“We have two thriving industries in terms of community – art house and commercial. The commercial industry, ever since, has been serving the local audience. But now, the consciousness and the initiative to make films that will travel and will be more internationally appreciated has already started,” Diño said.
The Philippines’ art house cinema, has been gaining ground in the international scene through film festivals in the past couple of years. Lav Diaz’ eight-hour Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery) won the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlinale in 2016, Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa competed in Cannes in 2016 and came home with the best actress award for Jaclyn Jose who played the lead role. Anino sa Likod ng Buwan (Shadow Behind the Moon) earned Jun Lana the best director award at the International Film Festival of Kerala and in 2017, Raya Martin’s Smaller and Smaller Circles made its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival.
In the last 15 years, Filipino films have been “traveling” more and have international film festivals to thank for it. However, not much has changed when it comes to improving the overall perception of the Filipino film industry. “In big festivals like Berlin and Cannes, the Philippines is still a novelty. It’s not seen as the Philippines if it’s exploring the issues of the middle class or if there are no dirty slums,” Diño said. An award-winning actress herself before being appointed as the head of the film council, Diño is an advocate of diversity in film.