Is the Philippines the Next Global Film Hub?

by Celina Agaton

On March 1st I joined the American Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Industries Committee panel on supporting the Philippine film industry. Per usual, I spoke about the practical aspects of developing the film and creative industry: lack of accurate data and prioritization in a largely informal sector. I shared our local Open Knowledge Kit methodology that provides faster, cheaper, more accurate and verifiable data while creating local data employment opportunities well above the minimum wage. I also shared footage from one of the creative industry production hubs we are developing in the Philippines, with another location set in Indonesia to support the ASEAN region.

Media use is seen as a very important part of Filipino life as exposure to media mirrors the desire to be part of both society and the environment. Among the Filipino people, films are considered to be one of the popular forms of entertainment as it directly employs around 260,000 Filipinos and generate generating around ₱2 billion incomes per annum. Within the Southeast Asian region, Philippine cinema remains the most vibrant and diverse as the majority of films made in the region came from the Philippines along with the film industries of Thailand and Indonesia.

However, on a global scale, the downfall of Philippine cinema is traced to Filipinos’ exposure to foreign films rather than mainstream cinema. The competition from foreign films with better editing techniques, cinematography, story concept, and far bigger production made it difficult for Filipino films to compete. Also, high taxation for film producers affects the number of films available. Hence, with the advent of new technologies and new media platforms, the industry is faced with new challenges.

The technical quality of foreign films made it difficult for the local industry to compete since moviegoers mostly watched films for entertainment and a sort of enjoyment and diversion. Furthermore, the Philippine film industry has faced incredible drawbacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – from the continued closure of cinemas that affected the production of local films, to the challenges plaguing the safe conduct of production activities and onsite events.

Media use is seen as a very important part of Filipino life as exposure to media mirrors the desire to be part of both society and the environment. Among the Filipino people, films are considered to be one of the popular forms of entertainment as it directly employs around 260,000 Filipinos and generate generating around ₱2 billion incomes per annum. Within the Southeast Asian region, Philippine cinema remains the most vibrant and diverse as the majority of films made in the region came from the Philippines along with the film industries of Thailand and Indonesia.

Read the full session description.

Kembali: A Rebuild Bali Festival

by Celina Agaton

This year, two amazing global festivals, Ubud Food Festival and Ubud Writers & Readers Festival come together for Kembali 2020 from October 29 to November 8 to help rebuild Bali’s creative industry and artisan communities. Join me on November 4 as we screen The Fruit Hunters, a story of nature, obsession, commerce and adventure by director Yung Chang. The movie was inspired by The New York Times’ Editor’s choice book by Adam Gollner. Many of you may know Adam’s writing from Vanity Fair, Vice and Lucky Peach. Join Adam and me as we discuss his travels to remote areas to research the rarest fruit, and the state of food and heirloom farming today. Most sessions are online at

Toronto International Film Festival

by Celina Agaton



Piers Handling, CEO and Director of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) invited Don Tapscott and myself to lead a consultancy to help TIFF with its strategic planning during its transition into its new home at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

As a premier cultural institution, TIFF offers screenings, lectures, discussions, festivals, workshops, industry support and the chance to meet filmmakers from Canada and around the world. We helped TIFF understand how to blend accessibility, inclusion and new models of community engagement and technology tools into its programming and mission.

Similar to my work with the Art Gallery of Ontario, I created a unique unconference model to gather feedback from TIFF staff, share insights from the public, and assessed challenges and opportunities with their website and communications tools.

Macrowikinomics Illustrated Video

by Celina Agaton

Macrowikinomics Video

I was a contributor to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams’ Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet, the follow up to their international bestseller, Wikinomics. I led the creative direction for this promotional video and wrote the script, visualizing the book concepts from energy and the environment, government, science and finance to healthcare technology and media and more, through a series of illustrated vignettes. Illustrations done by the fabulously talented Liisa Sorsa from ThinkLink Graphics.

