Two movie industries


When the famous Hollywood director, Quentin Tarantino came over to the Philippines in 2007, it was a dream come true, he said so in interviews. He was here for more than a week in August, six years ago, attending the Cinemalaya Film Festival and the Tarantino Film Festival, both held at the Gateway Cinema in Quezon City. Cinemalaya means free cinema and its festival is held annually to celebrate and honor the makers and actors behind low-budget, independent film ventures in the country.


Image of director Tarantino at the Golden Globe Awards

Multi-awarded director Quentin Tarantino directed the films, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill/

The Tarantino Festival, on the other hand, was organized in honor of the celebrated director, featuring movies Tarantino wrote and/or directed, screening of international, multi-awarded films and a week-long workshop in screenplay, cinematography and technical aspects of film-making. Gateway is a high-end mall with a movie house in Quezon City. The cinema was newly-opened that time, making it the best venue for a relatively high profile, colorful event.


Gateway was therefore flooded with local directors, movie actors, writers and film enthusiasts from all over the country for a week. During the event, Tarantino said that he has high admiration for Filipino directors, notably those who made films in the 50s and 60s. The period is known as the golden era of the Philippine movie industry, by the way. It is said that ours made headway first, long before India’s Bollywood, ahaha… 🙂


Image of director Quentin Tarantino with his admired directors

Direk Tarantino with some of his admired Filipino directors during the film festival – Derek Romero, Derek Santiago and Derek Aguiluz/


Director Tarantino told stories, him working in a video shop before entering Hollywood and spending considerable amount of time watching the films of respected Filipino directors Eddie Romero, Gerry de Leon, Pablo Suarez and  Cirio Santiago… Directors Eddie Romero and Cirio Santiago were present in the festival. The former was a handsome actor and director in the old days but during the festival, one cannot help but notice, the director has considerably aged. The latter was a staunch businessman, known for his B-movies for international release, ahaha. Director Quentin proudly admitted that Death Proof  was a rip-off of Santiago’s early film, The Muthers.


What I remember about the Tarantino films are, the blood and gore, the unapologetic sex scenes and, the way the movie creator brings on screen the minds of the crime perpetrators. The comfort room or the “commode,” as it is usually called in the Tarantino movies, is usually highlighted in his films. Often, there are bodies lying around – violated, mutilated and bloodied in the most horrible manner imaginable. And Director Quentin’s films, are usually about how things got that messy.



Or, how cold, calculating and “objective” the murderer was. Tarantino films often imply that we have the murderer in us… Thus, when I saw the famed director at Gateway, I was amazed at how relaxed and open he appeared and sounded. And, he is bigger (physically) than I thought… 🙂 He narrated stories about the Filipino films he has seen, the length he went through to get copies, haha, and he was lovable with his knowledge of Filipino actors and actresses – old and new, the famous and the obscure. He did and do watch our movies, interestingly…


Director Tarantino said that he thinks, there are two movie industries in the Philippines: the mainstream and the indie. The mainstream generally makes lighter-themed, big budgeted, starred in by known actors, tackles safe issues and makes more money. The indie, on the other hand, tackles high- risk themes, are low-budgeted, starred in by actors with less or no projects  but, dares into less-traveled spheres of the film genre, even as the creators hardly make any money, ahaha.

According to the Hollywood director, it is Filipino indie films that offer quality and get awards in the international and regional film festivals. For him, the Filipino indie films have the potential in the international market, but why don’t the Filipino movie-going public patronize them? It was raised in the open forum:  The commercial aspect of film making in the Philippines usually get the upper hand, as the movie-going public is more inclined to pay for and watch films that offer escape and entertainment. The issue was tackled, but in the end, Derek Tarantino was still puzzled and asking, ahaha.


Image of known director, Gil Portes

Derek Gil Portes has written and directed many films, both mainstream and indie/

There were so many known personalities in the week-long activity. There, I saw Dereks Tikoy Aguiluz, Wenn Deramas, Manny Valera, Gil Portes, Adolf Alix, Jr and the former vocalist of the famous band, Eraserhead’s Ely Buendia (with his wife), ahaha. In one of the movie screenings, the third of the Julie Delpy series, I sat next to Derek Gil Portes, hoho… The director looked and sounded bored, ahaha. After the movie, we had a light talk, asked me if I enjoyed the film. I said, yes, somehow… I mean, the third isn’t as good as the first two (Before Sunset, Before Sunrise), but pleasant enough. He gave me a look that seemed to say, I had much to learn as a film viewer, haha.


But Derek Gil Portes was nice and courteous, nicer than what one would ordinarily expect from a director who has made movies that earned awards and accolades, here and abroad. Well, am blabbering… All am saying, the recent weekend was a long one for us (Friday was holiday, to celebrate the end of Ramadan) and for the first time in four months, I got the chance to visit some blogs and watch a couple of indie films at Cinema One via the local cable. ‘Twas  uneventful, rainy and the storm sure provided us more than the usual darkness and unremitting amount of rain, hehehe … 😉



* Small Voices is a film directed by Gil Portes, about a teacher assigned in a remote barrio. 


