To mark the celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between France, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée or National Centre for Cinematography (CNC) of France renewed the cooperation agreement between the two agencies last May 18, 2022 at the Philippine-Singapore Pavilion during the 75th Cannes Film Festival and Marché du Film.
The two national film agencies locked in on a commitment to pursue mutual participation in creating stronger film policies, exchange of education and training development, and other aspects of filmmaking from co-production, exhibition efforts, and best practices in heritage preservation.
Both parties were represented by their heads, Olivier Henrard, CNC COO representing CNC President Dominique Boutonnat, and Mary Liza Diño, FDCP Chairperson and CEO. Representatives from the FDCP and CNC, invited international filmmakers and stakeholders, and several film professionals witnessed the momentous signing.
In a short message during the signing event, Diño mentioned, “With all these aspirations to understand the structure, the system, how we can improve, and how we can elevate the industry to become more globally competitive, the updating of the agreement, that will include cooperation in animation and strengthening our archiving partnerships, will be really instrumental to us as we support more projects. Thank you so much to the CNC Team for seeing the value of this partnership. I hope that in return, the warmth and the welcoming arms of the Philippines can also lead you to our country so we can discover more collaborations together.”
“I’m sure that this Signing of the CNC-FDCP Agreement will be one of the peaks of the festival. We are full of optimism; we are full of energy to launch a new move in the industry in Europe and with our partnerships with the Philippines,” Henrard shared during his thanksgiving speech.
First signed in 2014 by the previous heads of their respective agencies, the Cooperation Agreement between CNC and FDCP led to both agencies supporting each other in sharing cultural promotion and were able to accomplish industry milestones together through the help of the French Embassy in the Philippines in the last eight years. The renewal of the agreement was named as a priority during the online 9th Philippines-France Joint Economic Commission (JEC) Meeting last July 2, 2021 and was discussed further last July during the Cannes Film Festival in 2021.
Both countries accomplished a number of milestones and achievements through this agreement. On the Philippine side, the FDCP was able to make significant breakthroughs in industry strategies in areas of film policies and archiving including exposure to the methods and systems of the CNC Film Archive in 2017, which inspired the expansion of the Philippine Film Archive. That same year, the Philippines sent its first delegation to the Marché du Film International D’Animation (MIFA) at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which led to the most significant participation of the country yet, with 53 delegates in 2021.
In 2018, CNC sent producer and former Film France COO Franck Priot during the FDCP’s International Film Conference to host a Policy Forum on Government Support on Film Productions to present Filipino stakeholders the French levy fund, which provides self-sustainable funding for the film and audiovisual industry through ticket admission and tax revenue coming from the television industry.
In 2019, Animation du Monde in Manila by the Annecy International Animation Film Festival was brought to the Philippines to help Filipino and Southeast Asian animators be equipped not only with the right tools and knowledge but also be provided with opportunities for funding and co-production of animated film projects. FDCP also partnered with Tatino Films, a French-based company, for the fruition of the Philippine version of their international film lab, Full Circle Lab. It aimed to be a global project and talent lab for Southeast Asian filmmakers and help build the Philippines as a creative hub in the region. Full Circle Lab Philippines successfully held its 4th edition last March 2022 in Cebu, Philippines.
In support of French Cinema, the FDCP has partnered with the French Embassy for the annual French Film Festival in the country as an avenue to promote contemporary forms of cinema from France and in the Philippines.
The FDCP has also supported the annual Cannes Film Festival and Marché Du Film since 2017 through consistently showcasing a delegation to participate in the market and was able to provide travel grants and assistance to selected Filipino films at Cannes. FDCP has also annually participated in the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (MIFA) and supported Filipino animation filmmakers to showcase their projects and films in the festival and its market.
Through UniFrance, the institution tasked with promoting French Cinema to the world, the FDCP also acquired distribution rights for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival winner, Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Petit Maman by Céline Sciamma.
The number of co-produced projects France and the Philippines also rose in the past 2 years. Among these are Lav Diaz’ When The Waves Are Gone, Thomas Digard’s Bionic Max, Avid Liongoren’s Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah vs. The Amazonistas, Carlo Manatad’s Whether The Weather is Fine, and Simon Jaquemet’s Electric Child, which were all granted funding from FDCP’s Incentives Programs.
Furthermore, the new cooperation agreement will pave the way for the conclusion of a co-production treaty between France and the Philippines. This awaited progress will lead to more meaningful collaborations and opportunities for respective local filmmakers.
The CNC-FDCP cooperation agreement signing is one of the highlights of the Philippine participation at the Cannes Film Festiva and Marche du Film this year. Aside from this, an impressive line-up of Filipino films, talents, and production companies are set to take Philippine Cinema to the global cinema stage.