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ABS-CBN preserves classical movies to a higher quality through digital film restoration and remastering

Cinema is an art form that is a vital part of a nation’s culture. Beyond being a source of entertainment, films serve as cultural artifacts that help us understand our society and the prevailing ideas of the time. Its visual mode of storytelling has the power of creating a unique experience for its audience, but for people to actually experience a film even after decades, a copy preferably in the original film format has to first be accessible. Preservation, therefore, is vital since film deteriorates without proper care.

Remastering is a painstaking process, with every frame of the negative being scanned electronically to create a digital facsimile. Each frame can be digitally polished to remove noise and scratches. Colours and contrast from fast-fading film stock can also be sympathetically enhanced for an on-screen look that’s literally as good as new.

When film restoration in the country is being talked about, the first thing that will come into mind is the restoration of classic Filipino films the likes of Himala and Oro Plata Mata. But for ABS-CBN Film Archives, the country’s pioneer in locally restoring and remastering films, the preservation of Filipino films is not limited to old titles but also covers recent ones.

Star for All Season Gov. Vilma Santos and ABS-CBN Film Archives head Leo Katigbak

ABS-CBN’s head of Film Archive Mr. Leo Katigbak said;

“Even more recent films have some defects that were not important enough to fix during its initial commercial run in theaters or were unnoticeable in a standard definition television broadcast.  However, today’s more sophisticated technologies require crisper images and more picture clarity so we need to address these defects as we convert the old SD films in to High-Definition.”

“Many restoration efforts stop once the work on the film is completed but that is really only half the process.  The more important part is how do you get that new version of the film exposed to a brand new audience that may be experiencing what we did all those many years ago for the very first time.”

They started restoring films late 2011 and started with 1982 Ishmael Bernal’s Himala and followed by 1982 Peque Gallaga’s Oro, Plata, Mata. Today, they were able to restore 63 movies and made it a higher quality.

The purpose of restoration is to restore and provide a showcase of classic films to new generations of Filipinos. It is the first in Asia to do a multi-platform campaign to promote and reintroduce a digitally remastered film to the current generation of audiences.

Last February 5, 2015, ABS-CBN held the screening of 3 Vilma Santos’ remastered movies entitled Anak, Kapag Langit ang Humatol, and Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? in University of the Philippines. Star for All Season Gov. Vilma Santos attended the last screening “Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?” where people from press, writers and fans truly enjoyed. Vilma Santos wished to see her 15 more movies to be restored soon.


ABS-CBN Film Archives already restored classic titles namely Himala, Oro Plata Mata, Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon, Virgin People, Hindi Nahahati Ang Langit, among the recent titles restored were Star Cinema’s hit movies Miss You Like Crazy, One More Chance, Milan, Tanging Yaman, Anak, Feng Shui, and My Amnesia Girl.

ABS-CBN Film Archives continues its commitment to collect, preserve, store, and provide access to titles that defined the Philippines’ cinematic legacy.

“We want the audience to experience important titles in Philippine cinema history as if they were brand new and as if they were shot today,” said Leo Katigbak, Head of ABS-CBN Film Archives .

Some of these restored films are available to the public via theatrical releases, DVDs, free-to-air television via ABS-CBN, cable television via Cinema One, and global television via TFC. Some are also available on iTunes, which is another first made possible by ABS-CBN Film Archives.

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