16 comments on “Two movie industries

  1. nadia says:

    Looks like someone had a really good time 🙂

    By the way, the period from the late 1940s to 1960s is regarded by film historians as the “Golden Age” of Hindi cinema. So perhaps both India and Philippines film industries flourished together, but in their own ways.

    “…the movie-going public is more inclined to pay for and watch films that offer escape and entertainment.” I agree to that! I’d pay for a light-hearted comedy or a romantic movie (preferably with a happy ending) so that I’d leave the cinema with a smile on my face, as opposed to coming out more stressed after seeing so much blood and trauma, haha.

    • hello, Nadia! miss you, dear… was able to see several indie films over the weekend, something i haven’t done in a while… you mean at the festival way back? ah, it was star-studded, i usually brought a sibling or a niece. my niece dragged me along to stalk Ely Buendia, haha, when I used to see him a lot at UP campus, hahaha.

      true, Hindi and Filipino film making must have flourished separately. actually, as far as I know, Bollywood is more known worldwide than the Philippine cinema. it was only after hearing Tarantino and the old directors that I got an idea, more or less, that one time, a long time ago, Philippine cinema blossomed, hahaha.

      ahaha, now, you remind me of films like American Beauty and Saving Private Ryan. after seeing those movies, I said to my siblings, “I do not like such films.” i mean, they’re the kind that are full of hurts and pains from beginning to finish, ahaha. while they show human nature up close, i’d like a movie where the characters at least show potential for change, not in the gutter through and through, you know? but then, i also do not like films that’s pure escape, where all that’s happening is good from start to the end. i guess that’s the escape and entertainment kind that Director Tarantino was talking about. 🙂

      hope you’re doing well. ingat… 🙂

  2. munchow says:

    I love indie films, but like in Indonesia the film industry in most countries are run by commercial interests, which leaves something to desire when it comes to quality. Tarantino is hardly an indie film-maker, but he is definitely a director who don’t compromise on quality. Yes, gore and blood and violence, but there is no denying he is one of the great masters.

    • hello, sir Otto… from reading other blogs, I take it that most countries have that problem – that their movie industry is run by commercial interests and quality is often compromised… well, Director Tarantino said then that for the last decade, he was the only writer and director in Hollywood that is given leeway by producers to do whatever he likes with the film (no limit on budget and logistics) as he has already earned their trust, that he’ll give it his best and it would turn out with quality and yet profitable, ahaha.

      i guess, what he was saying was, if the film writers and creators believe in the artistry and wonders of what they are doing, then profitability and popular acceptance of their creations would more or less, follow… i don’t know, but I guess that’s what he’s trying to drive at. he’s saying, keep at it… 😉

      yes, sir, he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, a master indeed, come to town… just our luck that he came over and stayed a while. 🙂

  3. sorrygnat says:

    Hi Ducky, good to see you on these pages; my heart always lights up. Tremendous opportunity and time for you! Hooray, and yes, films and directors of your home. Wonderful review; i’m and Indie fan completely; stay wonderful, hugs

    • hello, sorrygnat… glad to know your heart is light as we speak. ahaha, i had a good time watching a couple of indies myself, true. it’s aways raining here nowadays… hope you are having fun with your writing. thanks as usual for the warm and kind thoughts. hugs back… 😉

  4. J.A. Vas says:

    hello hello! great to hear from you again! 🙂

    I will watch the movie. maybe it’s worth a screen in the small cinema I’m running with friends. 😉 and perhaps I’m going to have another interesting source of movies besides Africa. hopefully some library here has DVDs.

    I wish you all the best,

    • hello, J.A…. real good to see ya. 😉 you’ve been posting again and wonderful ones at that, am glad…

      a, yes, do watch Pinoy movies. we’ve some really good ones, indie mostly, hahaha. thanks for the visits and the well-wishes. warm regards… 🙂

  5. Nothing like rain to inspire a bit of movie watching. Tarantino’s visit must have created quite a buzz…I’m not a huge fan of his violence. Having said that, I did enjoy Kill Bill, and probably my favourite of his is Inglorious Bastards. And I love the way he uses music in his movies.

    Will try to come back and watch that movie you’ve posted, one rainy day 😉

    • Hello, dear… true, it’s been raining cats and dogs over here for sometime now. drab and dreary, ahaha. but am the kind that enjoys the look of the wet, brown soil, get enamored easily by small plants sprouting and yes, have seen a good number of movies for the month of August, hoho. true, Tarantino films are always interesting and the music is usually ominous, hahaha.

      Please do. it’s rather interesting and will give you some ideas about our landscape and people. hope you are well… 🙂

  6. I remember reading this post a while back and really enjoying it. I love Quentin Tarantino, also. HIs actual movies are a little too violent for me, but they are brilliant. And the man himself is such a funny, down-to-earth GENIUS! He’s one of a kind 🙂

  7. ladyfi says:

    Nice write-up. You so accurately describe what Tarantino films are all about.

  8. Explicit post,l like action and thrill movies,Indie movies are fun to watch.Thank you for stopping by.Best wishes.jalal

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