Thursday, 8 April 2010

Drama from Philippines to the world

Isah V. Red
Manila Standard

In the most recent past, the Filipino television audience have been hooked on drama series from countries in South America, particularly Mexico and Argentina, Asia, most specially Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

Now, it’s the Philippines’ turn to show the world what this small country in the Pacific can offer.

While Filipinos around the world have been enjoying drama series from the Kapamilya network, little many Filipinos in the archipelago know that ABS-CBN programs have become hits in other nations as well.

Recently, Pangako sa ‘Yo was telecast on China’s national television and, believe it or not, it rated second over all local and foreign programs airing in the country. Ten years after Filipinos became so attached to the Kristine Hermosa-Jericho Rosales tandem, the now classic teleserye still appealed to the Chinese audience and even hit the Top 30 list in the national weekly ranking, covering over 2,000 channels and capturing 1.3 billion viewers.

Prior to China, the love story of Angelo Buenavista and Yna Macaspac have mesmerized people in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and even Africa. As Cambodian Nai Hiu Mei recounts, “The teleserye, broadcast here dubbed in Khmer, was so popular that many Cambodian babies have been named Angelo.” The Times of Zambia writer Meluse Kapatamoyo wrote, “The series has become a topic of discussion among families, friends and even neighbors who daily ponder on how the show would end.” René Lötter of One Africa Television said, “When is Pangako sa’Yo coming back?’ I wish I could get a dollar each time I get that question. From teenager to grandma, from household organizers to tax consultant—it’s gripped people across all genders.”

Aside from Pangako sa ‘Yo (known internationally as The Promise), several other homegrown entertainment programs have been brought to a broader global audience through the pioneering efforts of ABS-CBN Global’s International Sales and Distribution (ISD).

Carried by the biggest state television broadcaster in China, Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin (a.k.a. Only You) aired on primetime, alongside Pangako sa ‘Yo. Meanwhile, Sana Maulit Muli (a.k.a. Chances), Maging Sino Ka Man (a.k.a. More Than Love) and Gulong ng Palad (a.k.a. Stand for Love) are expected to be aired in the Republic soon.

Also earning international recognition worldwide is the Angel Locsin-Piolo Pascual starrer Lobo (a.k.a. She-Wolf: The Last Sentinel). In the recently concluded 2009 International Emmy Awards, She-Wolf was recognized for the stellar performance of Angel Locsin who received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress. This recognition is second for the show, which won the Best Telenovela award at the 30th BANFF World Television Festival in Toronto, Canada last year. Currently, the program is enjoying wide viewership in Brunei and is anticipated to be released in other countries in Indo-China, Asia, Europe and Africa this year.

ABS-CBN shows are subtitled and dubbed in several languages, including English, Turkish, Khmer, Mandarin, and French.

One of the programs dubbed in French is Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay (a.k.a. La Longue Attente in French and The Long Wait in English) will cater to French-speaking viewers in Africa and Europe. According to International Sales and Distribution Head Reena Garingan, ABS-CBN programs are easily bought because they resonate to the African audience. “Our writers, directors and actors are able to capture real-life experiences on screen. Our stories show pain and suffering but in the end, give viewers a glimpse of hope. As we demonstrate that obstacles and fear may be overcome, we help mend the broken African spirit,” Garingan said.

For more than a decade, ISD has been the premier source of top quality programs from the Philippines, making ABS-CBN Global the first and the biggest Philippine content distributor in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia-Pacific and the leading Asian distributor in Africa.

Through ISD, Kapamilya shows have become so popular among non-Filipinos that ABS-CBN is now regarded as a market mover and thought leader in the field of broadcasting in Africa. In fact, Garingan recently attended a content and distribution forum to speak in front of leading journalists and broadcasters in Africa and discuss the social and ethical responsibilities of media professionals.

Indeed, ABS-CBN has made its mark in the global market. Through the efforts of ABS-CBN Global’s International Sales and Distribution group, homegrown Pinoy entertainment has been given a chance to shine on the global stage.

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