tries to break free from the indie stereotype of grit and gloom as well. “It’s actually glossy, colorful and clean.”

Fontanos is presenting an important issue, violence against gays, in a very sexy package. His main protagonist is not the usual gay character, he said. “He’s a pansexual. He likes men, women, gays, callboys, chubby and lean people.” Biggest challenge was the “shoestring budget.”
“We could only afford a Panasonic 24P camera. We also couldn’t rent lights, cranes and other equipment. We had to make do with a tripod,” he admitted.

“Parisukat” is the last film to be shown at the IndieSine, which will close temporarily.

Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, chair of the Philippine Independent Filmmakers Multipurpose Cooperative which mounted the Queer Love Fest and managed IndieSine, acknowledged that “there are many criticisms against gay films, [particularly] about craft and content.”
At the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender film fest in 2006, she learned that any community or festival should be open to all types of films—from serious, advocacy films to “politically incorrect” movies.

“We need to give everyone space,” she said, “for their voices to be heard and affirmed.”



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