A Mirror of Filipino Lives: Indie Films Review

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Table of Contents

  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Works cited

Independent films or Indie films, although already alive since then, can be considered as a social phenomenon now because of its booming industry. The rise of these films in the market is due to the growing demand of Filipino moviegoers to indie films. And I consider this a social phenomenon because its popularity is in the hands of the people, without the people liking it, its industry might slowly die and disappear from our culture. It is a social phenomenon because it is slowly changing our traditional movie experience with mainstream media. Lastly, because it is also slowly becoming part of our culture,when we watch indie films during august. And our identity, when we get awarded internationally, due to these films.

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Indie films never started as a crowd favorite, it was, and still is, always in battle with mainstream media. This industry is not always in the top since it also experienced a fair share of declines during its early years. In short, this industry is alive, until there are people who are willing to watch and support it. As what Santos (2007, cited in Valera 2015) articulated,“economics of our country pushes Filipinos not to prioritize local movies much more socially responsible movies. ”· “High taxation in films has been a pressing issue since then having the most heavily taxed in Asia that includes amusement tax, culture tax, income taxes, permit fees etc. Thus taxes imposed on filmmakers are shouldered by moviegoers. (Amihan, Castro, Laraño & Velasquez, 2010) This shows us the important role of the people in keeping this industry alive. Since most indie filmmakers has no fund, they really rely on the audience with these taxes. · “watching independent films is an acquired taste they are what Etzel, et al (1997) described as products with small market. Hence, it is impractical to promote them using the expensive mass media technologies” (Amihan, et. al, 2010) This gives us the background as to why indie films has a hard time reaching the public. Many companies don’t promote it like how they do with mainstream media because this type of films only has a small market, and this will make them earn less and spend bigger. · “They naturally do not have the financial support” (Amihan, et. al, 2010) This states the lack of resources of filmmakers in terms of money. Without financial support, it is hard for them to have equipments, they sometimes fund their own film just for it to be made,

Political Science

The status of indie films in our country is not only affected by the moviegoers, sometimes also the government’s support can affect it. Politics also play an important role in keeping this alive. Torre, (2006 as cited in Valera, 2015) expressed that, “the industry gets little support from the Government because the leaders do not see the value of the film medium”. · The local government of Quezon City, the entertainment capital of the Philippines reduced the amusement tax…through a city ordinance in 2008 with 0% for local films. (Valera, 2015) This shows us how a great help the government can be to the filmmakers if they decide to support to art. It shows how their support can really lighten filmmakers’ budgets. · In 2014, Buhay Party List Representative Lito Atienza filed House Bill 3840 as a 5-year tax holiday for the film industry to help in its recovery. (Valera, 2015) This gives us another example on how the government can pave a way to the life of independent films. With their laws and ordinances, they are making it more possible for independent films to thrive in our country.


Indie films don’t appeal much to the masses because of their preference to the mainstream media, and their thinking that it is better than films which is not even funded.With indie films, filmmakers get to touch and change people’s values. Valera (2015), explained that the “power of media may never be questioned as literature and research prove that exposure to media can influence perspectives and decisions. ” · Dela Cruz blamed the Filipino’s colonial mentality. Also, he said, Filipinos think that American movies are always better because they were made with more money. (Amihan, et. al, 2010) This statement shows us that how we think towards films can be a great factor in what we prefer. How our mentality can change the way we see indie films against Hollywood films. · According to our study, the highest number of respondents agreed indie films make people more sensitive towards social issues and problems. Being accommodating is another value that can be learned by watching independent films. (Fuentes,2015) With this statement, we can see how indie films can have a positive effect to a person in terms of values. We see how indie films can touch lives with the topic and themes that it has.


What makes indie films different from other local films is that it really mirrors the society, it touches the good and ugly part of it. As what Fuentes, Labilles & Reyes (2015) stated, “independent films often opt to feature more the social struggles within a specific area. ” Another thing connected to sociology is how the people can interact through film festivals. · This further Xu Yaping’s claim that indie films is the genre that shows the reality of society. It normally features society as it really is. (Fuentes, et. al, 2015) This further tells us how indie films focuses more on the truth and in showing the reality. · This films redundantly explore (though seldom giving new insights) the world of poverty and prostitution. (Valerio, n. d. ) This tells us how indie films show to the people the realities of our society, through exploring through the slums. · independent film fest happens at least just twice or thrice a year through Cinemalaya, CinePambansa and MMFF New Wave Festival. (Fuentes, et. al, 2015). We are aware that in these festivals people get to interact with other moviegoers and of course the directors and some of the cast. This interaction usually happens in the MMFF during Christmas, wherein they have floats, and they parade through town.


