Institutionalization of Montañosa Film Fest proposed

The city council has approved on first reading the ordinance proposing to institutionalize the recently concluded Montañosa Film Festival.

Under the proposed ordinance, the Montañosa Film Festival shall take place every third week of March of every year as part of the Summer Vacation (SumVac) activities of the city.

An amount of one million pesos shall be appropriated for the purpose, and a committee to facilitate and oversee the conduct of the  annual event shall be created.

The Film Fest Committee shall be headed by the City Mayor as Chairperson and the City Vice Mayor as Vice-Chairperson.

Members of the committee include representatives from the Department of Tourism-Cordillera Administrative Region; Tourism and Special Events Division under the City Administrator’s Office; Office of the Congressman; Chairperson of the Sanggunian’s Committee on Tourism, Special Events, Parks, and Playgrounds; City Environment and Parks Management Office; City Buildings and Architecture Office; Baguio City Police Office; Baguio Fire Department; Department of Public Works and Highways-CAR/Baguio City District Engineering Office; City Engineering Office; City Health Services Office; City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office; Emergency Medical Services; the city’s Public Information Office; Workshop for Infinite Media Inc.; Baguio City Chamber of Commerce; and other concerned offices and agencies.

The committee shall regularly convene for logistics planning including the formulation of rules and regulations on food preparation for the delegates from the different participating provinces and on cleanliness and maintenance of security and order in the venue;  creation of working plans for the installation of stalls to house participants and other beautification or landscaping ornaments; delegation of security personnel to patrol the area during the conduct of the event; and other necessary preparatory activities.

Organized by the Workshop for Infinite Media, Inc. under the helm of Film Director Ferdinand Balanag, the Film Festival aimed to celebrate independent filmmaking and highlight the diverse stories and traditions of the Cordilleras showcasing 10 short films in-competition that were shortlisted from the 46 entries submitted from across the region.

The 10 budding independent filmmakers were granted funding by the organizers to produce their short films which revolved around the theme “Crossing Borders.”

The festival also featured various films from artists in the Cordillera Region and other regions as well as international films.

The activities of the first Montañosa Film Festival were held at various venues in the city from March 20 to 28, 2021.  With the blessing of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and Loakan Proper Barangay, the Loakan Airport served as the main screening venue of the 10 short films and other featured films. A portion of the runway was transformed into a drive-in theater accommodating a limited number of vehicles per screening with a maximum of four people in each car in view of the ongoing pandemic.

The first Montañosa Film Festival was in partnership with the City Government of Baguio and the Department of Tourism and supported by its lead partners such as the Council for Baguio Creative City, Baguio Tourism Council, Tourism Promotions Board, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Baguio, and the Embassies of France, India and Czech Republic.

After the successful implementation of the film fest activities, the organizers, through a manifesto, sought the support of the city government by requesting for the institutionalization of the event.

The proposed ordinance has been referred to the Sanggunian’s Committee on Tourism, Special Events, Parks, and Playgrounds for review and recommendations following its approval on first reading. -Jordan G. Habbiling