Thursday, March 11, 2010
Dibs on history! Philippine history anyway. Am teaching a video production workshop for the NCCA's Kalahi Cultural Summit. Underequipped, as per usual. They gave me one camera (albeit a little beaut of a DVX100B) for a workshop that they opened to all comers. Hit on the bright idea of teaching the workshoppers to make and edit videos with footage shot with their cellphones. I'm calling the idea Sineselpon --a Tagalog-phoneticization of "Cine-cellphone." Serendipitously, sineselpon would also be the (Tagalog) present progressive and transitive form of selpon. In English it would be the equivalent of the word "cellphoning," only (like I said) transitive, like the verb shoot. "He's cellphoning the sunset". I've already made an account in youtube called selpontv. Empty as of now. Got the workshoppers downloading video files from their cellphones with a card reader, converting them to DV AVIs with Super, (a freeware video format converter) and editing them on Vegas 3, still hands down the most user-friendly video editor I've ever come across, small and powerful and handy as a pair of longnose pliers. Was a hit of an idea. Buncha kids sitting around my laptop arguing in Boholano and waving off entreaties that they take a break and get something to eat. Naturally, it turns out other people have had the same idea. The French Pocket Film Festival is on their sixth year already, so this is not a world first, and why should I have thought it would be? Phones shoot video, after all. You don't have to be a genius to think hey, we should make films/fiction/narrative with them. Think Nokia or something even got guys like Quark Henares and Raymond Red to make some as a publicity stunt for one of their high end models. Fuck that. The Phil is exactly the place where this art novelty/corporate gimmick could be the gift of water to people dying of thirst. Philippine cinema was a child of feudalism. The early movie studios were owned by hacienderos, landed oligarchs who recruited their tenants for labor. For the capacity to write with images to literally fall into the hands of the tenants represents the complete demolition of that structure. We're talking the potential of making democratic, groundroots, punk moving-picture praxis like the world has never seen or imagined, away from the dons and doñas, bypassing issues of funding, ideology and patronage, uploaded straight to the internet and talking to the world. This could really be something.