The Political Economy of Film Distribution in the Philippines

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Abstract

The article provides readers a glimpse of how film entries to the Philippines’ arguably most important and biggest film festival—The Metro Manila Film Festival—are distributed. Interviews with research participants reveal how the business of film distribution is controlled by oligarchs who plot the destiny of films distributed and exhibited in the Philippines where film distribution is highly politically controlled and profit-driven. Distributors play a crucial role in making sure that their films are preferred by both exhibitors and audience. Film as distributors’ commodity is produced and distributed with profit as the end in mind. The capitalists (producer-distributors and exhibitors) have an undeniably strong control of the market—from when films would be played to whom they would compete with. They have structured themselves so well in order to keep the power within themselves as industry players. They have mastered and shaped the market who would continuously crave for movies.