Don't pander to festivals, Philippine directors urge

Deocampo and Red question intentions of independents

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BUSAN, South Korea -- Two of the Philippines' leading independent directors urged young Asian filmmakers Monday not to let thoughts of overseas festival accolades cloud their artistic vision.

While both gained international attention with film festival awards, Nick Deocampo and Raymond Red said directors should make films for authentic audiences and not only judges.

Deocampo, best known for his award-winning 1983 documentary about a gay stripper, "Oliver," said foreign film festivals tend to prefer movies from the Philippines about poverty and prostitution.

"What films really do make it to some of these festivals? The exoticism of Asia, for example. So I think there is room for us to critique such a phenomenon," said Deocampo at South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival.

He urged aspiring Asian directors not pander to stereotypes.

"For whom are you making these movies? For a set of 12 people who are going to give you an award? Then what?" Deocampo said.

In May, the Cannes Film Festival awarded best director honors to Brillante Mendoza for "Kinatay" (Slaughter), a dark drama about a poor police academy student drawn into a world of crime. Deocampo said his criticism was not directed at that film, which he said he hadn't seen.

Red, the first Filipino to win the prestigious Palme d'Or prize at Cannes for his 2000 short film "Anino" (Shadow), said the growing ease of filmmaking with the introduction of digital equipment may not necessarily produce better movies.

"The digital revolution is a revolution in technology, not a revolution in cinema," he said.

Red urged young filmmakers to think carefully about their mission — to have a "concrete sincerity in what you're doing.