It has become a joke in local show biz—a film suddenly being shown in movie houses without so much as a word about it and its content, or its cast, or its director, to inform viewers and stir their interest.
When a producer screens a film without the necessary drum-beating, the biz is abuzz with the usual catty remarks: Why was the film “hidden (itinago)”? “Wala man lang publicity (No publicity whatsoever)”!
Public awareness is one important factor in selling a film. How can one recoup one’s investment when it bombs at the box office?
One of the causes of an abrupt showing of a movie, common among small companies like indie producers, is the lack of a publicity budget. Big movie factories like Viva Films, Star Cinema, and Regal Entertainment spend millions of pesos on communications and advertising for films before these hit the big screen.
And for a movie and its stars to be written, broadcast, or podcast before its playdate, the publicity bankroll is not the only factor that counts. The promotions have to be innovative—that is to say, “creative,” even “inventive.”
Most of the time, the think tanks of movie outfits concoct controversies among the cast or any other participant of the production in order to whip up consciousness of and interest in it. But orchestrated publicity stunts must be logical as well.
Still, intensive promo doesn’t guarantee a successful turnout at the tills. How can one explain, for example, Nadine Lustre’s “Ulan,” and many other commercial titles, that foiled expectations and did not fare well at the cash register?
Moreover, many well-crafted Filipino movies, even if hardly promoted and classified as artsy-fartsy, are not only appreciated by film buffs and the general audience but also make it to international film circuits. Yet some excellent ones are barely noticed and eventually disappear into oblivion, publicized or not.
In the local constellation of stars, many outstanding performers in any medium are not given space in tabloids, broadsheets, magazines, or even newsletters even if they excel and are imprinted in the hearts and minds of viewers.
For instance, dancing queen Pia Moran may not be your best film actress, but she has shown spectators the finest dance moves, especially during her heyday. She is still doing many TV shows and movies, but she is rarely publicized.
Moran, however, doesn’t blame the press for her low profile. She surmises that entertainment writers have their priorities, especially if invited by big stars or companies.
“Basta nandito lang ako (I’m just here),” she says.
Isadora is another efficient and effective actress who deserves press coverage because at the moment, she is doing a lot of Vivamax screeners.
Is it enough that we brand these stars as low-key or supporting performers only because the market wants to know more about the highly profiled? They deserve equal treatment even if they are perceived as inconsequential.
The likes of Pia, Isadora and many good “little” actors also have their share of stories that should be interesting and relatable to the reading and viewing public. There are significant factors why they don’t always land on papers or are beamed on the airwaves. We reserve these for forthcoming issues.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on the likes of them.
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