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Title: Pinoy Indie, Inc. : the cultural economy of distribution and Philippine independent cinema
Author: Lim, Michael Kho
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 5776
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates the cultural economy of film distribution set against the backdrop of Philippine independent cinema. Considered as the business centre of filmmaking, film distribution is typically studied from an economic perspective and traditionally falls outside the remit of film studies. However, the role that economics play in filmmaking cannot be regarded as an exclusive object or subject in the field of business and economics and not of the arts, since film is both a cultural good and economic commodity. As such, this thesis offers a more balanced viewpoint by taking on a humanities perspective in analysing and understanding the complex interplay of culture and economics as applied to Philippine cinema. The project also provides an Asian context to a generally western-dominated approach to the study of film distribution and thereby contributes to the (now) growing literature on distribution studies situated in the larger area of film studies. This thesis employs in-depth interview and case study analysis in addressing the central issue of how the independent sector struggles to access the various film distribution platforms in an attempt to sustain itself. The first chapter positions my research in the field, surveys existing scholarship on independent cinema and film distribution, and sets up the theoretical grounding of this thesis on the cultural economy framework. The second chapter fleshes out the notion of independence in filmmaking and contextualises the study by outlining the historical development of Philippine independent cinema. The third chapter analyses the interaction between mainstream and independent cinema and the current shifting movements happening between the two sectors. The next four chapters examine the film distribution and exhibition practices in the Philippines and how these affect the relationship of the mainstream and independent sectors and address the sustainability issue of the independents. Chapter Four lays out the conceptual framework of film distribution and exhibition as intermediary spaces and maps out a historical landscape of film distribution and exhibition in the Philippines. This is followed by an overview of the film distribution economy spectrum, namely, formal, semi-formal, and informal. Chapter Five explores the formality of the traditional platforms of theatrical and non-theatrical distribution method, while Chapter Six discusses the formality of the emerging distribution and exhibition platforms that utilise new media technologies. Both chapters present the challenges that independent filmmakers face in passing through the layers of gatekeepers in order to bring the film to its audience. Chapter Seven sets out a clearer definition of the semi-formal distribution economy and cites different self-distribution methods to illustrate and support my claim. This chapter also looks into the informal distribution method of piracy and its constructive effects on independent filmmaking. It also explains how technology is changing the role of the audience from being a passive consumer to an active producer to a dynamic distributor. Lastly, Chapter Eight probes into the identity of the Philippine film industry and the role of the state, their implications on cultural or film policy development, and how these elements impact the overall state of Philippine cinema.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Monash University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures