While 2014 brought us the slight return of the Space Opera and the final death throes of those cumbersome 3-D glasses, 2015 looks to show that Philippine cinema and Hollywood have learned some lessons along the way. So Pinoy cinephiles, lift up your eyelids and perk up your ears.
Here are 8 trends you movie brats should watch out for. (Note: I separated them into two categories [Philippine cinema and International Cinema], four items for each.)
8. Books and Movies: The Great New Alliance
Naysayers be damned. Even though most of us are reading She’s Dating A Gangster and are still a few novels shy before graduating to Marcel Proust, hey, at least we’re starting somewhere.
Just as America had mined Gone Girl and The Fault in Our Stars, local movie producers are wising up and embracing the cross-platform business model of novels and movies. Viva has acquired Psicom Publishing. The Wattpad app, an online writing platform with crowd-sourced editing capabilities, birthed hits such as Ang Diary Ng Panget and Talk Back And You’re Dead. Ramon Bautista’s self-help book Bakit Hindi Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo? had been jerry-built into a Star Cinema product to impressive box-office returns.
It’s a no-brainer: It seems to me that Filipinos are now having more fun experiencing their narratives twice—on the page, and on the screen. And if there’s reading involved, that’s always a good thing.
7. A New Power Player: Antoinette Jadaone
Move over, Cathy Garcia-Molina. There’s a new babaeng bakla in town and her name is Antoinette Jadaone. A graduate of the UP Film Institute and helmer of the cult indie hit Six Degrees of Separation From Lilia Cuntapay, this young, whip-smart writer-director is the queen-to-be of Star Cinema’s commonwealth of romantic comedies. Just for 2014 alone, she has made three films (Beauty In A Bottle, That Thing Called Tadhana and Relaks, It’s Just Pag-Ibig), not to mention, reaping a handful of trophies for scripting the MMFF darling pick English Only, Please.
Looks like Star Cinema has found its new crown jewel: One with an intimate knowledge of beki humor and just enough quirk to make their conveyor belt products slightly askew.
6. A Tsunami of Rom-Coms From Star Cinema
So yes, expect a surfeit of rom-coms this year and the tried-and-tested tropes that come along: the odd jobs, the comic relief sidekicks, the healthy servings of beki humor, and those overused social media-inspired motion graphics done with After Effects.
5. The Independents Will Smarten Up
And yes, despite the triumphs of filmmakers such as Lav Diaz, Brillante Mendoza and Adolf Alix Jr. in international festivals, it remains a sad fact that not a lot of Filipinos are watching independent films, as Eugene Domingo groused in an a press conference last year.
But independent filmmakers are smart people. Distribution models are being set-up right now by small agencies. Hopefully, these would allow lesser-known Filipino films to be screened through a subscription fee. Only time will tell until we will have our version of Spotify for our very own indie films.
4. The End of The Dark Superhero Movie
With Guardians of the Galaxy being the top-grossing movie of 2014, superheroes will embrace their silliness again and own up to a much brighter color palette. The genre will be less serious fare and will aim for fun aplenty. Hey, it’s all just a cycle. Watch out for Marvel’s upcoming Ant-Man, to see what I mean.
3. More Marketed-For-Everyone Films
If you’re pining for quieter and more intimate fare like a Noah Baumbach movie, it looks like you have to watch them on your laptop.
2. Less Edgier Comedy
Edgier and topical comedies may take a backseat; a more wholesome family-friendly approach may be the order of the day, which may be a good thing or a bad thing.
1. More Marvel-Inspired Franchise Models
And if it worked for Marvel Studios (as they are fast becoming the most well-known global brand of storytellers) why shouldn’t the others play copycat and create their own playpens?
This franchise model–unheard of before in the history of Hollywood—will be studied, dissected, and mined by marketing boffins. And then movie narratives will unspool for a hundred years like a never-ending multi-billion soap opera.
Do you have any movie predictions for the year? Share them in the comments section below!