Filipino Film Person of the Decade

As we noted in the introduction to our decade poll, the 2010s in Philippine cinema saw the expansion on the huge gains made the previous decade, with the continued rise of independent filmmaking. While there is obviously no single person that can capture the story of the 2010s in local cinema, we thought it would be fun to ask close industry observers as to who they think is one figure that was instrumental in shaping the past decade in film.

The goal is not to tabulate, though for those who are curious, Lav Diaz was mentioned the most, followed by Antoinette Jadaone, Bing Lao, and Teddy Co. Our objective was to hear how the invited respondents defended their choices.

Happy reading!

Joseph Abello, filmmaker

“Jun Lana. The decade saw the division between ‘indie’ films and mainstream films. I wanted to mention two directors, one ‘indie’ director and one mainstream, but I realised there’s Jun Lana, who prospered in both sides of the filmmaking business. Creating/producing not just award-winning ‘indie’ (or non-mainstream) films but also blockbuster mainstream films. Plus he gives back to the industry by mentoring future filmmakers through his Cinepanulat workshop.”

Nestor Abrogena, filmmaker

“I have to name 3 persons for this one. They have to be the master screenplay writers / mentors Ricky Lee, Jun Lana, and Bing Lao. They have educated most of the known filmmakers of this decade.”

Mayk Alegre, reviewer

“Lav Diaz. Hindi pa rin ako naiinip at naiihi kahit napakahahaba ng mga pelikula n’ya na lagi’t laging angat ang biswal na kasiningan at kamulatang panlipunan. Hindi pa rin s’ya nakakasawang magkuwento. Kaabang-abang pa rin ang mga bago n’yang pinoproyekto tulad ng Servando Magdamag na una kong nabasa sa Trip To Quiapo book ni RIcky Lee na matagal na n’yang kinukulit na gawin nila.”

Joselito Altarejos, filmmaker

“John Tan at ang mga manggagawa ng Outpost. Kasama sila sa ebolusyon ng digital filmmaking. Mula hi-8 hanggang ngayon. Kaya nilang ibagsak ang presyo sa ngalan ng independent filmmaking. Kausapin mo lang, handa silang tumulong.”

Jonathan Ang, reviewer

“Lav Diaz — To me, Diaz emerges as the Filipino Film Person of the Decade for being fully committed and uncompromisingly competent as producer, writer, director, editor, and/or cinematographer for his films that are superb both quality- and quantity-wise.”

Rica Arevalo, filmmaker

“Women directors working in studios (Antoinette Jadaone, Irene Villamor, Cathy Garcia-Molina, etc.). They are bad-ass, strong women directors who gave us sensitive, unique and nurturing love stories.  They redefined romance with their distinctive storytelling, successfully working with popular actors.”

John Bedia, screenwriter

“Antoinette Jadaone broke the mold of the conventional romcom, made ‘hugot’ as a brand in films.”

Theodore Boborol, filmmaker

“Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina. Whether we like it or not, the romcom genre defined the 2010s in Philippine Cinema.  I believe the genre’s dominance started when she started churning out romcom box-office hits year after year, starting from the late aughts until the end of the last decade.  Whenever you watch her romcoms, you easily know it’s a Cathy Garcia film. One could say they have become trademarks and she has become a formidable brand, equal with or even more than her films’ stars.  She is a true romcom auteur.

The genre eventually produced other successful female filmmakers in the industry, the best ones we have today, like Antoinette Jadaone, Irene Villamor and Sigrid Bernardo, who began their careers in the 10s with their own brand of romcom. I believe though, that Direk Cathy paved the way, and is still on top of her game as evidenced by the critical and commercial success of her last romantic movie Hello Love Goodbye.”

Sonny Calvento, filmmaker

“Armando Lao. I believe that his school of filmmaking has developed some of the most important films of the decade (Halaw, Sampaguita, Bwaya, Ma’Rosa, Pamilya Ordinaryo and John Denver Trending). Armando Lao is underrated because he has always refused to take credit, but without him, these films wouldn’t be able to achieve the impact it had and these filmmakers wouldn’t be able to realize their voices.”

JP Carpio, filmmaker

“If I go by awards and recognition, it was Lav’s decade. Lav Diaz brought honor to the country by winning the two top prizes at Locarno and Venice as well as a smaller prize at Berlin. Those are the biggest recognitions for Philippine cinema on the international stage.”

