Sunday, April 14, 2013

Davao Cinematheque - A Cineaste's Gem in the City

Davaoenos should feel proud that the city has its own Cinematheque just like Baguio City and Iloilo. Davao Cinematheque is home of special films - exchange world titles from the archive of the National Film Fund (from places like Argentina, Germany, Vietnam, Chile, China, etc.); Filipino classics, short films and award-winning regional flicks; and festival fares. The bigger news: most screenings are offered with a measly entrance fee of P50.

I was able to speak to the amiable lady in charge (I forgot to get her name). She says that this institution gets its fund directly from the Office of the President. The land was a property of DepEd which was then entrusted to FDCP (Film Development Council of the Philippines) for the construction of this small theater facility with a seating capacity of 120. SM Cinemas, then actively upgrading to digital technology, donated a 35 mm cinema projector, completing the facility.

I've been to several screenings, mostly scheduled at 3 PM and 5 PM (or thereabouts). The interiors are well conceptualized: cool AC's, soft cushion chairs, and more importantly, on-time screenings so you can plan your activity around the showing of films. Sadder thing is, not a lot of people come to watch. In fact, during the screenings I attended, I wound up being the only viewer every time - and it's sad. "A lot of people still shy away from the P50 entrance fee," noticed the adorable lady and continued, "but when entrance is free, the cinema gets filled up easily." Most Pinoys still need maturity where world or alternative cinema is concerned. After all, why do Pinoys favor tripe and mediocre titles like those "Enteng Kabisote", "Agimat" and "Shake, Rattle and Roll" movies over flicks like Brillante mendoza's "Thy Womb"?


Incidentally, our Cannes-winning director has his hand cast on display at the lobby. Lino Brocka, our National Artists for Film, has a bronze statue right in front of the small theater. This was commissioned by the organizing committee from Filipino Sculptor Jonas Roces, the same artist responsible for the 7-foot likeness of Comedy king Dolphy at the Museo Pambata (Roxas Boulevard, Manila) and the 9-foot statue of the Barong-wearing king of action movies, Fernando Poe, Jr. (along Roxas Boulevard, right across the U.S. Embassy).

Davao City has a gem. Hopefully, the Davaoenos realize this. While transients like me patronize facilities like this (coming all the way from Manila), the locals wouldn't have to travel far or pay much to enjoy world cinema.

If I were in the education business, I would actively recommend this facility to Davao's academic community.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Inside the 120-seater theater facility. This photo and locator (below) courtesy of Rude World blog. Please visit the site here -

Brillante Mendoza's hand imprint/cast. They were wearing a pair of gloves for this..

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