Without a doubt, the Filipino film heritage has shown its rich and authentic identity through the years. It has become an excellent source of entertainment to all, regardless of the age and race of the audiences. While it is enjoyed by many because of what they see through their screens—award-winning stars and their plausible talents— many have forgotten to recognize the real people who vigorously made film come to life, and those are the ones people do not always see, for they are always behind the scenes.
That’s where the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation, Inc. (MOWELFUND) came into the picture. It is a non-profit social welfare and industry development organization that features a span of programs catering marginalized workers in the Philippine film industry. It was established in 1974 by then actor/producer and former Philippine President, Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada.
Mowelfund initiated the extensive elaboration of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFL) from Manila Film Festival. It greatly contributed as well in raising the image of the film industry through its fight against film and video piracy, move to reorganize the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), and firmness to create film-related agencies such as the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP).
Extending its reach to the public, the foundation started Mowelfund Film Institute (MFI) where film training workshops are held annually. MFI proudly boasts of its outstanding graduates who showcase their original works that then led some of them to be recognized in both local and international film competitions like Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals. Workshop invitations to known film lecturers eventually made the institute internationally recognized and it effectively garnered a large number of participants having the same interests in film-making.
Mowelfund saw in plain sight the need to rekindle and commend what the audience does not always give applause to—the movie makers. Today, Mowelfund continuously keeps its mission to preserve and protect the welfare of the Filipino film community for it serves as the building block of the industry.