As former MMDA chairman and MMFF chair, Francis Tolentino said his heart will always be close to the local film industry. After stepping down from his position and announcing his intention to run for the senatorial race three months ago, the longtime public servant still hopes to champion local films.
Tolentino believes that this industry has been severely affected by piracy and the entry of foreign films. "Naglabas ako ng papel tungkol sa isang proposed Film Development Act of 2016. Nakalagay doon yung mga dapat gawin, kung papaano makontra yung film piracy sabay sabay na. Kung papaano mapalakas yung movie industry sabay sabay na. Kung papaano magbibigay ng tax incentives during summer months dun lumalabas yung Hollywood films at nakalagay din doon yung mga subsidy na dapat ibigay ng pamahalaan tungkol sa mga sumasali sa foreign film competitions,” he shared during his presscon held last December 10 at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon city.
Tolentino hopes the bill can strengthen the film industry by producing more films that promote Filipino values, culture and history that will be given funding, technology assistance, and promotional support if these are shown abroad. Regional film festivals will should also be supported by local governments while anti-film piracy laws will be strengthened. "It’s a very comprehensive bill to improve the benefits given by private groups like Mowelfund. This is going to be a comprehensive bill that should address our ‘lack of competitiveness’ in so far as Hollywood films, side by side, in so far as the recovery of P7.5 billion cost of seized counterfeit films being sold in Quiapo and other areas of the Philippines. The state of the film industry, mas madami yung counterfeit films na nakakapasok at mas mura ang mag-import ng foreign films kesa mag-produce ng local films. Sayang hindi nasundan si Heneral Luna, sayang umatras si Kapitan Pule, sayang hindi natuloy ang lakambini, sayang wala pang Heneral Luna part two. Meron na sana tayong bandwagon, meron na sanang kasunod. Subalit hindi talaga ito natutuloy dahil wala tayong subsidy na binibigay,” he explained.
Tolentino is proposing the Film Development Act of 2016 that will provide government subsidies to local filmmakers who will compete in international filmfests. Winners will also receive rewards. Local film producers will also be given tax incentives especially when they produce during summer months when foreign films are released worldwide.
Tolentino said under his proposed law, film industry employees and their immediate family members will be provided with health and medical and educational support. With his bid for a senatorial slot as an independent candidate in 2016, Tolentino stressed that he hopes to uplift the quality of Filipino films at the same time. “It’s really important to help our Filipino filmmakers and producers as a way of encouraging them to continue making movies.”