Jade Castro, filmmaker

“‘The Millennials’. There was no single group – certainly not a single person – that made filmmakers’ bottoms twitch in their mad scramble to revise the way they make and distribute movies to win the largest, noisiest, but most elusive audience ever in the history of Philippine cinema. An entire studio arm was started with them in mind, microcinemas pinned their hopes on them, batches of new directors and projects got greenlit for festivals and streaming to stay hip to them, while all they had to do was sit and post on social media all day, confusing and challenging in equal doses. When we look back at the decade’s pop culture as reflected in movies, we remember the pick-up lines, the hugot soundtrack, the ‘grammable stills and poster design, and the stories that were somehow still the same except when they involved blogging and virality, and, for the better, current attitudes of wokeness. And yet the biggest moneymakers of the decade appear to be for boomers in disguise: a romance about inheriting a house albeit with baby faces, Anak v.2.0, and the output of Vice Ganda, an update of the flamboyance of Roderick Paulate fused with the fascist streak of Tito Sotto. For a generation that may or not even care about going to the movies anymore, the not-so-dead kids sure wielded a lot of power.”

Dustin Celestino, filmmaker

“There are many directors who should be acknowledged as ‘instrumental’ in defining the decade. The obvious ones for me are, of course, directors like Lav Diaz, Erik Matti, Brillante Mendoza, and Jun Lana. However, I would like to focus on some of the most underappreciated artists, the unsung heroes, of Philippine cinema: the screenwriters Bing Lao, Ricky Lee, Michiko Yamamoto, and Rodolfo Vera.

Personally, one of the most instrumental people in the last decade of cinema is Rodolfo Vera, who penned some of the best films of the decade Norte, Signal Rock, Goyo, and Die Beautiful.

But beyond his writing, Sir Rody also indiscriminately grooms and trains young writers in a workshop called ‘Writers Bloc,’ ensuring that the next decade of Philippine drama and cinema are in the hands of a generation of writers who are not only trained with keen narrative sensibilities, but are also indoctrinated with the ideology that the job of an artist, a cultural worker, transcends the creation of ‘entertaining art,’ and are meant to be agents of social transformation.”

Ara Chawdhury, filmmaker

“Teddy Co. For championing regional cinema.”

Carlo Antonio Cielo, reviewer

“Cinephiles Facebook group. This hive mind of film fest organizers, film academics, film practitioners, film students, middle class aficionados, selection committee members, and film influencers defined Philippine cinema of the 2010s. And Philippine criticism of the 2010s. For better or worse.

Actually worse. 

It is responsible for algorithmic, consumerist, narcissistic, consensus-driven, bourgeois libtard circlejerk ‘film appreciation’ that ruined film criticism and suffocated Philippine cinema for YEARS.  Especially the indies. 

It also helped create hugot, the single worst, most destructive thing that has ever happened to our movies for making it as one-note and pandering as possible to hit that ONE 4 to 4.5/5 rating by its burgis constituency (or a 5/5 kasi ‘ang sakit sakit’), dumbing it down and muzzling it to such a point that it is so unspectacular, so mediocre, so insular, so stuck up and so lame that it can’t be useful to anyone else. So much so, it couldn’t even win those fucking foreign art film awards (what Jadaone probably means when she speaks of ‘accessibility’ lol).

I have never seen anything more devastating to Philippine cinema than this hugot fucking bullshit. Hugot is so bad it ended up ruining other genres, and is often the impediment in attempts at making genre films. It ended up ruining history, too, if Heneral Luna and Goyo are any indication. It has put it in a box, and it’s been struggling to get out since. While national cinemas flourished across Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand), ours floundered, seeing how we’re stuck with movie after movie with the SAME lines, the SAME setup, the SAME myopia, the SAME mediocrity, and the SAME feelings – in the SAME genre that’s allergic towards ambition, actual thinking and plot.

FYI The reason why foreign audiences couldn’t see more of Maria and Nuuk‘s discourse is because they’re both wrestling with hugot, which is really only relevant TO FILIPINOS, seeing how hugot is tailor-made for the psychopathy of their semi-feudal, semi-colonial slave mind that keeps them stuck with ‘love’ so they can keep on making babies for plantations. Self-absorption is embedded in its DNA. Along with hubris. 

