Movies & TV

Creators of Heneral Luna and Goyo TBA Studios to Invest P500 Million in Filipino Film Industry

Is this the start of the next golden age of cinema?

Every film buff knows the name: TBA Studios (Tuko Film Productions Inc., Buchi Boy Entertainment, and Artikulo Uno Productions), the masterminds behind critically acclaimed local films like Heneral Luna, Goyo, Bliss, Birdshot, Neomanila, and Smaller and Smaller Circles. Now, the film outfit is planning to gift audiences with even more top-caliber local content as it invests over P500 million ($10 million) in producing and marketing local content over the next three to five years.

Seeing the potential in the Philippine film industry, TBA Studios’ president Vincent Nebrida remarked, “There is so much opportunity for filmmakers today, even if many think the local film industry is struggling.”

The studio itself is a testament to that fact. Its historical epic Heneral Luna earned P300 million in the box office alone.

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“My forecast is as the Philippine economy grows, so will the movie industry,” explained Nebrida. The international and local film veteran also shared TBA Studios’ outlook on industry disrupters, seeing digital platforms as “growth opportunities” instead of threats.

Three of their top films, Heneral Luna, Birdshot, and Goyo, were among the first Filipino films bought by Netflix to stream on its platform. Balancing the demands of streaming and cinema, TBA Studios’ theaters like Cinema ’76 continue to strongly advocate the full cinema experience.

Photo by TBA Studios.

When it comes to the craft and art of film, “the business side of everything comes second to our creative vision,” said co-CEO Eduardo Rocha. This is a rare thing to find in an industry that’s driven by popularity and sales, but it also explains why TBA Studios has managed to provide us with some of the best local films of the century. And we’re not exaggerating. Heneral Luna and Goyo were one of the best local films ever produced, and the fact that more films of that caliber are on the way is a gift to fans and the film world. The studio's fans have already dubbed its historical films as part of the TBA Bayani Cinematic Universe, and we can’t help but agree.

It’s too soon to say whether this new investment is heralding the new golden age of cinema, but with projects like The Color of Fire, an epic World War II family drama, on the way, it wouldn’t be a far stretch.

TBA Studios currently plans to release three to five films a year. The film outfit has also launched Writer’s Room, a workshop and training ground for aspiring scriptwriters interested in being mentored by the industry’s best.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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