Philippine cinema growing online

Published August 4, 2020, 7:54 PM

by Seven Bueno

‘Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon’ and more Filipino films streaming soon

LOVE [IN] PH CINEMA A scene from Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon

Over the past few years, Hollywood movies and the dramas of East Asia have dominated television sets and mobile streaming apps of Filipino Millennials and Gen-Zers. These days, however, more and more of Philippine cinema has been making its way up the charts of international streaming services like Netflix, with an audience that has been growing both here and abroad!

The streaming service has a good number of Filipino-produced films like Heneral LunaGoyo: Ang Batang HeneralPamilyang OrdinaryoThrough Night and Day, and the first Netflix Original Filipino film Dead Kids, which started streaming in December 2019.

Recently, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle found out that Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon, the sequel to the 2015 hit indie film Ang Kwento Natin Dalawa, will be available for streaming soon.

UPS AND DOWNS Isa finds new love in Frank

Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon (2019) is a story about ex lovers that turned into friends five years after they broke up, and how they dealt with the pain of being in love with someone else they could never be with. In the film, Nicco Manalo acts as Sam, Emmanuelle Vera plays Isa, Anna Luna as Anna, and Alex Vincent Medina as Frank.

It isn’t easy for indie filmmakers though to make it big in the industry, especially with the still ongoing pandemic. We recently got an inside look into the struggles faced by Filipinos in this field, through an interview with Nestor Abrogena Jr., director of Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon, who has also seen the ups and downs, and has been familiar with the ins and outs of Philippine cinema as an educator, producer, and production designer.

There are many challenges in the Filipino indie film industry, from funding to gaining an audience. Direk Nestor says that “[the need] to be seen by a wider audience and always having to compete with international films” remain to be the biggest challenges for Filipino cinema. Major studios have the machinery to compete, while independent filmmakers struggle with getting a fair share of the audience. So they exhaust all possible alternatives of distribution in order to be commercially viable and, at the very least, to get a return on investment.

NO REGRETS Director Nestor Abrogena Jr.

The current pandemic has also taken its toll on the global arts and entertainment industry, making filmmakers rethink business models as traditional avenues to screen have been put to a halt. Direk Nestor believes that this has greatly affected both the commercial and independent industries, leaving filmmakers no choice but to consider online streaming sites.

Netflix, on the other hand, is a huge help to Filipino filmmakers because, in the most practical sense, it can target international entertainment market shares. “Filipino filmmakers are given a huge platform to prove they can offer a diverse range of stories that can be appreciated by the global audience,” says Direk Nestor.

“Our purpose as artists is to tell stories that resonate with our times and are true to our being, and we must do this fully conscious of the need not only to entertain but also to inform the audience of the different aspects of human existence and experience,” Direk Nestor says, reminding aspiring filmmakers and storytellers of the crucial role the arts play, especially during times like these. 

His film Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon, through TBA Studios will be on Netflix very soon.

Oh and by the way, that’s not all! Nestor Abrogena says that he’s got a couple of stories coming soon to be produced and developed with foreign support once the world gets control over this virus.