Hollywood is not us”: Negotiating the Transnational and the Local in Philippine Cinema Circulation

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“Hollywood is not us”: Negotiating the Transnational and the Local in Philippine Cinema Circulation


By Jasmine Nadua Trice Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA

CMC Auditorium, UP College of Mass Communication 1 July 2014, 3:00 PM

ABSTRACT In the mid-2000s, the Philippines became known in the international festival circuit as a burgeoning site of world cinema production. This newfound film scene emerged not in the local studio system that had long dominated the country ’s cinema production, but among independent filmmakers, working with shoestring budgets, often shooting on digital video, and screening their works abroad. In its earliest years, this cosmopolitanism was a source of local pride; however, as the independent scene has become more established, struggles for local circulation, wider national audiences, and sustainable institutional support have become key points of public discussion.

Situated within this context, this presentation examines three cinema institutions central to the nation’s diverse screen cultures: the Cinemalaya (“Cinema Freedom”) Foundation and Philippine Independent Film Festival, a mixture of state, private sector, and academic participants; the Sineng Pambansa (“National Cinema”) initiative of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, a government body; and the transnational film festival circuit, an abstracted aggregate of foreign, “art film” circulation that plays a significant role in establishing modes of production and cinematic aesthetics at the local level. In addition to discussing these institutions as agents within the creation of local screen culture, the paper assesses the ways in which local publics imagine them as a means of establishing ideal relations among state, commercial industry, independent filmmaking, and audiences.


Jasmine Nadua Trice is an Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA. She is currently completing her book, which examines the formation of local and transnational screen cultures within the contexts of the burgeoning independent cinema scene in contemporary Manila. Her research has been supported through fellowships from the Asian Cultural Council and the American Association of University Women. She earned her PhD from the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University – Bloomington (September 2009), and her dissertation received Honorable Mention from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Prior to her time at UCLA, she taught at the National University of Singapore, where she was awarded an Annual Teaching Excellence Award. She is also involved in feminist activism through her work with Isis International Manila.