Alternative Cinema
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What do the films Heneral Luna by Jerrold Tarog, Birdshot by Mikhail Red and Kita Kita by Sigrid Bernardo, have in common? These films deviate from the norm set by run of the mill movies. They exceed expectations by creating their own look and feel. Be it from their unique content, cinematographic treatment or technique, these films provide fresh insights through the themes that are less explored. Back in the day, this type of film was something people have seen but didn’t really have a name for. Mainstream films dominated the moviemaking scene. People were used to this commercialized, one-size-fits-all formula without even knowing it. But eventually this notion was challenged. Likewise, the Annual Academy Awards (1997) had to put a name to it. This new breed of Films was less conventional and more experimental. They called it “indies”. “Indie Films”, “Independent Cinema”, or “Alternative Cinema” finally got the recognition it deserved. Indie films are usually confused with short films. While most of them are short films in nature, not all short films are indie films. Unlike mainstream films, Indie films are usually not motivated by profit nor are they created for pure entertainment. These films explore rather than exploit common themes. For example, the film Birdshot explores the loss of innocence by drawing a parallelism between a girl who unknowingly kills a bird and an idealistic law enforcer who gives in to corruption. This kind of portrayal becomes unique and unpredictable to the eyes of the viewer as the scenes can be interpreted in more ways than one. It makes the viewer not only think of what is happening in the plot, and how they relate to one another, but also what it means. It isn’t as straightforward as mainstream cinema where audiences are assured all throughout the film. In the Philippines, indie films are relatively new. Independent films thrive because of film schools, embassies, cultural groups, international film programmers, foundation and its biggest benefactor—the social climbing audience who look for “the next big things”. This is an avenue for great minds to release their artistic advocacies to the community and to the industry that is already saturated with Westernized standard shows.

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