Thank you, Cinephiles, for killing Philippine cinema in 2010s. You make Letterboxd proud.”

Arden Rod Condez, filmmaker

“I’d still say it’s Bing Lao. He is always out of the limelight and he would rather work quietly but he hasn’t stopped learning and relearning cinema. Now, he has created his own filmmaking language independent of Western construct. If it were I, I’d give him credit for Brillante Mendoza’s Cannes Best Director award in 2009, Jaclyn Jose’s in 2016, and Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s in Venice in 2019.”

Joel David, academic

“Until a few days ago I kept going over the list of movers and shakers in local cinema during the past decade, then during the present millennium, then during the last few years of the past century. When I drafted an essay to accompany the Philippine film bibliography I posted on my blog, I was surprised to find a name I associated with all-time influence on Philippine cinema. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Nora Aunor remains as important today, though no longer as a box-office attraction, as she did when she started out. Nevertheless I still felt as humbled as I was fascinated: here was someone whom I felt I was upholding by making sure to acknowledge her superiority as film performer – when in fact I was the one (along with everyone else) she was bolstering, by ensuring that local film-book publication could begin and become sustainable through the decades. Her political significance is also as unstable and unresolved as her artistic importance is beyond dispute: this is the only way to read her exclusion from the Order of National Artists under two successive administrations that regard each other as mortal enemies. What compounds the situation is that the Marcos oligarchy, now seeking to recapture its glory days, would be most likely to acknowledge her excellence, if the clan members are (atypically) sincere about restoring Ferdinand Sr.’s best practices. This isn’t the only irony attending Aunor’s existence in our lives, nor will it be the last. She deserves to be the decade’s Film Person, if only to remind ourselves that upsetting conventions and defying cherished notions will always have its place in the Filipino artist’s endless striving for meaning.”

Dodo Dayao, filmmaker

“Ditsi Carolino, Babyruth Villarama, Monster Jimenez, Jaja Arumpac, Alyx Arumpac, Jewel Maranan, Hiyas Baldemor, Victor Tagaro, Dempster Samarista, Phy Grande, John Torres, Lester Valle, Carla Ocampo, Teng Mangansakan, Jet Leyco, among many many others. These are just some of the  documentarists who made a mark in the last ten years, possibly the most crucial mark made in domestic cinema. Documentaries have increasingly become part of the global cultural vocabulary but in countries like ours, they have also become a necessary language, for the way that they act as conduits into the zeitgeist, into supposed larger truths, but also for how they can be and are propellants for evolving the cinematic form.”

Archie del Mundo, filmmaker

“Bianca Balbuena. She produced great films and represented the Philippines well in international festivals.”

Epoy Deyto, filmmaker

“Jonell Estillore (founder, Cinema Bravo; founding member, Film Police Reviews). If the past decade was defined by the rise of social media, inevitably, Philippine Cinema has been affected by it too, and perhaps, should be look at in the same wavelength. Jonell Estillore has been quite a presence in the social media landscape in his coverage of cinema, mainly through his website and facebook page, Cinema Bravo. But as far as social media and cinema is concerned, Estillore is more than that. His earlier capsule reviews prior to his founding of Film Police, has affected cinema community: from his feedback on UP Film Institute’s Thesis defense to Jason Paul Laxamana, who we can remember noting online that he specifically targeted a 5-star review from Estillore, and has celebrated – albeit, online – when he did got one for Magkakabaung. We can’t say for sure that his effect is immense, but looking at the cybernetic feedback systems of social media, he sure harnessed it to full scale. We can think about how the flattening of aesthetics both in mainstream and indie scenes are lowkey facilitated by Estillore through his feedback, most especially, his championing of narrative craftsmanship, as reflected in his 2014 reviews. 

Paul Virilio once noted: ‘Advertising… is set in the twenty-first century to become pure communication.’ Estillore moving to public relations and publicity at the half of the last decade sure understood this well. He may not affect more as he is writing less if not no reviews lately. But what he did when he did, in the mid-2010s is enough to feel his aesthetics looming over almost every film that we may encounter moving forward. I think the time is ripe for a second look into his work but this time with a critical eye, crossing every other intersections with technology, populism and PR-driven global capitalism.”

