Annual Filipino Film Production Chart

Annual Filipino Film Production Chart

[For a larger image, please click on picture.]

From the draft of a forthcoming manuscript:[1]

If we inspect the record of Filipino film production, we also find the medium overcoming all kinds of crises – the World War II Japanese occupation (1941-45), the declaration of martial law (1972), the anti-fascist people-power revolt (1986), the IMF-WB financial crunch (late 1990s) that overlapped with the death of celluloid production. In each instance the rate of production fell, even reaching zero during the Japanese era; but the restoration of relative stability always saw an upsurge in local industrial output – ahead of other media, and in the case of the last crisis, ahead of other Filipino industries (several of which never fully recovered).

Addendum (January 8, 2016):

I have decided to include below a timeline of historical events relevant to a basic understanding of the Philippines and its cinema. My intention was to convert the chart above into an interactive illustration, where one would be able to click on the peak points of certain years and see a timeline entry. Since that would take too much time and effort for me to attend to at the moment, I thought the next best thing would be to provide the timeline itself.


Year Event Total
1896 Execution of Jose Rizal; outbreak of Revolution against Spain.
1897 First film screenings held in the Philippines.
1898 Triumph of Revolution against Spain; US purchases the Philippines from Spain for $23 million in Treaty of Paris.
1899 Outbreak of Philippine-American War.
1900 —α—
1901 Franklin Bell introduces reconcentration camps, prefiguring hamletting in Vietnam.
1902 Jacob “Howling” Smith razes Samar, third largest Philippine island; first labor unions organized.
1903 —α—
1904 US declares end of Philippine “insurrection”; Igorots exhibited as dog-eating head-hunters at St. Louis World’s Fair.
1905 Writ of habeas corpus selectively suspended due to “banditry.”
1906 —α—
1907 Revolutionary General and Tagalog Republic President Macario L. Sakay, tricked into surrendering, is hanged by the US colonial government for alleged banditry.
1908 US colonial government sets up American University of the Philippines.
1909 —α—
1910 Northern nativist leader Apo Ipé captured and executed.
1911 Southern nativist leaders Papa Pablo and Papa Otoy killed in separate battles.
1912 Two Americans simultaneously produce films on the life of José Rizál, declared national hero by US.
1913 —α—
1914 —α—
1915 —α—
1916 Nonhistorical Philippine films start production.
1917 First peasant unions formed.
1918 —α—
1919 First Filipino-produced film completed. 2
1920 —α— 2
1921 —α—
1922 —α—
1923 Anti-American campaign wins senatorial seat for Manuel L. Quezon. 1
1924 Quezon joins independence mission in US, subsequently charged as bogus by nationalist Senator Claro M. Recto.
1925 —α— 3
1926 —α— 2
1927 —α— 5
1928 —α— 2
1929 Major censorship case held on nationalist-themed film release; first imported talkie screened. 7
1930 Communist Party of the Philippines founded; Filipino community attacked in California race riot. 9
1931 Millenarian peasants raid Tayug in Central Luzon. 9
1932 Communist Party outlawed by Supreme Court; first Filipino-produced sound film, George Musser’s Ang Aswang [The Vampire], released. 23
1933 First film sound stage in the Philippines set up. 13
1934 Constitutional Convention held. 14
1935 US inaugurates Philippine Commonwealth, mass protests ensue; first film color laboratory opens. 11
1936 Quezon starts first of two four-year terms as President, to be interrupted by World War II. 15
1937 —α— 29
1938 —α— 48
1939 Falangista movement unites clergy and landlords vs. organized peasants and laborers. 50
1940 Quezon declares limited state of national emergency. 57
1941 Japanese bomb American military installations in the Philippines a few hours after Pearl Harbor, General Douglas MacArthur orders retreat. 45
1942 Bataan and Corregidor fall to Japanese; movie production is state-controlled, theaters turn to stage presentations. 7
1943 Japanese-supervised National Assembly members elected; speaker is Benigno Aquino Sr. 1
1944 First Philippine-set anti-US propaganda movie, The Dawn of Freedom (Abe Yutaka, dir., assisted by Gerardo de Leon), is released by state film agency Eiga Heikusa. 3
1945 Filipino guerrillas, with help from returning Americans, expel Japanese; US reoccupies the Philippines.
1946 Communist anti-Japanese forces wage insurgent war; US grants political independence to the Philippines, arranges special rights for US investors. 35
1947 Military bases agreement signed, providing vast tracts of rent-free land to US. 55
1948 Vertically integrated studio system stabilizes, predominates throughout next decade. 69
1949 —α— 70
1950 President Elpidio Quirino suspends writ of habeas corpus due to insurgency. 74
1951 —α— 71
1952 —α— 77
1953 Former Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay elected President, assists US in Vietnam. 80
1954 —α— 89
1955 —α— 82
1956 —α— 83
1957 Magsaysay dies in plane crash, is succeeded by Carlos P. Garcia, who initiates Filipino-First Policy. 83
1958 World Bank and International Monetary Fund begin giving “aid” and loans to the Philippines. 94
1959 —α— 96
1960 Intensive independent film activity destablizies studio monopoly of production and distribution. 92
1961 US supports Diosdado Macapagal, who becomes next President. 131
1962 Macapagal lifts exchange controls, allows devaluation of Philippine peso. 101
1963 —α— 154
1964 —α— 155
1965 Ferdinand E. Marcos elected President; bio-movie produced as part of his campaign. 202
1966 Marcos resumes extending assistance to US in Vietnam. 186
1967 Nativists led by Tatang de los Santos massacred en route to the presidential palace. 167
1968 Philippine Army’s plan to invade Sabah in Malaysia results in massacre of Muslim trainees; Islamic separatists organize; Communist party re-established. 169
1969 Marcos reelected for second (and Constitutionally last) term; Communist New People’s Army founded. 189
1970 Progressive sectors initiate First Quarter Storm protests; hard-core film pornography flourishes. 225
