The first Philippine Film Industry Month

The country celebrates the first Philippine Film Industry Month throughout September, starting with a gala on Sept. 12.

What is the significance of September 12 in the history of Philippine movies?

According to records, that was the day Philippine cinema was born, on September 12, 1919, the release date of the first Filipino-produced-and-directed film, "Dalagang Bukid" by Jose Nepomuceno.

Nepomuceno, considered the Father of Philippine Movies, set up in 1917 his production company, Malayan Movies, which aimed to make motion pictures that reflected the conditions and tastes of the country at the time.

A silent film inspired by the zarzuela of the same title and lead stars, Dalagang Bukid was shown at the Lyric Theater in Manila for 10 days initially. The actors, led by Atang de la Rama and Marcellano  Ilagan, declaimed and sang their lines behind the screen.

Philippine Film Industry Month will be celebrated every September, an annual month-long observation mandated by President Duterte through Presidential Proclamation No. 1085 signed on February 3, 2021.

The celebration hopes to recognize the “invaluable contribution and sacrifices of all stakeholders and sectors of the film industry.’’

It is designed to commemorate the heritage, significance, and legacy of Philippine Cinema.

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has been named as the lead agency in observing the month-long celebration. FDCP    Chair Mary Liza Dino has lined up a wide array of events for the inaugural salvo with the theme, "Ngayon ang Bagong SineMula!"

 “Ngayon ang Bagong SineMula!’’ echoes the cry of  movie workers in the hope of surviving, and bouncing back from, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has paralyzed the industry.

It speaks of a new beginning, an opportunity to  rebuild a system that would be more inclusive and sustainable for all stakeholders, allowing Philippine Cinema to push forward towards a more progressive future, not only locally but also internationally.

The FDCP has prepared a dizzying flurry of activities marking the country’s first celebration of Philippine Film Industry Month.   

To start with, FDCP will hold the by-invitation Gala at the historic, newly restored Metropolitan Theater in Manila on September 12 with strict adherence to safety and health protocols.

There will be a screening of restored 1954 film classic, “Dalagang Ilocana” by Olive La Torre, produced by Sampaguita Pictures, starring Gloria Romero.

Several books chronicling Philippine movies will be launched, including “Ang Daigdig ng mga Api” by Clodualdo “Doy” del Mundo, Jr. and a three-volume collection of essays on Philippine Cinema  through the years by Nick Deocampo.

A highlight of the gala is the launch of the Elwood Perez Retrospective. The 12-film retrospective, from September 25 to 30, celebrates Perez’s 50th anniversary as a multi-awarded filmmaker, a career marked by his strong presence in the industry through a gallery of films remembered for blending both artistic and commercial merits.

Philippine Film Industry Month will be celebrated on the social media pages of FDCP and the FDCP Channel.