Movie cameras are rolling Bohol to new dimensions of allure and economy with the creation of a provincial film body and introduction of the province as a national, global filmmaking destination.
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has fully committed to promote Bohol as a viable location for national and international movie and television shootings.
FDCP Chairperson Liza DiÃ±o-Seguerra herself witnessed Gov. Edgar Chattoâ€™s signing of an executive order creating the Bohol Film Commission (BOFILMCO) at the Governorâ€™s Mansion on Wednesday.
Also for brevity, some who witnessed the unprecedented event would like to call the body BOFILCOM.
Seguerra said the exciting development will bring Bohol to the spotlight of film tourism and magnify the glamour of the destination while creating a new local economy.
The epic â€œLord of the Ringsâ€ high-fantasy movie series had shooting locations which were then unpopular but which has since become tourist attractions after the filming.
Seguerra was fascinated when she was told that Bohol has rice terraces among its â€œhiddenâ€ tourism jewels, plus the many Boholano talents that may have just been awaiting to be discovered.
The top FDCP woman is a former Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism International and one of the finest Filipina dancers of the Spanish flamenco.
The P2 billion-budgeted American action blockbuster â€œBourne Legacyâ€ was filmed in three Metro Manila areas where the huge amount just circulated to the benefit of the local economy.
â€œIâ€™m very proud of how proactive is Gov. Chatto,â€ the FDCP head said, adding that the film commission executive order was the â€œfirst ever signedâ€ by a governor in the country.
Seguerra said before the signing she was â€œstill overwhelmed,â€ in disbelief that â€œa casual dinnerâ€ then with a friend who relayed to her the governorâ€™s idea of creating the film body â€œwould ultimately come to this.â€
She was referring to acclaimed Boholano theatre artist-director Lutgardo Labad, also an advocate of the preservation of the local cultural heritage and a noted musical composer now named no less as the BOFILMCO chairman.
An award-winning actress and a multi-talented performing artist, Seguerra committed to build in Bohol one of the three additional FDCP â€œcinemathequesâ€ in the country this year.
A part of FDCPâ€™s national cinema program, a cinematheque, which has a capacity of between 50 and 200 seats, is a motion-picture theatre that specializes in important historical, experimental, avant-garde, or art-house films.
For her lead performance in the Flamenco dance movie â€œIn Nominee Matris,â€ Seghuerra reaped awards from both national and international film festival bodies.
â€œWe have film festival partners and we can bring them here,â€ Seguerra said.
The cinematheque is an alternative and accessible venue for classic and contemporary Filipino film showing and a spot for workshops and symposia on directing, scriptwriting, and other aspects of filmmaking.
The project empowers the local educators to teach filmmaking more efficiently and encourage local artists into cinematography.
The BOFILMCO signing was also witnessed by Baby Ruth Villarama, director of the documentary film and recent Metro Manila Film Festival winning entry â€œSunday Beauty Queenâ€; Don Gervin Aranan, program director of the Philippine Film Export Service Office PFESO) of the FDCP; and film couple Hermie Cobrito and Marichelle of the â€œSaving Sallyâ€.
The signing was likewise witnessed by Rio Anne Rubia of the FDCP, Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II, and the members of the film commission.
The BOFILMCO members are Marianito Luspo of the Holy Name University-Office of Culture and the Arts Development (HNU-OCAD); Romulo Tagaan, Provincial Council for Culture and the Arts Development (CCAD); Liza Flores, Special Projects Unit of the Governorâ€™s Office; Emilia Roslinda PROCESS Foundation; Albert Uy, Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI); Peter Dejaresco, Bohol Tri-Media Association (BTMA); Fr. Val Pinlac, Diocese of Tagbilaran; a representative of the Diocese of Talibon; chairperson of the Bohol Arts, Culture and Heritage (BACH) Council; acclaimed Boholano director Mario J. de los Reyes, film industry; Tagbilaran City Administrator Leonides Borja; and Joshibiah Gaa de Juan, City Council for Culture and the Arts (CCCA).
