A Pledge of Allegiance: Film Blogging with Integrity

..from Hototay

film blogging and beyond... [from 2001: A Space Odyssey]

Three years of film blogging is cool but hard. I started as a mediocre and reached the zenith with this long decent article (and its still unfinished); I received comments from mild to harsh, garnered some praises, but was often than not dismissed as a pretentious film academic.

Surprisingly, throughout my blogging life, I have never bashed an airline company for a delay nor I have attended a blogger event for a company or film except for a critic's preview for an upcoming film by Alem Ang and Alvin Yapan last year, Gayuma (2011?). Aside from this, I'm an annual regular attendee of film festivals from June to Decemeber and I have been preoccupied with film studies for two and a half years now and still learning the theories and approaches even today. My blogging life is boring as a whole until one night, September 2, 2009, in the middle of rushing through some org stuff, when my film blogging life has change. I received a very vague text message from my classmate here at UP.

Friend: "Do you [know] Alexis Tioseco?"
Me: "Yes!"
F: "He's on TV right now."
Me: "Oh, he's always on TV every now and then."

opened my Blogger dashboard, dumbfounded by Oggs' feed: Alexis Tioseco (1981 - 2009)

F: "I think he's been murdered or something."
Me: "I know. I'm reading Ogg's post. :("
F: "Who's Oggs?"

I didn't reply.
Another feed from sir noel and sir dodo, and also from chard came along. I felt silence at that moment, I got cold feet.

As oggs, dodo and chard continued Alexis' legacy, I realized that my calling has come: to start writing serious film criticism with integrity, wit and prowess. I took up a Film subject on Philippine Cinema months later. I immerse myself with the local independent scene starting with Titus Brandsma. I met with fellow cinephiles and discussed with them about Philippine Cinema, and started a blogathon site for a fresh new look at film criticism: CINEMATON! CINEMATON! I also formed a facebook group, CINEPHILES! which has amassed possibly the largest social network of film enthusiast in the Philippines.

That simple dream of writing serious film criticism has become a minor goal. During the last few weeks of 2010, I realized the lack of film writers in our country. In my own little way, I started forming projects in order to fill this gap by starting my FILM DECONSTRUCTED series. Still at its infancy, it promises to help most local writers in approaching films. It's a long project and it can possibly lead into a free online film book if ever i get to finish it.

Film blogging is a learning experience. One's opinion on a film does not only concern impressions and personal biases of this and that, but it harbors numerous implications about his film culture environment and it informs us about his guiding principles on making judgments on films. The essence of film blogging is to encourage each and everyone in the film community to partake in the discussion of film without going through the slow and painful process of sending comments and corrections in journals. Film blogging helps not only in offering nonpartisan take on films but also in mediating modern cinephilia of today, as Girish Shambu observes. As it became a more and more complex ordeal with Twitter and Facebook side-by-side, film blogging became a substitute to print published film criticisms of today. As film critics sporadically loose their jobs, they move from the print platform to the online platform where the real ordeal of film criticism continues to grow.

Roger Ebert identifies Manila as one of place where one can find the best critics of cinema today. To maintain the influx of local film critics, I, as a film blogger from Manila, must continuously encourage local cinephiles to start writing intelligent thoughts on cinema. In my own little way, I have succeeded somehow by drawing them into our facebook group, CINEPHILES! and initiating our blogathon site CINEMATON! CINEMATON! I also put up a series of interviews with fellow cinephiles to get to know them better. After all, film is a personal experience.

This is a long way to go. More challenges comes ahead. And by continually blogging with integrity and passion for cinema, I accept the responsibility that not only the words I write but in the shaping of the next batch of local film writers in my own little way. Hence, I pledge:
By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me. I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate. I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability. I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.
I encourage everyone who blog about films to take on this badge.