1971 Marcos suspends writ of habeas corpus; radical students proclaim the “Provisional Directorate” at UP campus. 232
1972 Marcos declares martial law through Presidential Decree 1081; Catholic Bishops and US Chamber of Commerce voice support. 151
1973 New Constitution ratified by viva voce. 156
1974 Lino Brocka’s first independently produced triumph, Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang [Weighed But Found Wanting], starts New Philippine Cinema. 127
1975 First Metro Manila Film Festival is held in June. 160
1976 Military takes over censorship board; film critics organize; MMFF playdate is moved to lucrative Christmas break. 171
1977 Kidlat Tahimik’s Mababangong Bangungot [Perfumed Nightmare] wins critics prize at Berlinale. 146
1978 Interim national assembly elections (where Imelda Marcos is topnotcher) charged with fraud. 143
1979 Brocka is introduced at Cannes’s Directors Fortnight through his film Insiang; Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night is banned for a year. 155
1980 First of annual dry-runs held for Manila International Film Festival; Brocka’s Jaguar competes in Cannes. 170
1981 Lifting of martial law, with extensive curtailment of civil and economic rights still in place. 180
1982 First of two annual Manila International Film Festivals leads to Experimental Cinema of the Philippines, formed by Executive Order 770. 152
1983 Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. assassinated upon arrival from US at Manila International Airport. 134
1984 Reagans welcome Marcoses to White House in state visit; UP introduces undergraduate-level film-degree program. 141
1985 ECP dissolved over mounting protests; new government body, Film Development Foundation of the Philippines, screens hard-core films at Manila Film Center. 151
1986 “People-power” uprising ousts Marcos, installs Aquino’s widow Corazon; Mike de Leon’s full-length video film Bilanggo sa Dilim [Prisoner of the Dark] screens at Sony’s short-lived Wave Cinema. 149
1987 Constitutional Convention stipulates unrepeatable six-year term for President. 120
1988 —α— 103
1989 Refusing burial, Marcos dies in exile in Hawaii. 118
1990 First of series of right-wing coups d’etat is staged against Aquino administration. 134
1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption causes worst volcanic havoc in 20th century; Brocka dies in car crash. 130
1992 Marcos cousin Fidel Ramos, endorsed by Aquino, wins presidential election. 115
1993 Kidnapping incidents of Chinese-Filipinos for ransom escalates; violent film melodramas, spearheaded by Aquino’s daughter, become most popular local genre. 124
1994 —α— 111
1995 —α— 129
1996 Collapse of Asian economies stalls Philippine recovery; Bernal dies of heart failure. 99
1997 Globalization begins via ratification of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. 99
1998 Movie action hero Joseph Estrada wins presidential election. 99
1999 —α— 137
2000 Accused of profiteering from illegal gambling, Estrada is impeached by House of Representatives. 104
2001 Second “people-power” revolt forces Estrada to resign; Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, daughter of then-incumbent President whom Marcos defeated in 1965, is sworn in as successor; Lav Diaz begins his long-form series with Batang West Side [West Side Avenue]. 103
2002 M.A. Film introduced at newly founded UP Film Institute. 94
2003 —α— 80
2004 Arroyo wins full term in controversial presidential elections by defeating Fernando Poe Jr. (who dies a few months later); critics give best-film prize to 11-hour-plus digital film, Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino [Evolution of a Filipino Family]. 56
2005 CineManila (international festival), Cinemalaya (local fest), and Cinema One (TV-sponsored film productions) subsidize and exhibit digital films; digital movies Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros [The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros] (Aureus Solito, dir.) and Kubrador [The Bet Collector] (Jeffrey Jeturian, dir.) garner local and foreign-festival prizes. 55
2006 “Commercial appeal” is used as major criterion in the Metro Manila Film Festival. 61
2007 —α— 79
2008 —α— 83
2009 Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay [Butchered] wins Best Director at Cannes Film Festival; Cathy Garcia-Molina’s You Changed My Life breaches Php 200 million threshold. 113
2010 Benigno Simeon Aquino III (son of Corazon) wins presidential election. 111
2011 Star Cinema sets and breaks three of its own box-office records in succession. 130
2012 Ateneo de Manila University’s Kritika Kultura journal features special issue on Manila by Night. 151
2013 —α— 140
2014 Lav Diaz’s Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon [From What Is Before] wins Golden Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival; Aquino rejects National Commission for Culture and the Arts’s recommendation of Nora Aunor as National Artist. 117
2015 Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna [General Luna] becomes most successful indie-digital production in history. 91
2016 Rodrigo Duterte wins presidential election; Lav Diaz’s Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis [A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery] wins Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, Jacklyn Jose wins Best Actress at Cannes for Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa, Paolo Brillantes wins Best Actor at Tokyo International Film Festival for Jun Robles Lana’s Die Beautiful; Khavn de la Cruz sets Guinness world record for “longest film concert” via Simulacrum Tremendum’s screening at International Film Festival Rotterdam. TBA


[1] The “manuscript” mentioned here became available in early 2018 as Manila by Night: A Queer Film Classic (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017).

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About Joel David

Teacher, scholar, & gadfly of film, media, & culture. [Photo of Kiehl courtesy of Danny Y. & Vanny P.] View all posts by Joel David

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