Us Now Global Screening Project

by Celina Agaton

Us Now




There are a number of global social tech and community engagement awareness days throughout the year, so I thought I’d help shine a brighter light on the awesome social tech community. Based on the success of the Toronto screenings I organized, I thought it would be fun for social tech and social change makers to self-organize screenings of Us Now around the world to inspire new opportunities for collaboration across government, education, technology and volunteer communities.

Here are the cities that have hosted Us Now screenings:

Portland screening at OneWebDay PDX

San Francisco flagship screening at TechSoup Global

Tokyo screening with Netsquared Tokyo  

Toronto screening at OneWebDay Toronto

Vancouver screening at VanChangeCamp

Screenings being planned or screenings looking for help with co-organizing:

Argentina, Arkansas, Chicago, Columbia, DC, Latvia, New York, Ohio, Paris,   South Korea,

Samples from my Toronto screenings: This cross-sector screening model has been well received, with over 300 people attending each screening:

  • The video TVOntario, the Canadian version of PBS filmed and aired for us for the first screening.
  • Here are the event details from the second Toronto screening with Toronto Mayor David Miller, Don Tapscott, and social innovation centers.
  • The podcast from the second screening.
  • And photos from the first and second screenings.

About the Film:

Us Now is a UK documentary film project that discusses how Web 2.0 inspires people to participate in their communities in new ways. The film’s strength is its appeal to a broad audience; it speaks well to non-techies and boomers. It’s a great conversation starter for people to take back and discuss Web 2.0 opportunities in their communities. Film length: 59 minutes.

Featured speakers in the film: Don Tapscott, Clay Shirky, Alan Cox, Charles Leadbeater among others.

You can watch the entire film for free and view rushes, bios etc. at

Event Format:

  • Don Tapscott, Anthony Willams or Director Ivo Gormley, based on availability, can Skype/video/keynote the event and/or answer audience Q&As.
  • Us Now will link to event videos made by organizers and audience members and post it on their blog.
  • Promo, event and audience content with be shared via Us Now, Don Tapscott and Netsquared sites.

Number of potential host cities around the world


Screening Schedule:

  • Individual screening dates are totally flexible and decided by the organizers. But, it would be fun to have a group of them around the same time or at the exact same time for organizers and audience members to connect across cities and capture this online and on film.


The ideal audience includes a cross-section of community members (students, politicians, techies, non-profits, funders etc.) to inspire participation and cross-community collaboration. Ideally (but optional), you could invite community-friendly organizations to host display tables at the screening to directly connect attendees to local meetups, organizations and conferences to facilitate more learning and participation.

To Do List & Costs:

  • If you wish, organizers can charge a pay what you can fee for the screening to help raise funds for your group/meetup. Since the film is on a Creative Commons license, the Us Now producers, Banyak Films have agreed to receive 20% from the fees collected in lieu of negotiating film distribution rights since I have no funds to cover this. You can PayPal the fees and mark as ‘US Now Services’. Us Now is free for the public to view online, so this is a way to help the producers cover their costs.
  • Us Now is available for free online viewing or organizers can purchase the DVD online for about US$20.
  • Theatre space: approach social innovation centres/universities to donate free space=$0
  • Keynote: Don Tapscott or Anthony Williams to Skype/video/keynote and/or answer audience Q&As. Celina to arrange with Don. Cost=$0.
  • Catering: In Toronto, we asked a green caterer to sell drinks and snacks, so catering cost=$0.
  • Event promo: Used Eventbrite, Eventful, Twitter, Facebook and bloggers to plan and promote the event, cost=$0.
  • The Us Now Blog, Don Tapscott, and Meetup sites will also post the event screening on their blogs=$0

World Food Day Toronto

by Celina Agaton

More than half of Toronto residents live in “Food Deserts,” neighbourhoods that do not have access to good quality and affordable food.

