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Level of Awareness on Philippine Independent Films Essay

Rationale

Movies have been an important part of everyday experience for more than a century. Most people already know a great deal about it. But majority of viewers appreciate those on the mainstreams without giving prior notice to the existence of independent films. The chances for an indie film to elicit at least a semblance of ‘mainstream response’ remains very low. Independent films are largely ignored by ordinary movie-goers in the Philippines, but the genre has become the “in thing” in the country as it gains international acclaim and generates the worldwide interest. (Onscreen Asia, 2009) According to Maslog (2007), independent films which is also known as “indie films” can be in a form of short or full-length cinema which expresses self-expression and creativity different from mainstream cinema.

The very nature of an independent film appears to be easier and cheaper since the allotted budget for its production is minimal. But, although the budgets are low, some of these films have been screened and awarded by local and international film festivals. Though independent films are becoming successful locally and internationally, there are also negative connotations when independent movies are mentioned. There are doubts coming from Filipino themselves because of the usual topics of indie films: poverty, homosexuality, prostitution, the underworld, and life in the margins, which exploits the image of the society (The Daily Guardian, 2012).

As communication students and future media practitioners, the study will provide a profound understanding about independent films to appreciate better the ways of such films through its messages and to raise everyone’s awareness on the said genre of film. Since, the researchers and respondents are both in line with the practice of media; this study will prepare them into the world of film industry, specifically, Philippine Independent films.

Statement of the Problem

The study was conducted to investigate the level of awareness on selected Philippine Independents Films of AB Communication students
Specifically, the study attempted to answer the following questions:
1. What is the demographic profile of the respondents in terms of:
1.1, Age
1.2 Gender?
2. What is the level of awareness of the respondents on the following selected Philippine Independent Films in terms of: 2.1, (2009) Last Supper No. 3
2.2, (2010) Wag Kang Titingin
2.3, (2011) Ang Babae sa Septic Tank
2.4 (2012) Victor?
3. What is the level of awareness of the respondents in the selected Philippine Independent films in the traits and messages as observed in terms of : 3.1, Nationalism
3.2, Social Reality
3.3, Freedom of Expression
3.4, Exploitation of Poverty
3.5 Homosexuality?

Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework for the study on the level of awareness on selected Philippine Independents Films of AB Communication students Level of Awareness to Selected Philippine Independent Films

-Construction of questionnaire regarding Philippine Independent films. -Distribution of questionnaires
-Collection data
-Interpretation of the gathered data

Selected Philippine Independent Films
– Last Supper No. 3
[2009]
– Wag Kang Titingin
[2010]
– Ang Babae sa Septic Tank
[2011]
-Victor
[2012]

Significance of the Study
The result of this study will be beneficial to the following: AB Communication students. The study would greatly affect them since this is much related to the topics that will be discussed in their course. The study would help them to be critical in thinking and be a good observant on what is happening around them most especially to the industry that they will be engaged to in the future. This would furthermore explain things that should be taken consideration of.

Film Industry. This study will help in creating good impressions on how film should showcase the society through creative, sensible, fair and intelligent representation.

Film Producers. This would help them on how they should be keenly aware and ethical in producing films. The study would remind them on the impact, influence and effect of their films to the viewers as perceived by Communication students.

Future Film Producers. This study would give them knowledge and understanding on how to be creative and critical in producing independent films. This will provide them insights on ethical standards, limitations and violations when it comes to the following issues being discussed in relation to the themes of movies produced.

Future researchers. This study will be useful to the future researchers who would conduct a similar study in a larger scope, because this could be a means of an additional source and baseline data to explain further ethical issues regarding Philippine Independent Films as perceived by AB Communication Students. This research, likewise, may serve as a reference for future studies. If needed, the results of the study can be verified and tested. Researchers. The would be an opportunity for them to utilize the knowledge they have learned from their study since they would be a part of the mass media world in the future. This would serve as their basis of practice if they will be inclined on the field of media, particularly, the film industry.

Definition of Terms

The following terms were defined operationally and conceptually: AB Communication Students- It pertained to the bonafide students enrolled in the course, Bachelor of Arts in Communication major in broadcasting which presents opportunities for writers, performers and producers. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank- 2011 Cinemalaya’s Best Film in the Full Length category. Directed by Marlon Rivera. A comedy about misguided ambitions, the art of making art and the romanticization of poverty. Awareness- It is defined in the study as the level of knowledge or being mindful on certain subject, issues, situation and others.

Cinemalaya- A film competition and festival that aims to encourage the creation of new cinematic works by Filipino filmmakers – works that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity. Film- Also called a “movie” or “motion picture”, is a story conveyed with moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects. Full Length Film- According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Film Institute, and British Film Institute, a feature film runs for 40 minutes or longer.

Last Supper No. 3- 2009 Cinemalaya’s Best Film in the Full Length category. Directed by Sherwin Dayoc. Based on a true story, Last Supper No. 3 is a humorous look at the circuitous path our legal system takes to justice.

