Search for ‘lost’ Filipino films intensifies
Sofia, the Filipino film archivists’ group, should be congratulated for successfully making the search for “lost” movies currently trendy and important. Its monthly screenings of old Filipino films retrieved from the dustbin of forgetfulness, apathy and neglect have whetted film buffs’ zest for other “rescue” efforts to preserve our rapidly dwindling film patrimony.
Most recently, Sofia got veteran producer Mother Lily Monteverde belatedly interested in preserving her own studio’s huge output for the past years and decades. If other producers are similarly reminded and motivated, succeeding generations of Filipino viewers will no longer be robbed of their cinematic past and future.
Before Sofia, pioneers in local film preservation and archiving included the Sampaguita Pictures studio, which has managed to preserve copies (in various films and/or video formats) of around one-fourth of its vast filmography—a huge and visionary achievement, despite the Sampaguita archives’ limited resources.
Also a pioneer was the late Fernando Poe Jr., who devised his own inexpensive system for preserving the negatives of his studio’s actioners and dramas. Ronnie reaped the financial rewards of his foresight, because it enabled him to show his old films on TV every five years or so.