WITH THE FDCP
The BOFILMCO coordinates with the FDCP, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), CCAD, Bohol Tourism Office, events coordination unit and other agencies, and facilitate filming projects in Bohol.
It mobilizes support for films shot and produced in Bohol while pursuing the utilization of the local talents and promoting the provinceâ€™s natural and socio-cultural heritage attractions in the film industry.
The commission has the power to review any film production featuring Bohol, document historical events/sites/places/icons in the course of history, and preserve them through cinematic medium.
The BOFILMCO develops programs, interventions and mechanisms to ensure protection and development of indie film producers and enthusiasts in Bohol.
The body is deemed most appropriate and relevant to project and enhance the Boholano artistry and culture and have them recognized nationally and universally.
This is again â€œour contribution to the national pride,â€ Chatto said.
Also at the signing were Provincial Board Member Gloria Gementiza; Enriqueta Butalid and sculptor Lalan Paloso, both of CCAD; Liza Quirog, Social, Economic and Environmental Management Cluster; JosephineÂ Cabarrus, Bohol Tourism Office; Maria Fe Dominise, Bohol Investment and Promotions Center; Peter Retutal, Provincial Planning and Development Office; Rey Anthony Chiu, Philippine Information Authority; and Boris Heberer, tourism industry.
Seguerra would like Bohol to be not just a filmmaking hub but a â€œPhilippine cinema heritage.â€
The FDCPâ€™s foremost mandate is to upgrade the craft of Philippine filmmaking and establish filmmaking hubs.
Bohol is â€œvery exclusive,â€ Seuguerra said, referring to the provinceâ€™s own history and stories that can be filmed like the Dagohoy revolt of more than 80 years, the longest in Philippine history.
â€œNandito na sa Bohol ang lahat.Â Wala ka nang hahanapin paÂ (Everything is in Bohol. You donâ€™t have to look for others),â€ Esguerra said.
But the FDCP head encouraged the province and its local government units to grant incentives like tax rebate to attract movie producers and filmmakers.
Additional incentives can be given if the filmmakers tap local talents and promote local locations.
â€œWe will empower you.Â We have the industry board with us.Â We also do marketing.Â We are working with the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Finance for the inclusion of our programs in the investment roadmap.â€
The FDCP is coming up with a national incentive program for the film industry.
Seguerra suggested to waive the LGU amusement taxes during the screening of MMFF entries so that they can be simultaneously seen nationwide.
â€œWe will make film industry a local economy.Â We will make film communities and create local economies,â€ Seguerra said.
She said â€œthings can do happen if a province is aggressive like Bohol and its governor proactive like Chatto.â€
â€œEven the local beauty parlors can gain from film tourism,â€ Seguerra said, â€œas we professionalize filmmaking locally.â€
The creation of the provincial film commission was hailed as another Bohol â€œbreakthrough.â€
â€œIt was the first time that someone reached out to usâ€ in the FDCP and film industry, Seguerra said, referring to then Chattoâ€™s call to Labad about his idea of creating the film body.
At that very moment, Labad happened to have a casual dinner with Seguerra in Manila and, thus, relayed the idea to the FDCP head who instantly liked to link with the governor on the project.
â€œMy God, this is perfect,â€ Seguerra recounted his swift reaction when told by Labad of Chattoâ€™s creation of the film body, which the FDCP head contemplated to use as a â€œmodel, templateâ€ for other provinces.
Seguerra is the spouse of Philippine music icon, singer-songwriter and former child star Aiza Seguerra, who is presently the chairman of the National Youth Commission.
She crossed her heart in an instant full commitment when asked at the signing if a Boholano composition, a jingle to promote Bohol as a filmmaking destination, could be sung by no less than Aiza.
In the long run, filmmaking can make even foreign celebrities find Bohol their second home.Â (Ven rebo Arigo)