Mainstream Cinema- Defined as commercial films that are made by major entertainment studios or companies that are owned by international media conglomerates. Philippine Independent Films- Also known as “indie films” can be in a form of short or full-length cinema which expresses self-expression and creativity different from mainstream cinema. Short Feature Film- A “short film” is any film not long enough to be considered a feature film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits”.

Victor- 2012 Cinemalaya’s Best Film in Short Feature category . Directed by Jarell M. Serencio. A film that showed glaring realities of faith, beliefs, etc. and how Filipinos and foreigners embrace the tradition of “Semana Santa” (holy week) as an attraction to this town. Wag Kang Titingin . 2010 Cinemalaya’s Best Film in Short Feature Category .Directed by Pam Miras. The film was about a girl’s attempt beyond death and destruction to maintain for her younger sister a semblance of peace and order amid so much violence and conflict that seems to reflect today’s Filipinos.

CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

The researchers have found the following studies and literature relevant to the study being proposed. The review of the literature for this study focuses on the level of awareness on selected Philippine Independent Films of AB Communication students Importance of Demographic Profile

According to Gauntlett (2002), media and communications are central element of modern life, whilst age and gender remain at the core of how people think of their identities. With media containing images and messages about men, women and their sexuality, it is very likely that they have a great impact on peoples’ sense of identity. Age and gender are variables that affect exposure and perception according to the study conducted by Linda M. Woolf, PhD. The study states that older people perceive more negatively than younger people and females tend to absorb more from media than males.

Independent Films

As an art form, independent film is a great tool to express advocacies to their viewers for public awareness. Filipino independent filmmakers are steadily growing and are likely to continue to do so by virtue of its facility for innovation, diversity and originality. Whether they are about social commentary, political statement, psychological study, or keen insights into human relationships, all of these topics represent controversial subjects that are catered to feed the audience intellectual hunger (Mon-alon, 2011).

San Diego (2010) stated that 2009 was a watershed year for local independent films. Based on cinemalaya.org, from year 2009 to 2012, the following films have been awarded by Cinemalaya as Best Films:

A. Last Supper No. 3

Won the Best Film in full- length category on 2009. It is based on a true story about a humorous look at the circuitous path our legal system takes to justice. Assistant Production Designer Wilson Nañawa is tasked to look for a Last Supper to use as props for a television commercial. He finds three, but loses the one owned by Gareth Pugeda. B. Wag Kang Titingin

A film directed by Pam Miras bagged the top price in Cinemalaya 2010. The story is about a father and his two young daughters who travel through a war-torn area. The father explains to his eldest why they need to shield the youngest from what is really happening around them. The eldest finally understands and vows to protect her sister. C. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank

Won the Best Film in the year 2011 in full-length category. It was also chosen as the Audience Choice Award, Best Direction by Marlon Rivera and Best Performance of an Actress awarded to Eugene Domingo. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank chronicles a day in a life of three ambitious but misguided filmmakers as they set out to do a quick pre-prod at Starbucks. They believe that they have a winning script, the energy and the drive to make to make their dreams come true. This is a comedy about misguided ambitions, the art of making art and romanticization of poverty. D. Victor

The Best Film under short feature category in Cinemalya 2012 directed by Jarell M. Sarencio. It is a story about life as a big show. For ten long years, Victor religiously offers himself to be nailed on the cross every Holy Week. Like other people, this has been a long time “panata” for he believes that God will forgive him for all and grant petitions after crucifying himself on the cross.

Awareness to Philippine Independent Films

Independent films are gaining widespread attention these days. Every day Filipinos alike want their stories told through a different lens and through films made with creativity beyond the demands of commerce. To students, indie films are an eye opener, giving youth a better appreciation and understanding for art. It gives an interest about the realities of our society and the creative execution in cinematography, video editing by our local filmmakers. On the other hand, Communications graduate Ogy Yap added, “There have been efforts to give awareness to Independent cinema, but these have not been successful. Robinsons Galleria has dedicated a theatre for independent cinema, but ticket sales are less than impressive. The duration of the film’s showing is also not as long as those in the mainstream world.” (Gonzales and Libre, 2012).

Synthesis

When the indie fever swept the movie industry, corresponding weak points interlaced with it. People involved in the indie trend are not really concerned about their subjects or the theme – they are just vehicles to fame and fortune. Poverty, homosexuality, prostitution, the underworld, life in the margins are the usual topics of indie films. These themes and subjects are exploited to the fullest not for social transformation or for the benefit of the poor, the deprived, the oppressed or the marginalized but in order to “make it.” This is called poverty porn – the exploitation of poverty and its effects, squeezing it to the last drop for money and glory (The Daily Guardian, 2012).

Aside from the poverty porn issues of Philippine Independent Films, pink films are generally recognized today as erotic films produced by independent production companies for specialized sex film theatres. The low-budget pink films were produced quickly to be shown outside the mainstream venues of exhibition. This provided the opportunity for a few interested filmmakers to use their pink films to make ironic political commentaries on the contemporary social situation (Nochimson, 2010). Independent cinema’s biggest advantage is the uniqueness that can be observed in their films.

