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Opinion

ABS-CBN alive and kicking

Danny Vibas

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The cast of ‘Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin’ (from left, clockwise) Jodi Sta. Maria, Maricel Soriano, Iza Calzado and Sam Milby.

Despite the rains, September has embers glowing in some quarters of Pinoy showbiz. Pardon the mixed metaphors.

ABS-CBN is determined not to wave the white flag of surrender. It soldiers on to create new content and innovative ways to stay in touch with its wide Filipino audience. That’s the stance of a market leader that has been disenfranchised from mainstream television.

After launching Ang Sa Iyo ay Akin, ABS-CBN has another new teleserye: Walang Hanggang Paalam starring Angelica Panganiban and Zanjoe Marudo. This, despite being forced to shut down amid the pandemic and the retrenchment of thousands of its workers.

In fact, the network is ahead of the rest in producing new teleserye episodes. It is never content with replays. Followers of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano and A Soldier’s Heart have been watching all-new episodes. Love Thy Woman just ended a successful run, with positive feedback on social media from viewers.

 

The Kapamilya network embraced the new norm under the COVID-19 pandemic by accelerating its digital pivot. It pulled off a successful finale of The Voice Teens Season 2 by having the 12 finalists perform in their own homes.

On the other hand, when Ang Sa Iyo ay Akin starring Jodi Sta. Maria, Iza Calzado and Sam Milby premiered on 17 August, it became the first ABS-CBN series to entirely launch on digital via Kapamilya Online Live, aside from airing on cable on the Kapamilya Channel.

These are just the icing on the its wide array of fresh digital offerings, undiscovered perhaps by many.

ABS-CBN Films, for instance, used its YouTube and Facebook accounts as platforms for original content. Star Cinema streamed a weekly talk show called I Feel U hosted by Toni Gonzaga and the first-ever visual podcast in the Philippines, The Four Bad Boys and Me.

Black Sheep launched the massive boy love (BL) hit series Hello Stranger that has become the most-watched Filipino digital series with over 13 million views.

The company’s subsidiary, Creative Programs Inc. has joined the Pinoy live-streaming app Kumu with a string of digital shows at the FYE (For Your Entertainment) Channel, such as Bawal Ma-Stress Drilon with Ces Drilon, Rise Here Right Now with young Rise artists, among others.

The irony is, after taking a beating in Congress, ABS-CBN is still leading, investing and keeping the industry alive with many offerings on cable and satellite TV, digital and music.

While others wait for better days, ABS-CBN continues to find ways to serve Filipinos who are tired of watching replays in their homes. It has even launched a virtual talent contest, Ultimate Bida Star, to search for a new idol online — completely knocking off some people’s expectations that it is slowing down.

ANGELICA Panganiban stars in ‘Walang Hanggang Paalam.’
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF ABS

FDCP update
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) is sizzling this September.

“Sine Sandaan,” the year-long celebration of the centennial of Philippine cinema that the government agency kicked off in September last year, is about to end. FDCP is now in the thick of preparations for “Sine Sandaan: The Next 100.

All of FDCP’s programs for the month reflect the agency’s vision and hope of ushering Philippine cinema into the future through innovation, collaboration and solidarity.

FDCP chair and CEO Liza Diño, who in July and August was criticized for alleged overstepping of duties, said: “This September marks the official closing of the celebration of 100 years of Philippine cinema. Despite the pandemic, the FDCP wants to ensure that our efforts will meaningfully honor this once-in-a-lifetime event through various events, activities and programs all year round. And as we close Sandaan, we open our ‘Next 100’ by launching several initiatives as we look forward to a better, more sustainable and progressive hundred years.”

 

MULTIMEDIA star Toni Gonzaga.

The FDCP held an online edition of the Film Industry Conference (FIC) on 11 to 15 September. Launched in 2017, the FIC brings together international film industry experts and stakeholders to discuss the latest trends,  opportunities, platforms and cooperation that Filipino producers and filmmakers can explore for the development, production and distribution of their projects with the intent of crossing beyond local borders.

The 2020 FIC was held on Zoom and featured eight sessions free and accessible to the public. The sessions were streamed for free on the FDCP Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The conference also featured six master classes for film industry professionals and enthusiasts. Both public sessions and master classes were led by international speakers and mentors who are leading experts in their fields.

This year’s edition of FIC had FDCP partnered with local and international organizations, festival and film labs. The partnerships included streaming giant Netflix, Locarno Film Festival, Rotterdam Lab and Full Circle Lab.

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