Microcinemas Around Manila for Your Local Indie Movie Fix
by Jace Amodo, April 29, 2019 7:00pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
With the rise of streaming platforms, there's no denying that most of us have embraced the "couch potato" mode—why go to cinemas when you can binge shows online, anyway? In effect, many cinemas have become exclusively reserved for Hollywood and other blockbuster films, giving indie films (especially local ones) a lesser chance of extended time slots or a slot to begin with.
The rise of microcinemas has paved the way for indie film directors to show the world their masterpiece when a few theaters would. Great indie films such as Heneral Luna and Birdshot don't always fare to the masses, but thanks to the cinephiles who've built an appetite for going to these mini-theaters, we have no shortage of indie films. But as much as we moviegoers need microcinemas, they need us too.
Grab a tub of popcorn and enjoy a different theater experience at these microcinemas inside Manila.
95 Maginhawa Street, Quezon City
Intimate space: check! Inclusive bathrooms: check! Quezon City’s premiere microcinema, Cinema Centenario (CC), celebrates 100 years of Philippine Cinema by providing home to the best local indie films. CC is hard to miss when passing by Maginhawa Street, so you get an idea of how to kick start or end your stroll around this food and art strip. Plus, CC organizes its film festivals on top of partnerships with similar events, which is a testament to its "premiere" label.
Cinema76 Film Society
160 Luna Mencias Street, San Juan City; 3/F Anonas LRT City Center, Quezon City
Cinema76 is aptly named because of the “Golden Year” of Philippine Cinema marked by Filipino classics, Lino Brocka’s Insiangand Eddie Romero's Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon, to name a few. This microcinema is dedicated to shaping a new Golden Age of Philippine Cinema, by supporting today's filmmakers. They also screen foreign-language films from time to time for diversity.
Cinematheque Centre Manila
855 T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila
Cinematheque Centre is the baby of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the authority in any film-related associations in the country. The institution not only screens films but also host film festivals and skill enhancement programs for aspiring Filipino filmmakers—all government-backed.
Alliance française de Manille
209 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel-Air II, Makati City
Love the French culture? Alliance Française de Manille (AFM) has everything French from classes to cuisine, and films too! At Cinè Club, AFM presents French Cinema to the Filipino audience, closing the gap between two diverse cultures through the arts.
CCP Arthouse Cinema
CCP Dream Theater, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Located inside the premiere performing arts center in the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), CCP Arthouse Cinema can house up to 100 people—bigger than most microcinemas. The CCP Arthouse Cinema screens indie films for free every second and last Thursdays of the month, much to every cinephiles' delight. Among the films they open to public viewing are entries to the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), which is also one of CCP's main projects.
UPFI Film Center Magsaysay Avenue, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City
University of the Philippines Film Institute (UPFI) has made its mark in the local film industry for its establishment in early 1976, supporting local cinema and mentoring aspiring filmmakers ever since. The 50-seater videotheque offers an intimate movie-viewing sans our common cinema pet peeves, no incessant noise, phone screen lights, and what-have-you. Videotheque is the mini version of UPFI's Cine Adarna, which can hold up to 745 people.
Black Maria Cinema
779 San Rafael Street, SQ Film Laboratories Building, Plainview, Mandaluyong City
The most recent addition to the roster of microcinemas around the metro is Black Maria Cinema, situated at the heart of Mandaluyong. Though a newcomer, Black Maria has already held advance film screening and has partnered with prestigious film festivals such as Cinema One Originals. Visit Black Maria’s humble abode to experience not only its beauty but also the pleasure of intimate film viewing.
For more information, visit Black Maria Cinema on Facebook.
To say microcinemas are underrated is an understatement. The venue, the experience, and the film lineup hardly underwhelm. Microcinemas are the epitome of small spaces with big missions; these are intimate spaces that celebrate local and foreign films in all its glory and shape the next Golden Age of Philippine Cinema for the future generation. Besides, you get to be several rows away from great filmmakers, which means you'll have the chance to ask them your long-sought-after film-related answers. That's something you don't always get at cinemas.