At the Cinemalaya awards night last Sunday, the talk was less about the art and craft of film than intellectual property rights and economics. The previous day, filmmakers from the 8th and 9th editions of the annual indie film festival discovered that their films had been uploaded to YouTube in their entirety. The films were taken down, and the Cinemalaya Foundation issued apologies at the closing ceremonies, but it will take some time before the indie community stops seeing Cinemalaya as The Big Bad.
This is not the first controversy Cinemalaya has been embroiled in, but it is certainly the worst because it calls into question the very integrity of the project. We will wait for the outcome of the dialogue between the Cinemalaya Foundation and the filmmakers (Though it was a major jerk move, trying to pin the blame on technical staff). We hope that the foundation invites the most vocal critics of its policies, that these critics show up, and that the discussion is calm and productive. It is difficult to reach a consensus on Twitter, much less delve deeply into the issues.
For now we interrupt our Cinemalaya X reviews—which are late anyway (We blame the weather and especially the horrible traffic, which has reached civil rights violation levels)—to look into the cost of making indies, and their economic potential.