Call for Papers extended to August 30: Special Issue on Vernacular and Regional Cinemas in the Philippines

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Written by CMC-ORP posted on Monday, January 15th, 2018

The rich history of cinema in the Philippines has been simultaneously blessed and cursed with a long series of significant but contentious debates. Though not always framed as such, much of the disagreement is a result of the nation’s historical battles with colonialism and how that experience problematized the concept of an easily definable national cinema. This special issue of Plaridel looks at the development and emergence of vernacular and regional cinemas in the Philippines in the context of these contested histories. It argues for the cultural importance of the country’s sub-national territories and their cinematic expression in the age of transnational media.

One of the earliest and most prescient questions that served to challenge a coherent narrative about the Philippine cinema was the question of language.¬† With the arrival of cinema in the Philippines and the emergence of films made by Filipinos with Tagalog titles and eventually, with the coming of sound, spoken Tagalog, it seemed that Philippine cinema was on its way to becoming a well-defined national cinema. ¬†However, Tagalog was and remains the language of the capital, a language much of the archipelago’s inhabitants felt was imposed upon them. What then, was this national cinema that only spoke from the vantage point of political and economic power? What of the multitude of other Filipino languages? Could a Filipino cinema ever claim the title of a proper national cinema if it only recounted capital narratives in the capital language?

This issue of Plaridel focuses on Philippine regional cinemas, a concept that currently finds its celebration in a number of regional film festivals such as Salamindanaw, Mindanao Film Festival, Binisaya, CineKasimanwa, the inter-regional Cinema Rehiyon, and many others. However, the term regional has thus far been used in a predominantly popular sense and assumes a common and discrete understanding, whereas a region is a historically and theoretically complicated concept to articulate. In the Philippines the term region comes with the added complication that the country was not regionalized until the 1970s under the Marcos regime. Thus, the concept of the region in this issue is neither discrete nor monological; it approaches the question of the region from a multitude of disciplinary vantage points, principally spatial, aesthetic and linguistic. What this heterodox approach illustrates is the complex task of identifying what is regional, and this complexity becomes symbolic in that it describes the difficulties of the notion of a discrete region, while at the same time demonstrating the need for many discourses to help narrate, and in effect, construct a region’s cultural, political, territorial and aesthetic identities. In this way regional cinema is no longer (contrary to its popular articulation), reflective of the expressive cultural elements of a given territory but rather, it is itself a necessary condition for the construction of the hyper-malleable concept of a region.

Topics for this issue may include but are not limited to:

  • Histories of Philippine regional cinemas
  • Analysis of individual regional films
  • The creation of the Philippine regions and the effect on cinema
  • Language as a determining component of regional cinemas
  • Tensions between national and regional cinemas
  • Regional aesthetics
  • Problems in regional distribution and exhibition
  • Comparative analyses with other regional cinemas outside of the Philippines
  • Problems in defining the region
  • Effects of intra-national migration on regional cinema
  • Religious considerations in regional cinemas

Submission details can be found at

Submissions are to be e-mailed to the Issue Editors and the Managing Editor in MS Word format without any identifying information such as author(s) name and institutional affiliations. Authors should also submit a separate title page with the manuscript title, author name(s), institutional affiliation and contact information for the corresponding author.

For submissions and further inquiries, email:

Paul Douglas Grant, Issue Editor (

Patrick F. Campos, Managing Editor (

Deadline: 30 August 2018