The start of Independent films is unsure of, but according to Sarmiento (2013), “the indies started proliferating in the ‘90s in the advent of digital technology. ” Independent films, although known as a genre that shows the truth of society, some films also tell us of history. · While independent-minded movie-making had long existed in the Philippines as an alternative to the mainstream, the indies started proliferating in the 90’s in the advent of digital technology. (Sarmiento, 2013) This gives us a short background on the evolution of Philippine cinema, and the rise of Independent films because of technology. · The 1930s saw the rise and exploration of Philippine cinema. The next decade’s war, however, brought about maturity heretofore unseen in filmmakers. (Amihan, 2010) This tells us the evolution of local movies to indie films. It tells us how wars and issues became an inspiration to filmmakers to make a new type of movie, and that is indie. · “Pisay” tells of the story of an entire batch of scholars at philippine science high school caught in the throes of the edsa revolution. (Sarmiento, 2013) This gives us an example of a film which showed history, and it also gave us a glimpse of what happened during the EDSA revolution.


Culture can be seen through a films, characters, plots and settings, this is also true to Indie films. Independent films do not only show us issues, but also culture and traditions of a normal family may it be small or grand. Sarmiento (2013), presented that, “film therefore became a medium with which to communicate to the public both the discipline of anthropology and the truths it generates. ”· Film is a descriptive, narrative, and discursive medium all at once, which makes it a good substitute, or at least a complement to the traditional written medium of anthropological presentation. (Sarmiento, 2013) This tells us how culture can be depicted in films. It educates us how film is a good medium to present culture since it can be descriptive, narrative just like written works, but in a more enjoyable way. ·As a cultural artifact, one cannot deny the role of cinema in disseminating the concept of the “nation”. (Valerio, n. d. ) Just like the first statement, this second evidence tells us that film itself is a cultural artifact. And that it helps in spreading the concept of nation, or in simpler terms, the culture of a nation that makes it united, or known.


With all the other evidences stated, it was made clear that Indie films, reflect our society, and in order for it to do so, filmmakers shoot in different areas and settings depending on their story. Also due to its small market, indie films only reach limited cinemas and cities. Valerio (n. d. ), articulated that “the usual route taken by a majority of independent/digital filmmakers is for their films to have a limited screening in Manila and other metropolitan cities. ”· The usual route taken by a majority of independent/digital filmmakers is for their films to have a limited screening in Manila and other metropolitan cities. (Valerio, n. d. ) This information makes us aware that indie films only have a small market, because it only reaches limited places. And it mostly just caters to cities in the metro, not even reaching most provinces. · Scenes of squatter colonies in Manila, of rivers filled with garbage and human excrement, of streets filled with beggars and homeless children. (Valerio, n. d. ) This narrative tells us the condition of a place, in the slum parts of Metro Manila. It depicts to us what we can see in some areas in the metro that are houses the less fortunate. · An Ifugao lad who got attracted to the lifestyles of the lowlanders who came to their place as tourists visiting the famous rice terraces. Two other films set in indigenous communities. (Sarmiento, 2013) Geography is very evident in this text since it focused on different indigenous communities. Themes of Geography can also be seen in this context, like location, place and movement; we can see movement in the text that “lowlanders who came to their place as tourist”.


Connecting this topic to different branches of social science wasn’t easy, especially since it’s still not a widespread topic of research. Upon reading different journal articles, I learned that every social phenomenon or happenings in our society can be connected to different branches of Social Science. Some connections may be evident, and some may take time to appear, but no matter what circumstance it is, there will always be a connection with Social Science. I became aware that Social Science is everywhere, it may be in our subjects, our music, our school and even our lives, we may not see it immediately, but if we look through details, we can see how social science affects us. In connection to my topic, I learned that our identity can be known throughout the globe through Independent films, it is just up to us to learn how to appreciate it, and help it flourish. Every branch of social science is important because each of it helps us get a better understanding on the different phenomena, and aspects of our lives. These branches, help sociologists, economists, politicians and even normal people, to understand the working of our society. These branches serve as guides, in making decisions and solutions that may affect a community or a society. In short, the branches of social science are like glasses for us, with it, we can see more clearly the problems, their causes and possible solutions our society has, or can acquire.

Works cited

  1. Amihan, R., Castro, J., Laraño, S., & Velasquez, J. (2010). Independent film distribution: A study of two indie film distributors in the Philippines. Philippine Journal of Development, 37(1), 1-35.
  2. Etzel, M. J., Walker, B. A., & Stanton, W. J. (1997). Marketing. McGraw-Hill.
  3. Fuentes, J. A. (2015). Socio-economic impact of independent films in the Philippines. European Scientific Journal, 11(10), 285-295.
  4. Fuentes, J. A., Labilles, G., & Reyes, B. (2015). The emergence of independent films in the Philippines: A critical analysis. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research, 4(1), 1-7.
  5. Valera, J. C. (2015). How government support can help the independent film industry. International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(1), 56-63.

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