MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Filmmakers turned to social media to express their outrage after films from the past years of the Cinemalaya film festival appeared on YouTube and on the official website of Cinemalaya.
Since 2004, the Cinemalaya Foundation has been awarding promising filmmakers financial grants to produce films with fresh sensibilities, more experimental techniques, but with themes that are still distinctly Filipino.
Film critic Philbert Dy tweeted the news on Saturday, August 9, saying that full-length copies of Cinemalaya entries from 2012 and 2013 were uploaded on YouTube and embedded on the festival's official site.
Jerrold Tarog, director of 2013 winner Sana Dati, also turned to Twitter to express his anger over the unauthorized uploads.
Cinematographer Mackie Galvez echoed colleague Tarog's sentiments, and so did Dy.
The Cinemalaya Foundation posted an official statement on its Facebook page, apologizing for the situation.
Screenshot from the Cinemalaya Foundation Facebook page
The online copies of the films were hosted on the personal YouTube account of Janssen Agbada, a member of the technical staff. The account is now down following the uproar the uploads caused on social media.
It is said that Cinemalaya chairman Tonyboy Cojuangco told filmmakers during a Cinemalaya reunion on Friday, August 8, that entries to the film festival will eventually be uploaded for public viewing.
Filmmaker Alvin Yapan, who directed the 2013 Cinemalaya entry Debosyon, confirmed this with Rappler.
"Cinemalaya sent us letters, dated August 7, asking permission for them to upload our films on Youtube, for free," Yapan said. "Mr. Cojuangco mentioned that they have this plan during his speech at the Cinemalaya reunion."
Yapan did not sign the letter as his production team plans to release the feature film via DVD. "Releasing it for free on YouTube will not make any business sense," he said.
Rappler's Cinemalaya 2014 coverage: