DARLENE MACHELL DE LEON ESPEÑA
Singapore Management University
National cinemas in Southeast Asia did not appear in isolation. The emergence and development of national cinemas across the region were facilitated by key transnational connections and influences. This article explores three transnational factors that helped pave the way for the emergence of the national cinemas in postcolonial Southeast Asia. Travelling across borders to collaborate with one another, Southeast Asian filmmakers shared their ideas, filmmaking techniques, and political ideals. Hollywood productions also influenced their craft. All these ideas and influences would find their way into the films they created. Facilitating the transnational exchange and productions were the ethnic Chinese who funded numerous films that later served as an impetus for the local filmmaking industry. Through these transnational exchanges, collaborations, and financial support, the post-war Southeast Asian film industries became notably vibrant and popular with the local population. The locals would embrace the films as valuable entertainment products and as significant parts of their social and cultural lives. The article further argues that these transnational linkages reinforced the notion of Southeast Asia as a coherent region as it was formally institutionalised in 1967 with the establishment of theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Keywords: Hollywood, national cinema, Southeast Asian Cinemas, transnational history