Engelbert Dulay, reviewer

“Lav Diaz, for sure. He’s crafted most of the best Filipino films of the last decade and had been consistent in the thematic constructs of his ‘sine.’ The way he presents national awakening and moral understanding through his cinematic work, regardless of their lengths, speaks massively to how seasoned of a craftsman he is. He has a vision and he puts his vision into his work. And the messages he write and brainstorm have never failed, not even once.”

Matthew Escosia, reviewer

“Antoinette Jadaone played a significant role in shaping the resurgence of a more reflective cinema (what many would refer to as “hugot” films) in the Philippines through her That Thing Called Tadhana, which remains one of the more influential films of the last decade. Being able to seamlessly cross the bridge from independent to studio filmmaking, Jadaone is arguably the most successful Filipino filmmakers of the 2010s (financially, etc.) and could be in the ranks of the most successful female Filipino filmmakers of all time.”

Hannah Espia, filmmaker

“Bianca Balbuena  – for producing internationally acclaimed films to box office hits, bringing recognition to Filipino films around the world. For being the youngest awardee of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) FIAPF Award.

Antoinette Jadaone – for being instrumental in creating a wave of ‘hugot films’, inspiring and redefining pop culture through cinema.”

James Espinosa, reviewer

“I nominate Bianca Balbuena, who in the past decade has seemingly been on a mission to shed light on the nitty-gritty of producing a film (especially to those whose notion of “producer” is still associated with the financier or distributor). She has produced countless significant contributions to Philippine independent cinema, is a champion of regional films, works with both beginners and experts, and values the importance of discourse (i.e., she understands if you don’t like some of her films).”

Lee Fonte, reviewer

“Antoinette Jadaone – For reinvigorating the romcom, stimulating the local tourism industry, and paving the way for other directors to follow in her footsteps, for better or worse. An army of strong female characters who are unburdened with fugly wigs – that’s her legacy.”

Paul Grant, academic

“Teddy Co. Teddy’s work on regional cinema and the organization and promotion of Cinema Rehiyon has inspired a new generation of Filipino filmmakers to create films in their own languages and dialects as well as organize film festivals dedicated to their local cinemas. To my mind this is the most important intervention in Philippine cinema of the 2010s, if not the 2000s more generally.”

Chuck Gutierrez, filmmaker

“I believe there is no single personality that defined Filipino cinema during the last decade. The output is a mixture of all tastes and schools of filmmaking. It’s very diverse and, dare I say, dynamic. This makes our local cinema unique compared to others. We should just embrace this idea and strengthen our craftsmanship in the next decade.”

Emil Hofilena, reviewer

“Jerrold Tarog isn’t the film person of the decade just because he directed six films (and a handful of shorts) over the last 10 years. He has remained committed to his independent style of filmmaking—successfully experimenting with a slew of genres, and approaching every project as a music composer rather than as a studio executive. Even his bigger financial hits (Heneral Luna, Goyo) actively work against the kind of tropes that other filmmakers continue to indulge in. Be it a coming-of-age film (Senior Year), a psychological thriller (Bliss), or a romantic comedy (Sana Dati), a Jerrold Tarog film will always display a commitment to craft and an honest interest in exploring the human condition.”

Kayo Jolongbayan, reviewer

“I could name at least three people who are deserving of this title, but my ultimate choice would be Antoinette Jadaone for reinventing the romantic genre not once but twice this decade with That Thing Called Tadhana and Never Not Love You. In Tadhana, she gave the Pinoy romcoms a fresh take through the film’s dialogue-driven screenplay, which made the characters more human and relatable to the audience. Years after that, Jadaone then introduced a more adult romance in Never Not Love You, which argued that romance is a reality and not a fantasy, and that love doesn’t have a happy ending all the time. Special mention to the late great Eddie Garcia, who continued to work hard in both independent and mainstream productions for years until the end of his life.”

Ralston Jover, filmmaker

“Armando ‘Bing’ Lao, the unsung hero & auteur behind the ‘real time’ film movement, that eventually became  the ‘Found Story’ films of Brillante Mendoza and other filmmakers (me included) who were once, and some are still, workshoppers of Bing.  Although most of the output films attracted arthouse film festivals abroad, they equally challenged conventional/Hollywood storytelling, that catered new perspectives for the discriminating local cineaste hungry for a fresher film approach.”