On World Food Day, October 16, 2012, Toronto’s community leaders are coming together at the newly opened Daniels Spectrum to celebrate a cross sector approach to achieving a sustainable local food system with good food for all.

My social change film series, Films that Move and Food Forward have partnered with the Centre for Social Innovation to raise awareness and action on the challenges with hunger and the way we grow, buy and learn about the food we eat.

“Many people think of hunger as a problem exclusive to other countries, but as we know, it’s everywhere. Right here in Toronto, last year alone, there were a million visits to food banks,” says UN World Food Programme National Ambassador Against Hunger George Stroumboulopoulos. “World Food Day helps us recognize the great work currently being done in schools, businesses and communities. It also reminds us that we have a long way to go, and need an integrated approach both locally and globally to address this widespread challenge.”

World Food Day Toronto is a free event open to the public.

World Food Day
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 5:30-9pm. Doors open at 5:15
Daniels Spectrum, A Cultural Hub in Regent Park
585 Dundas Street East at Parliament. Map and Directions.
Twitter Hashtag #WFD2012 #FoodTO

5:15pm Doors Open

5:30pm Reception: Featuring food from Chef Michael Stadtlander, Paintbox and
Regent Park Community Health Centre Kitchen

6:00pm Welcome and Introductions
Opening remarks by Chef Michael Stadtlander

6:30pm Speakers
Yung Chang, The Fruit Hunters Documentary
Mark Cutrara, Cowbell
Suresh Doss, Food Truck Eats
Bryan Gilvesy, Y U Ranch/Sustain Ontario
Seana Irvine, Evergreen
Tzazna Miranda Leal, Justicia for Migrant Workers
Laura Reinsborough, Not Far From the Tree
David Reycraft, Regent Park Food Partnership/Dixon Hall
Nick Saul, The Stop
Erin Shapero, Local Food Plus

7:20pm Break

7:45pm 30-minute workshops
Topics: Community Food Projects, Food Business,
Food Centres, Street Food and Labour Rights

8:45pm Announcements and Close

Hungry for Change

by Celina Agaton

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Hungry for Change Chefs

I created Hungry for Change, a free community food fair on the way we grow, buy and learn about the food we eat, in partnership with George Brown Chef School and their Community Partnerships Office.

We screened movies on local and international food issues, served free samples of delicious local food and presented Toronto’s community kitchens, neighbourhood gardens, chefs, farmers and teachers. Participants were able to

* Sample delicious food grown right in Ontario and prepared by community
kitchens, chefs and community-friendly businesses, like Vert Catering, George
Brown Chef School, Cowbell and Fiesta Farms.

* Enjoy 10 free food booths from our community partners.

* Learn about food sustainability and community-friendly businesses from
Toronto’s food community leaders.

* Connect with free programs from urban farming and cooking classes, to
children’s activities and farmer’s markets in our street fair.

* Join a local community garden, help pick fruit trees, or share gardening and
cooking skills with your neighbours.

We announced the winner of our $2,500 prize, Young Urban Farmers.

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Films That Move

by Celina Agaton

Films That Move Hungry for Change Collage

In 2009, I founded Films That Move, a global social change film series that brings together people from across the sectors to connect and collaborate in their communities. I screened UK civic engagement documentary, Us Now to demonstrate the transformational impact of the internet across business, government and society.

Over 300 people attended each screening, and included Toronto Mayor David Miller’s launch of the city’s Open Data initiative to the non-profit community.

With international interest in Us Now, I launched a global screening project with other social innovation organizations around the world, taking Us Now to Portland, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Columbia, the Netherlands and Argentina.

I’m currently directing a film series pilot, and cross sector education and fundraising program for Toronto’s food sustainability community. In 2012, I organized the Toronto location for the celebration of United Nations World Food Day in partnership with the Centre for Social Innovation Regent Park, Daniels Spectrum and Food Forward.

Learn more at