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Creative Futures 2021 Tackles What Is Instore for the Philippine Creative Industry

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For its fourth edition, CREATE Philippines is presenting its flagship event this year through “Creative Futures,” a two-day online conference featuring the country’s top creatives in animation, advertising, communication design, game development, digitized creative content, comic and illustration, and more. Aligned to its goals, the annual industry promotion platform promises a showcase of the Philippines’ creative industry’s capabilities.

Creative Futures aims to know what’s next for the Filipino creative and what challenges and opportunities are in their future. It’s an online event that is worth every creative’s time — an opportunity to get to know the geniuses in the industry and get insights to better understand the complex world of being a creative, especially during a pandemic. During the online event, which took place on June 28-29, 2021, guest speakers discussed what the future looks like for the creative industry.

Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman shared in a nutshell what their mission is. “From 2017 – 2019, CREATE Philippines has focused on IP-based content industry like animation, game development, music and performing arts, communication design, and advertising. CREATE Philippines launches a full digital program to support the creative industry despite the pandemic. The first of which is our creative future digital conference, which will serve as our flagship event to bring industry leaders, practitioners, and enthusiasts together in one forum, with the goal of bringing together the different creative industries in the country.”

Photo from Facebook (@abdulganimacatoman)

“Beyond this event, we will also be launching promotions and lead generation platforms through  createphilippines.com.  We will build a community of creatives who will have a unified space to collaborate and have an exchange of ideas. The website will also feature stories and news about brands, projects, and opportunities for the creative sector. This platform will be further developed to become a hub for creatives to showcase their portfolios not only with local clients but open them up to an international audience,” he added.

Photo from Facebook (@createphilippines)

It’s been apparent how the pandemic caused the halt in operations across museums, festivals, live music events, theatre productions, cinemas, and other communal art activities. It has then become more crucial that the creative industry start getting prioritized. As per the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), The Cultural and Creative Industries (or CCIs) were among the most affected when COVID-19 cases in the Philippines were at its peak. Jobs were at risk ranging from 0.8% to 5.5% across OECD regions.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez underlined how the pandemic has affected the creative industry. “The pandemic has shown us how essential creativity is to our well-being as we found solace and resilience in films, series, music and dance. In the Philippines, the local creative industries numbered around 305,000 establishments  or 30.5% of total establishments in the country last year, many of which were affected by the series of community quarantine lockdowns. However, some continued full onsite operations, while others applied other alternative arrangements, or even stopped operations.”

Photo from Facebook (@dtisecretaryramonmlopez)

He continued to recount how the industry struggled when the pandemic hit and said, “During the stricter lockdowns of the ECQ last year, about 38% of total establishments had to stop operating. This went down to 4% as the economy was reopening during the GCQ in the 3rd and 4th quarter of last year, although the surge in Covid cases last March and April required us to temporarily again escalate the community quarantine to ECQ, and then down to MEQC, and now GCQ in NCR+. Given this data, this showed that the government’s efforts had to be gradual and calibrated in order to prevent any surge in Covid cases while bringing back jobs for the people.”

Photo from Facebook (@dtisecretaryramonmlopez)

“Even the world recognizes the power of the Global Creative Economy, cited as one of the most rapidly growing sectors and contributing 3% to the global GDP. The Cultural and Creative Industries (or CCIs) generates 2.25 billion US dollars annually and the cultural sector employs 30 million people worldwide according to UNESCO,” Lopez stressed.  

Pangasinan 4th District Representative Christopher de Venecia was also at the event and took up House Bill No. 8101 or Philippine Creative Industries Development Act.

Photo from Facebook (@christopherdevenecia)

The bill aims to help those sectors with growth potential get the necessary assistance and support to power through globally. Moreover, it will help the creative industries adversely affected by the pandemic to survive the current challenges.                     

It also points out that despite the fact that Filipinos have been achieving international fame and receiving accolades in their respective creative fields, the local government have had given the smallest of aid. The act intends to address the absence of an agency to support the planning, leadership, and implementation of programs to boost Philippine creative industries.

“Creativity can be sexy, but also be cumbersome. There are many issues and institutional bottlenecks that incumber creatives. From R&B, marketing, education, trade, and export. There are various pinpoints across their respective value chains. And while we achieve labor to achieve significant gains for the Philippine Creative Industries through sectors specific legislation, the one definitive Bill that truly needs to pass is the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act.”

Photo from Facebook (@createphilippines)

The provisions of the bill were carefully crafted through five lengthy congressional hearings. But De Venecia aptly came up with a simple acronym that strikes at the heart of this collective effort.

C – entralization and coordination

O – rganization

L – ocal creativity

L – ongterm planning

A – id and protection

B – business development

The proposed law consolidates previous bills supporting creative industries, making it the most comprehensive Philippine creative economy legislation filed to date.

Traditional cultural expressions; music and the performing arts; architecture and interior services; animation and digitized creative content; audio-visual, broadcast, and interactive media; cultural sites; visual arts are some of the artistic industries covered. The list goes on as may be determined by the council.

According to de Venecia, while he may not be truly practicing in the industry at the moment, he was always immersed in something creative. He stated, “It was fascinating to see how interconnected everything in the creative industries were. It makes you wonder, if the Philippine Creative Industries decided to go on strike, what might that look like for a country so heavily dependent on them. From the podcast we listen to, the books we read, the apps we use, the restaurants we dine in, the museums and libraries we visit? Everything is creative. Our economy, it seems, is very much creative — you just don’t realize it.”

The lawmaker also underscored, “If we want creatives to help us create a better world then we need to help creatives.  By helping them, we help everyone as well – our businesses, our culture, our country. We need to come together as a community to create a future where the kids of today want to be the creatives of tomorrow.”

Photo from Facebook (@createphilippines)
Photo from Facebook (@createphilippines)

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Facebook (@createphilippines)

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