The Philippines trip for my film has now officially been confirmed. The booking of the flights (along with production equipment) have been paid up and confirmed. We are set to fly on 31st January to 21th February 2013. This will give us 21 days to shoot in both Cebu and Dipolog before returning home.
The question here then is why The Philippines? Why Cebu? Why Dipolog? My answers are as follows:
1. In 2011 Arsenal football club began huge steps in their commercial campaign by jet setting around the other side of the world to work on relationships in other markets around the world. Singapore, China, Malaysia and now Indonesia (summer 2013) have all be visited to great success in developing strong commercial ties with big Asian countries. The Philippines however has not been visited yet for whatever reason and this felt like the right time to make the film around a different country not previously visited by the club. Without “bigging” the project up, this film will almost do Arsenal a commercial favor in promoting the club in a new audience and giving the club some well needed PR there.
2. The Philippines Arsenal supporters club are not yet official in the club’s books, well according to the club’s Facebook page comments anyway. I felt like this film could help enhance, if all goes well their reputation in successfully applying for ‘official’ status.
3. Cebu as a city seemingly lies in the shadow of often used, often misrepresented, Manila which harbors over one fifth of the country’s population. Although a lot of Arsenal supporters in the country lie within Manila, Cebu is one of the places which feels less presented and as fans come from within Cebu itself, it feels defiantly worth the visit. I’m not saying also it will, but the film could be a great way to promote tourism there too.
Dipolog also offers a great alternative for the film to show another side of The Philippines in its great rural landscape, culture and amazing people there too. This side needs to be seen and will be a beautiful contrast to an already very cultured palate.
4. Having already got my DOP on board for this film I know she is very good at creating startling good images and therefore the film should be the perfect backdrop for a really cinematic film which should capture the essence of The Philippines as well as benefiting the film in its entirety.
5. Lastly the reason for is personal reasons. Having spent six weeks there in the summer 2012 I felt like I managed to take a grasp on the country and all that goes with it and hopefully this will be a help rather than a first time perspective style hindrance (lets call that trip a recce!). I feel then that I can bring out the best in what I already know about the people, the way of life and the culture to the audience.