It’s easy to underplay the role that film blogs played in the rise of the New Filipino cinema. But a lot of discourse took place on these small, personal sites, most often hosted on free platforms like Blogger or Wordpress. This was the space in which voices like Oggs Cruz, Richard Bolisay, and Dodo Dayao emerged, deploying strong opinions that arguably changed the way that people talked about our films. They most certainly served as gateways for discovery for those curious about the independent film scene in the country.
A lot of the old film blogs have gone inactive, however. Blogging as a whole has kind of been supplanted by other means of Internet communication. But also, it seems that a lot of people who were behind these blogs just grew out of delivering these missives out into the Internet for no real personal gain. People have to work, and blogging about Philippine cinema could hardly pay the bills. And then, the pandemic seemed to freeze the ones that remained.
But John Tawasil, on his blog Present Confusion, has never really stopped. Not even the dearth of films in 2020 stopped him from putting together a top ten list of local (ish) films, his devotion to seeking out as much Filipino media as possible resulting in a creative assortment of work that’s genuinely worth seeking out.
Presently, he’s dedicated himself to seeing as many of the 81 films released in 2021, many of them part of the deluge of content that emerged from the streaming platform Vivamax. It’s an admirable undertaking that few would be able handle. Tawasil provides a valuable service in documenting these films, highlighting the strange little gems that emerge from these difficult circumstances, and furthering the discourse on Filipino cinema.
READ: Present Confusion