For decades now, the Philippines has been one of the biggest contributors to online piracy, with illegal songs, series, movies, books, and the like, getting passed on from one person to another without costing even a single Peso to honor its original publishers and distributors. In the age of streaming and content, especially during an ongoing period of lockdown, the numbers continue to rise up as Filipinos feel more and more entitled to online content, regardless if it’s obtained legally or not.
One local film that pirates just couldn’t resist recording and downloading is the award-winning production of Fan Girl. Originally premiered as part of the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival in December of last year, where viewers were charged P250 for its virtual ticket, the film instantly became a hit for its uniquely disturbing take on fan culture and idolatry. As the buzz around the movie grew louder and more animated, and even more so when it won “Best Film,” among a number of other awards, more people wanted to check out why Filipinos online kept praising and analyzing the film.
“What is this hype all about?” — This curiosity ultimately led to the widespread sharing of several Torrent links for the movie where pirates can freely get on the buzz surrounding it without paying a single centavo. Even while the MMFF was ongoing and still on the early days of the festival, the pirated copy was already making waves on the sidelines of Filipino society.
However, the team behind Fan Girl, as soon as they caught wind of the situation, set on a relentless campaign to take down digital pirates. Director Antoinette Jadaone, Producer Quark Henares, Actors Paulo Avelino and Charlie Dizon, and the whole Fan Girl community became very vocal online to call out these perpetrators, and to emphasize the importance of ending this culture for the good of all film workers.
The team presented the seriousness of the issue by filing legal actions against those who illegally distributed the film, making a unified statement about how truly, piracy is a crime.
The MMFF has officially closed its program on January 7, 2021, but the demand is still high for the highly talked-about film. So, in response, Fan Girl has announced an extended screening period worldwide on streaming platforms iWantTFC, Upstream, TFC, and KTX.PH for paying subscribers, or one-time viewers for P250. This extension is also an effective way to discourage viewers from resulting to piracy now that the festival is over.
Bottomline is, piracy is not, and will never be, okay. Years of conceptualizing, writing, shooting, and editing, go into the two-hour films we so desperately consume, and hundreds of film workers have dedicated their time and energy to produce it. Watching these films illegally is stealing, and will only hinder the growth and prosperity of the film industry and its workers. And in 2021, where so many of us are still struggling financially with the new realities of this pandemic-induced world, we should all be working together to make sure everybody gets compensated properly for their work.
Fan girl or not, let’s meet our idols the legal way.
If you want to catch up and check on the award-winning film. Visit https://solo.to/watchfangirl to watch Fan Girl on iWantTFC, Upstream, TFC, or KTX.PH.