Local mainstream films depict almost the same stories, (or copied plot from an international film), the same themes (mostly romance), and the same actors. This is because mainstream cinema would stick to what the “masa” wants. There is no room for change. It is independent cinema’s biggest advantage because each director’s creativity will be showcased. People would most likely explore in to something new like these independent films, rather than watching local mainstream which is not that exciting anymore because it lacks originality.

Another advantage of independent films is that it gives way to new breed of artistic and creative filmmakers. New breed of directors can express fresh ideas in making their films. Independent cinemas give their audience something to look forward to: different style, different genre, and new actors.. Through the growing support for these independent films, viewers of independent films can support, encourage, and recognize gifted Filipino independent filmmakers. Many of these independent films have already been recognized internationally (Anglo, et.al, 2011).

CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

This chapter presents the method and procedures that were used in this study, it discusses the research design, the respondents, research locale and instrumentations to be used. Data gathering procedures and statistical analysis of data was also presented.

Research Design

This study has used the descriptive method. The researchers also utilized a self-made survey questionnaire. The method involves the description, recording, analysis and interpretation on the perception of a certain group of students. It includes the following processes: induction analysis, classification, enumeration, measurement and assessment of data (Manuel & Masinda, 2008). The survey has focused on the gathering of data concerning the respondents’ awareness on selected Philippine Independent Films from 2009-2012. The survey ascertained the messages, traits and characteristics present on Philippine Independent Films. Furthermore, the AB Communication students were the respondents since they are the major recipients of this study.

Research Instruments

The researchers have used the research method opinion polls to test the knowledge of the target audience regarding the selected Philippine Independent Films from 2009-2012. An opinion poll is designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio. It is a type of survey that deals on the perspective of the audience on a certain topic and designed to discover the attitudes and behaviours of an individual. The questions are consisting of lists of possible responses which are analyzed. The results are usually given as percentages of those expressing opinion on a particular question (Asher, 1998). After the survey, the tallying has been administered by the researchers to gather sufficient data that made the research more reliable and precise.

Statistical Analysis of Data
Frequency Distribution

The researchers have used the frequency distribution in summarizing how often different scores occur based on the answers by the respondents on each number of the questionnaire. It is one way of organizing the data needed in the study so that the researchers can interpret it in a visual way. In the study, the answers of the respondents were tallied and thus, this frequency distribution summarized the gathered data that determined the level of awareness on selected Philippine Independent Films of AB Communication students. After gathering the total responses for each item, the researchers have used the Percentage Formula in determining the percentage scores of the responses to the questionnaire (www. ivythesis.typepad.com, 2012).

This has given the total percentage for the level of awareness on selected Philippine Independent Films and the occurrence of the enumerated traits or messages on the said genre of film. n

% = ———— x 100;n- total no. of responses
N;N- total no. of respondents
x 100
The computation was:
% =_no. of students who have/ have not watched any Philippine Independent Film Q #1_
Total no. of respondents

x 100
% =_no. of students who are highly aware/aware/slightly aware/not aware Qs # 2, 3_
Total no. of respondents

16-18|
19-21|
22-24|
25 and above|
The demographic profile of the respondents was also computed using the Percentage Formula. The bracket for age was:

The pie chart or circle graph was used to show the breakdowns or component parts of whole categorical variables (socrates.bmcc.cuny.edu, 2012).

Books:
Blade, W. (Ed.) (1998). Polling and the public: what every citizen should know. Public Opinion (4th ed., p.25). Washington, D.C. : CQ Press. Corrigan, T. & While, P. (2008). The Film Experience. An Introduction (2nd Edition, p.442-445). Bedford: St. Martin’s publishing. Foss, K. & Littlejohn S. (2008). Theories of Human Communication (9th ed., p. 230). Belmont, USA: Thomson Wadsworth. Galt, R. & Schoonover, K. (2010). Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories, 48-53. USA: Oxford University Press. Gauntlett, D. (2002). Media, gender and identity. London: Anthony Rowe, Ltd. Maslog, C. (2008). Philippine Communication Today, 275, The University of Michigan: New Daily Publishers. Nochimson, M. (2010). World on Film, 228,231. United Kingdom: Blackwell’s publishing. Thesis:

Szabo, C. (2010, May 26). Independent, mainstream and in between: how and why indie films have become their own genre. Honors College Theses, 5-6, 24. New York: Pace University Internet:
Circle Graphs or Pie Charts. Retrieved September 11, 2012, from http://socrates.bmcc.cuny.edu/cpe/circle_pie.html Gonzales, N. & Libre, B. (2012, August 25). Retrieved September 08, 2012, from http://thelasallian.com/2012/08/25/independent-films-art-for-all/. Manuel, E. & Masinda, R. (2008, July 22). Retrieved September 11,2012, from http://www.slideshare.net/japorto/descriptive-method. Onscreen Asia (2009, March 01) .Retrieved August 05, 2012, from http://www.onscreenasia.com/article/philippine-indie-films-make-headway/4992. The Daily Guardian (2012, September 18). Retrieved August 31,2012, from http://www.thedailyguardian.net/index.php/local-news-8/1728-poverty-porn. Thinking Made Easy (2012, August 11). Retrieved Sept 11, 2012, from http://ivythesis.typepad.com/term_paper_topics/2012/08/research-proposal-on–1.html


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