Skilty Labastilla, academic

“In terms of influencing the aesthetic of Filipino film in the 2010s, I can think of a couple of names, but from the audience’s perspective it’s hard to deny the power of Vice Ganda in driving moviegoers to theaters beginning 2010 (with the Petrang Kabayo remake) until 2019 (with The Mall, the Merrier). Working with the late Wenn Deramas in the first half of the decade and with Joyce Bernal after Deramas’ untimely demise in 2016, Vice starred in hit after hit every year of the decade and eventually headlined 6 of the 10 highest-grossing Filipino films of all time. The fact that some of these blockbusters feature problematic content (e.g., LGBTQ and unattractive characters are often made laughingstocks) reveals a lot about who we are as a society even in the decade where “wokeness” and call-out culture has been magnified in social media. It’ll be interesting to see how Vice’s movies will evolve in the new century.”

Wowie Lagman, reviewer

I am actually really torn between two renowned directors for this category simply because they both have a line of work that has defined this decade and the one that came before.

One has a prolific line of work that is not afraid of going beyond conventions to tell a story. He knows the stories he wants to tell and does it in a way that’s not restricted by time limitations or any method. The stories he want to tell are intricate and he doesn’t hold back in ensuring they get the message across.

The other has created classics that filmmakers that came after can take inspiration from. Her films are among those referenced by other directors and actors.

Over the last decade, Laurice Guillen’s influence transcended filmmaking and helped pave the way for directors with interesting stories and those with unique voices to be more accessible to the audience through her extensive work in Cinemalaya.

The film festival has been a vital force in blurring the lines between mainstream and independent films so that more filmmakers are given opportunities and, at the same time, moviegoers are exposed (and appreciate) to more movies that entertain and provoke the minds.

My film person of the decade is Laurice Guillen.”

Moira Lang, screenwriter/producer

“Rodolfo Vera, (co-)screenwriter of Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, Badil, Signal Rock, Die Beautiful, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, and the underrated and underseen Juana C. The Movie. (Full disclosure: I produced Norte and Juana.) The 2010s were a cinematic springtime for Mr. Vera, a long-time giant in the theater scene. His output is proof that the personal is political,  tragedy is comedy, and you don’t have to pen romcoms to make a living out of screenwriting.

Nicol Latayan, reviewer

“Lav Diaz. For the way he maximized the medium of cinema as a vessel of narrating important and worthy stories. And in the process, challenging the convention of Filipino movie-watching experience with his films. Bonus points for that coveted Golden Lion Venice win in 2016.”

Noy Lauzon, film programmer

Kidlat Tahimik for his elevation to the country’s order of National Artists and finally releasing his groundbreaking feature that took decades in the making.

Jaclyn Jose for simply winning at Cannes and accomplishing the feat that no other screen actor in the country may be able to duplicate.

Jon Lazam, filmmaker

“Ricky Lee. Through his workshops, he took under his wing some of our most promising screenwriters, shepherding their work into the world, a good number ending up in these lists.”

Richard Soriano Legaspi, filmmaker

“Lav Diaz. Aside from being labelled as the ‘the ideological father of the New Philippine Cinema’ by the Venice Film Festival, ang mga pelikula ni Lav ay tumatagos sa kaluluwa, nagdurugtong sa kasalukuyan at nakaraan. Binibigyan tayo ng pagkakataong hanapin ang ating mga sariling halimaw, kahinaan at kabutihan. Mga obrang yumayakap sa oras at panahon.”

Miko Livelo, filmmaker

“JOEL FERRER – kasi mula 2010 hanggang 2019, nakikisabay lang ako sa kotse niya papunta sa mga screenings at festival. Bilang lang sa sa daliri ko kung ilang beses ako nag ambag pang gas. Tapos tuwing may mga film people gathering at pagod nako makipag usap, si Joel hinaharap ko sa kanila tapos tatakas nako para umuwi

Hindi kami close ah, kahapon ko nga lang nakilala yan.

Nominate ko na din si JET LEYCO. Sa kanya ako natuto mag French exit sa mga parties.”

Macky Macarayan, academic

“The film person of the decade should be none other than Professor Nick Deocampo for a lot of reasons. To begin with, he tirelessly works for the preservation of our cinematic heritage through his writings on the history of Philippine Cinema, coupled with his seminars and lectures on various film topics, such as queer cinema, alternative filmmaking, and political economy of Philippine cinema. 

