Saving Filipino films pays off

ABS-CBN’s advocacy to preserve Filipino films through its Sagip Pelikula project is finally  getting the recognition. Recently,,the International Association of Business Communicators honored the campaign with an international Gold Quill in Vancouver, Canada.

ABS-CBN head of Film Restoration Leo Katigbak with the Golden Quill from theInternational Association of Business Communicators

ABS-CBN head of Film Restoration Leo Katigbak with the Golden Quill from theInternational Association of Business Communicators

Says Leo Katigbak, head of ABS-CBN Film Restoration, “Apparently, Sagip Pelikula is the only film restoration program in Asia. I looked through the list and there was no other Asian country with the same project as we have.”

The campaign has been going on since 2016 and its aim is to expose millennials, which consists half of the country’s population to classic Filipino films.

And true enough, classic Filipino movies have become more accessible in recent years, and it is not by accident. 

ABS-CBN has made it a part of its mission to serve the Filipino people to help preserve the country’s cinematic legacy and cultural heritage for future generations.

Through the ABS-CBN Film Restoration project, a movie like the great Gerry de Leon’s Banauedoesn’t just re-introduce Nora Aunor to a new audience, it also brings them to the Philippines at the dawn of history.

But with a mission to bridge today’s generation to our culture in an already bygone era, ABS-CBN embarked on a campaign that would bring old movies closer to today’s youth. That’s the Sagip Pelikula project was born.

“And it offers tangible snapshots or records of different eras, whether it’s the theme, the setting, or the sensibility. What were once oral anecdotes from parents and grandparents now have something more visceral in terms of context,” Leo said.

“I think the greatest disservice we can do to future generations is not providing them the means to remember and appreciate the past,” said Leo. “We have a rich cinematic legacy that is at par with the other world greats and we owe it to those creators to preserve and honor their work, so that future generations can learn and be proud of them” 

Since its launch, the campaign has remained focused on its mission by participating actively in various platforms where it could communicate its message of safeguarding the country’s cultural heritage and keeping its cinematic legacy alive.

By showing them in cinemas and on various TV channels within the ABS-CBN organization, like Channel 2 on free TV or CinemaOne and JeepneyTV on cable and direct TV, the younger audience is now able to access films that were once the buzzword among their parents and grandparents.

Also, apart from IWant, the network’s own streaming service, Leo announced that the restored and digitally re-mastered classics are now available for streaming from ITunes. It is also planning in making them available on DVD (although players now are hard to come by) for collectors.

As the campaign gained momentum, the classic films also gained recognition abroad as they were invited to various international film festivals, including the Udine Film Festival in Italy, Arsenal Institut Fur Filmin in Germany, Tokyo International Film Festival, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Screening in the USA, among others.

ABS-CBN's advocacy campaign Sagip Pelikula wins International Gold Quill Award

ABS-CBN's advocacy campaign Sagip Pelikula wins International Gold Quill Award

With Sagip Pelikula’s continued success, the ABS-CBN Film Restoration project will reintroduce more classic films when a dedicated theater at Greenbelt mall in partnership with the Ayala Malls opens soon. It will also have an official theme song that celebrates the legacy of Filipino films. 

But on top of these developments is the exciting news of more classics surfacing because of the campaign. According to Leo, the group is doing new scans of several LVN classics like Ibong Adarna, Biyaya ng Lupa, Malvarosa, andAnak Dalita, while restoration is also underway for the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines’ final two films: Misteryo sa Tuwa and Soltero, Perlas Films’Mga Bilanmggong Birhen, Ishmael Bernal’sTisoy, Bad Bananas sa Putting Tabing, Danny Zialcita’sTinimbang Ang Langit, Carlitos Siguion Reyna’sSaan Ka Man Naroroon and many more.  

With ABS-CBN’s continuous effort to bring back and expose the young to the country’s movie classics, the Filipinos’ past remains safely etched in their collective memory, and with it, the Filipinos’ treasured culture.