Question: How do you think the noticeable surge of local films depicting the lives of gay people came to be?
The simple answer is technology. With the development of digital filmmaking came a drop in cost and easier access to tools. Because the mainstream studios weren't making personal gay films, it was simply a matter of time before new voices told their unique stories from the ground up.
But it's what filmmakers did with the technology that brought us to the explosion of today. In 2003, Cris Pablo not only independently produced his debut feature Duda/Doubt, he also self-distributed to movie theaters using a digital projector. What he did basically was to prove a film that depicted the realistic concerns of realistic homosexuals could find an audience and be financially successful. When people call Cris Pablo a pioneer, by god they're not kidding. By 2005, when Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) and Masahista (The Masseur) both took similar risks, somewhat simultaneously, "blowing up" their digitally shot materials to 35mm prints for commercial runs in movie houses, winning international awards, thereby capturing the interest of a larger Filipino public, we knew a new order had been tapped.
Other institutional developments were the additional push, such as the establishment of more digital venues, especially the Robinsons IndieSine, and a growth in film festivals as enterprises, opportunities for international distribution, and the co-opting of commercial players, including studios and video companies. Suddenly filmmakers know where and how they can find their audience, and this is encouragement to make more films. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that the Philippine independent cinema we know today -- gay or otherwise -- has been pushed into mainstream consciousness, for better or worse, thanks to queer sensibility. What we're enjoying right now is the geyser phenomenon: Something repressed for many years has finally been released. Naturally, it's a tremendous overflowing of power, steam, and noise. Inspiration begets inspiration and so on and so forth, and there will be out-of-the-box personal movies for as long as people watch them.
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