In the previous decade alone, he was able to publish Film: American Influences on Philippine Cinema (2011) and Eiga: Cinema in the Philippines during World War II (2016), the second and third volumes of his five-volume history of Philippine Cinema. Early Cinema in Asia (2017), which he edited, also came out during said period. 

At present, he is the Faculty Coordinator for Academic Programs and Research for the University of the Philippines Film Institute, helping shape future filmmakers, film historians and academics. 

Prof. Deocampo also released the film Cine Tala (2018) to mark the Centennial Year Celebration of Philippine Cinema. In it, the late Tony Mabesa played an alter-ego of Deocampo, as a film historian watching over the bygone years of Philippine cinema. 

A professor, filmmaker, film historian and an uncompromising artist, Deocampo helped preserve our cinematic history through his work. The idea is that there would be more like him, pursuing film history and historiography, but there is simply the one and irreplaceable Nick Deocampo.”

Teng Mangansakan, filmmaker

“Lav Diaz for putting Philippine cinema in the world map not only because of the social context of his films (that has already been brought to international attention by Lino Brocka and further by Brillante Mendoza) but by articulating a cinematic language that reflects his deeply personal cinematic temperament rooted in the specific understanding of the spatio-temporal nature of the world he navigates.”

Stephanie Mayo, reviewer

“Antoinette Jadaone. Her That Thing Called Tadhana is that one seminal film of the decade. She strongly influenced later films of the genre, bringing indie cinema to mainstream tastes. She also pioneered the dialogue-heavy rom-coms à la Before Sunrise in the country.”

Adrian Mendizabal, reviewer

“Lav Diaz for being Lav Diaz himself.”

Pam Miras, filmmaker

“The Pinoy Cinephile. Our industry thrives because of them. Watching and supporting something like 9 film festivals year round plus other releases & special screenings, writing and discussing these films is truly laudable.”

Bor Ocampo, filmmaker

“Jerrold Tarog was instrumental in defining the decade of Philippine cinema with his film Heneral Luna. The success of his film was like a force to reckon with, as it transcended the Filipino audience’s expectations during the last decade. He is among the few distinct filmmakers who considerably revitalized the stale state of the movie industry. The film has helped reawaken our sense of patriotism and dormant desire to change ourselves as a nation. It has echoed and reminded us of the noble qualities of a genuine Filipino hero.”

Carla Pulido Ocampo, filmmaker

“I think I can’t pinpoint any one person, pero siguro mas itutuon ko ang pagpupugay ko sa isang unit: The People Behind QCinema. QCinema was a game-changer. Malaking bagay sa aming mga pasibol na filmmakers ang pagtiyak na 100% ng copyright ng mga pelikulang aming ilalabas sa ilalim nila — ay sa amin: walang kahati, walang kondisyon. Hindi rin sila nangingialam sa casting, ni hindi rin sa kalakhan ng creative decisions. May limitasyon nga lamang sa TRT (total running time) ng mga pelikula, pero ito rin ang nagtutulak sa mga editors at mga direktor na maging mas maparaan pa sa kung paano ikukwento ang kanilang punto sa mas maiksing oras.”

Kip Oebanda, filmmaker

“Moira Lang. As the producer of Zombadings and Patay na si Hesus, she was a trailblazer in crafting independent films that crossed over into mainstream and box-office success. And as a producer of Norte, she helped bring Lav Diaz to the local audience. She also wrote Smaller and Smaller Circles. She faced so many personal struggles in her desire to reform the industry. A true fighter and a brave and consummate artist.”

Carl Papa, filmmaker

“Ricky Orellana for championing Filipino animation.”

Jim Paranal, reviewer

“Hindi maikakaila na si Vice Ganda ang namayagpag sa pelikulang Pilipino sa nagdaang dekada 2010. Sino ang mag-aakalang isang bakla ang magiging box-office darling sa nagdaang dekada? Siya lang naman ang bida sa mga pelikula niya kung saan nabigyang pagkakataon ang bakla para magkaroon ng puwang hindi lang sa napapanood natin pati na din sa lipunang ating ginagalawan. Dati-rati ang mga bakla ay confidante o supporting o di kaya ay negatibo ang pagganap sa pelikula.

