MANILA, Philippines – The director and producers behind the movies Balangiga: Howling Wilderness and Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus are questioning the basis for the zero grade their movies got from the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB).
Both movies are part of the Special Feature Presentation in the ongoing Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP). A rating from the board would have entitled the films to incentives. (READ: Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino announces 6 films under Special Feature Section)
While members of the CEB have yet to comment, the director and producer of the two films took to social media to air their dismay.
‘Balangiga: Howling Wilderness’
Balangiga director Khavn de La Cruz told Rappler via Facebook Messenger Wednesday, August 15, that aside from the movie getting a zero grade from the CEB, some cinemas were not showing the 6 other PPP films.
“Halos walang screening ang ibang films to the point na walang screening ang Special Features today,” he said, referring to the first day of the festival.
(There was practically no screening of the other films. It came to the point that there was no screening for Special Features [films] today.)
“Kesyo dahil walang MTRCB permit or hindi valid; kesyo wala sa listahan daw ang films namin; wala sa system; or hindi maintindihan ng sinehan ang konsepto ng festival; or nagtitrip lang sila,. So maski maraming gustong manood, they were turned down.”
(They were giving excuses like there was no MTRCB permit or it wasn’t valid; or supposedly our movie wasn’t in the list; or the movie wasn’t in their system; or the theaters couldn’t grasp the concept of the festival; or they were just power tripping. So even if there were many who wanted to watch, they were turned down.)
He also asked the public to rate Balangiga as if they were the members of the CEB. Last August 9, De La Cruz posted the letter from CEB member Doy del Mundo explaining why the movie got a zero grade.
Based on the statement, the movie got mixed reviews. One reviewer compared scenes from the movie Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? starring Christopher de Leon, while other reviewers mentioned the film’s supposed attacks on the Catholic Church.
“The members who reviewed Balangiga: Howling Wilderness were clearly divided in their assessment of the film. Finally, the body has decided, by a majority vote, not to grant the film an incentive,” Del Mundo said.
On Wednesday, August 15, De La Cruz wrote on Facebook: “I invite all of you to roleplay that you’re a Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) member and judge our film based on these criteria, taken from the CEB webpage: https://www.fdcp.ph/programs/cinema-evaluation-board
“CEB graded us Zero (“None”). A for Best. B for So-so. Zero for Bokya. Ano’ng sa iyo? (Anyoung haseyo?)”
‘Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus’
Director and producer Perci Intalan took to Facebook on Thursday, August 16, to speak on the issue. Intalan is credited as one of the producers of the movie, which was directed by Dwein Baltazar.
In his post, he said that while he respects the CEB members’ views, he saw the review as “taking a dangerous turn,” which is “more dangerous than what they claim about this film.”
“The point of the review – of no less than a film that won 2nd Best Picture and a number of awards and has passed the standards of the selection committees of 3 festivals: Cine Filipino, Cinemalaya and Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino – is not to evaluate the craftsmanship of the film but rather questions its very purpose.
“The creation of art can be discussed, even if still subjectively, based on set standards of craftsmanship. But the purpose of art? The purpose of a painting, a sculpture, a poem, a song? You cannot question that because it is different for everyone and it is by design supposed to inspire thought, pose questions and even spark debate,” he said.
Intalan also said that if the CEB wants to give no rating to the movie, they should be prepared to defend the decision they made.
“Because this is the bottom line for me: what is truly DANGEROUS is letting any institution impose on what we can and cannot express through art.”
Director Baltazar also took to Facebook to share her sentiments. While she chose not to post the review, she made a summary of it with his “sick imagination face”:
“Nangati ang CEB sa aming pelikula at kinamot naman nila pero hindi na inalam kung sa’n galing ang kati at kung bakit nga ba nangangati. ANG GALENG PO. MABUHAY KAYO CEB! SALAMAT SA TAXES HA!’
(The CEB got itchy with our film and they scratched it, but they did not ask where the itch came from and why it got itchy. Great job CEB! Thank you for the taxes!)
Award-winning scripwriter Ricky Lee did not hide is dismay either over the CEB’s grading of the movies.
“Di ko maintindihan kung bakit zero ang ibinigay ng CEB sa Balangiga: Howling Wilderness at sa Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus. Napakarami nang weird na nangyayari sa ating mundo at nadagdag pa ito,” he said.
(I cannnot understand why the CEB gave a zero grade to Balangiga: Howling Wilderness and to Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus. There are already so many weird things happening in our world, and then here comes one more.)
What does the CEB do? The CEB, which is under the Film Development Council of the Philippines, is the body tasked “to evaluate and grade films submitted to FDCP.” A grade of A or B given by CEB entitles the movie and the producers to an incentive of either 100% of the amusement tax (Grade A) or 65% (B).
Other movies featured in the PPP have been given either an A or B grade by the CEB.
Rappler reached out to the Cinema Evaluation Board division head Rosana Hicaro and FDCP chair Liza Diño Seguerra for their comments, but has yet to receive a reply as of posting. – Rappler.com
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