The Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) plays a vital role in raising the Status of the Philippine and Chinese Cinemas, an Executive of the National Committee on Cinema (NCC) said on Friday.

“What binds us all regardless of time, space and geography are the common stories that we share, the universal stories that define our shared humanity. Cinema reflects the heart of every human story whether in China or in the Philippines,” NCC Executive Committee Member Vicente Nebrida said in his speech at the BRI China-Philippines Forum in Pasay City.

“Cinema is the belt that can keep the world tight as one singular community and cinema is also the road that can lead to one singular goal. One shared vision of a world of peace, harmony, and understanding,” Nebrida added.

Stressing that both countries can utilise the BRI to enrich their respective cultures, Nebrida cited steps to improving the state of each other’s local cinema.

“We can have a mutual film festival alliance. We can program Chinese films into our local film festivals, in return, local film festivals in China like the Shanghai Film Festival can program and screen Filipino films regardless whether their short films of full-length features in their festivals,” he said.

Nebrida also suggested about student and professional travel exchange programs where Filipino film students and professionals can travel to China to learn new skills and technologies in crafting films.

“Theatrical distribution arrangements where Chinese films can be screened in select cinemas in Metro Manila and nationwide and, again, vice versa. Apart from learning about each other’s cultures through film subtitles, these can create a market, an opportunity to generate additional revenues for the commercial films involved,” he said.

For Filipinos to have a better understanding of the Chinese culture, Nebrida advised the consulate to schedule a monthly event where Chinese films will be screened and where the films’ cast and director could be interviewed.

“An online festival where Chinese and Filipino films can be screened at any given time can provide for an opportunity for filmmakers to connect for forecasting or pitching a story for potential funds or an opportunity for China and the Philippines to create films that will have a global audience,” he added