Lahat ng pelikula ni Vice Ganda ay tinangkilik ng masa. Patunay na isa siyang bankable actor. Sa kabila nito, critical failure o flop ang kanyang mga pelikula. Umaani ng batikos mula sa kritiko ang tema at offensive jokes sa kanyang mga pelikula. Napapansing parang extension ng kanyang noontime show o kanyang karanasan sa comedy bar ang kanyang pagpapatawa. Sa comedy, maituturing na pinaghalong sarcastic at slapstick comedy ang kanyang linya. Maimpluwensiya din si Vice dahil malakas ang impact niya sa ating lipunan pati sa mga kabataang manonood.

Tunay ngang binago ni Vice ang tingin natin hindi lamang ang telebisyon pati sa pelikulang Pilipino. Binago ni Vice Ganda ang ating viewing experience.”

Jombits Quintos, academic

“Arnel Mardoquio for writing, producing, and directing compelling and relevant films such as Sheika (2010), Crossfire (2011), Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim (2012), Riddles of My Homecoming (2013), Tu Pug Imatuy (2017, writer), and Alma-ata (2019). His craftsmanship and nuanced articulations of Mindanao’s lifeworlds, social geography, and decades-old conflicts are highly absorbing and convincing. His films exhibit masterful use of the resources of cinema, rigorous ethnographic engagements, and discursive theoretical underpinnings that are particular and have organically sprung from the Philippine and Mindanawon postcolonial conditions and realities. Mardoquio is also one of the key figures in the Mindanawon New Wave Independent Cinema Movement that possibly started in the 2000s.”

Lilit Reyes, filmmaker

“Lav Diaz.  He has an uncompromisingly consistent and solid stand on a most confusing era in  Philippine politics and society. Churning out masterpieces like a lone voice and guiding light in the dark wilderness, but he will be heard years from now as a prophetic voice of wisdom, warning and lament. Lav made his messages clearer with his latest creations, and continued to triumph in foreign lands, lauded for his substance and style. His films of the 2010’s mark an unflinching courage in our time when bravery is tested, as our tumultuous #NeverAgain past repeats itself in the present, like a stubborn citizenry that never learned from its fights and failures, and as new predators rule still behaving that they are above the law. His films will be our most relevant snapshots of a country moving five steps back to a darker path, and significantly, as historic pieces for future generations to come.”

Ronald Rios, archivist

“From the mockumentary SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION FROM LILIA CUNTAPAY, Antoinette Jadaone revitalized the rom-com genre via the groundbreaking THAT THING CALLED TADHANA.She maintained her audience via LOVE YOU TO THE STARS AND BACK, NEVER NOT LOVE YOU and ALONE/TOGETHER. Prior to those films, she also wrote excellent teleseryes on the small screen.”

Bernard Santos, reviewer

“Lav Diaz – for his artistic contribution and recognition in prestigious international film festivals like Cannes, Venice, & Berlin Film Festival.”

Rod Singh, filmmaker

“Antoinette Jadaone. For breaking the line between indie and mainstream and for the strong politics of her films which cater to a wide range of audience. Truly, a filmmaker for everyone.”

Nazamel Tabares, reviewer

“Baby Ruth Villarama. The director of the first documentary film to be an official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival. That’s a huge deal. There’s just so much to celebrate in that edition of the MMFF and Sunday Beauty Queen’s win felt like a win for Philippine cinema.”

Robby Tantingco, screenwriter

“Jason Paul Laxamana represents all the young filmmakers who start with arthouse films, then realize they must make mainstream movies too not only because they can do it, but also because they want to experience the pleasure of seeing their films appreciated by the crowds and not just the critics.  And after their commercial success they realize their heart is really with arthouse films. I think all filmmakers must try both paths but must always follow their heart in the end.”

John Tawasil, reviewer

“My person of the decade when it comes to film is not one single person, actually, but more of an idea of a person:

The Filipino moviegoer entered the 2010s on the tail end of some pretty big films. They had heard of this ‘indie’ movement and was curious what it was all about. They’d seen some films on VCD or DVD or occasionally in cinemas, small breaks amid scores of more common Hollywood fare. They started to see films that were sophisticated, beyond formula, outside the box, even though deep down they still craved for familiarity.

