Filtered By: Lifestyle

Cinemalaya films uploaded to YouTube without authorization

(Updated 2:31 p.m.) The night before independent film festival Cinemalaya's awarding ceremonies, several Pinoy filmmakers were shocked to find their films uploaded in full and for free on the video sharing website YouTube.

Film critic Philbert Dy first posted the link late Saturday night to the official Cinemalaya website which contained uploads of Cinemalaya films, some from as recent as last year. Dy also linked to the YouTube account that hosted the said videos.

For their part, filmmakers who found out their works were uploaded confirmed that the Cinemalaya festival did so without their permission.

“Cinemalaya uploading our films for free is basically them putting our works in the public domain while we're still alive and trying to make money out of them. I've already personally written them to take down Sana Dati but I hope most of us will be in agreement on this that this is a sign of blatant disrespect to filmmakers. I hope the alumni can also take their own steps in putting a stop to this stupid, stupid act,” director Jerrold Tarog wrote on the film appreciation group Pinoy Cinephiles.

Young filmmaker Ida del Mundo, whose debut film "K'na, The Dreamweaver" is screening at the festival, said that the situation was "unfortunate" because Cinemalaya and filmmakers have had a good relationship over the years.

"We are still trying to get more details on what really happened and my batch is also crafting our formal response," she said. "Personally, I think we have to go back to the reason we make indie films—to tell a story, to present fresh perspectives, to enrich our audiences with art. Making money is not part of the core of indie spirit for filmmakers. In the same way, our work should not be treated as commodities to promote a brand. I understand the need to make money and make the festival more sustainable, but there should be a clearer dialogue between the organizers and the filmmakers and respect for the many artists involved in making each film."


But while the uploads on the festival’s official website looked like it was sanctioned by Cinemalaya, an apology posted Saturday night on the Cinemalaya Facebook page claimed that a member of the festival's technical staff uploaded the files without permission.

“Only half an hour ago we got wind of the fact that Cinemalaya films were uploaded by Janssen Agbada, technical personnel of the Cinemalaya website yesterday. We apologize for this situation which we had no idea of nor were we aware of what or who caused or gave instruction for her to upload the films,” the apology read.

The account was shut down shortly after the Cinemalaya foundation posted the apology.

“Please rest assured we have reached Janssen already and we will make sure her YouTube account will be disabled or shut down to avoid further damage. Again, our apologies for this situation...” they said.

However, filmmakers and critics have expressed on social media that they are worried the films may have been downloaded and distributed by those who were able to get copies before the account was shut down. — Patricia Denise Chiu with a report by Bong Sta. Maria/BM, GMA News