The Filipino moviegoer’s tastes started to diversify during the 2010s. They started to see more stories that weren’t theirs, from places other than Metro Manila, from social classes other than the ultra rich and the very poor, from sexual and gender identities outside the traditional dichotomy. 

The Filipino moviegoer began to discover films that deviated from the norm. They started to see films that went beyond the normal 2-hour mark; some took it as a challenge, while some avoided it. The idea of watching an eight-hour movie would probably have been unheard of in the 2000s, but here they were in the 2010s, lining up and selling out screenings of just such a film. They started seeing films without linearity, without plot, seemingly without coherence.

The Filipino moviegoer started seeing the film festival as something different than just an event to go to with relatives during holidays, and these festivals started sprouting like mushrooms. Audiences started to build for film festivals that would previously only have had handfuls of people attending. Screenings started to get sold out. Even institutions like the MMFF got short-lived iterations that strayed from the norm, and it was good, if only for a short time.

The Filipino moviegoer still kept on spending their money on movies as a way to escape, or as a means to be scared, or as a means to laugh, or as a means to cry or feel sentimental about loving or having loved, or as a means to feel patriotic. They used the memetic capital of movies to create culture and express themselves in new and imaginative ways. They learned the power of truth and propaganda, and the difference between merely watching versus reading a film. They began to make their own films about films, either to pay tribute or to parody.

The Filipino moviegoer used the tools of social media to express their opinions on film in ways that they couldn’t have done in the past decade: through videos or long winded posts or rants, poorly written or elegantly constructed, well thought out or rashly considered. 

The Filipino moviegoer discovered new personalities to latch on to, new filmmakers to watch out for, new celebrities to admire, all within and beyond the confines of chismis culture. 

The Filipino moviegoer started watching movies in venues other than the cinema, from VCDs to DVDs to streaming services, from TVs to Laptops to cellphones, wherever and whenever they wanted. 

The Filipino moviegoer exited the 2010s having borne witness to a shift in the medium of cinema, perhaps more aware of the ability of the medium to change minds or to speak truth to power. Perhaps some will have found a newfound appreciation of the cinema of the decade that was, eager for the decade to come.”

Mauro Feria Tumbocon, programmer

“Men and women behind SAGIP PELIKULA/ABS CBN FILM ARCHIVES. For their painstaking work in archiving, preservation and restoration of Filipino films, they are finding new audience for our films, their work which would have been the government’s responsibility.”

Tito Valiente, critic

“The Film Person of the Decade are the Persons behind the Cinema Rehiyon. These are the Filmmakers and Festival Directors from the regions, which for 12 years now, continue to define what is regional cinema, contesting the distorted notion dominant for many decades about the Tagalog cinema as national cinema, struggling against Manila-based and Manila-oriented critics, film scholars and film curators in setting the standard and rubrics for films that portray the Filipinos at the peripheries, providing not an alternative but different and altered perspectives heretofore ignored and/or unknown by those living in the comfort of the False Center. The 12th edition that will take place in Naga City in February will once more be the site of contestations and even conflicts among the regional filmmakers and the curators but these confrontations reflect the correct way of appraising regional cinema – it is a continuing pursuit and not a rigid academic search for an assumed national identity just for the sake of having one and accepting the illusion of a non-existent nation and with it, national art.”

Victor Villanueva, filmmaker

“Teddy Co. He has always been on the lookout for regional films, and one of the exciting film festivals in the PH, Cinema Rehiyon, that celebrated films outside Metro Manila, grew over the decade with his guidance and passionate championing of regional filmmakers.”

Jerome Zamora, screenwriter

“Edward Cabagnot. For being a staunch supporter of Philippine independent cinema for the last decades. And for his unwavering commitment in the film criticism and evaluation of local film festivals in the country(especially MMFF) in terms of quality and artistic excellence.”

“Juan Alamat”, filmmaker

“Liza Diño-Seguerra. For me, she’s been doing great as FDCP chairperson. Marami siyang mga projects na sinusubukan para sa film industry, yung iba nagwo-work, and yung iba kahit hindi nagwo-work, binabawi naman agad. The point is, kahit na hindi siya perfect eh willing siyang makinig and lumaban for the industry.”

2 thoughts on “Filipino Film Person of the Decade

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