Limketkai Center’s movie billboards
I am pleasantly surprised to see that the movie billboards of Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City’s homegrown mall, are still done the old fashioned way. The panels are still handpainted, which I imagine is no mean task. Aside from the color swatches and the proper typography, the painter has to take note of the grids he has drawn on a smaller reference print. Otherwise, we would see our favorite lead actress with a longer neck or larger ears.
But the movie panels I saw last month was probably done by a professional as there were no uncomfortable body proportions to look at. I also appreciated the painstaking efforts involved in each, considering that it is hard to come up with the right hues using common household paints.
Limketkai’s movie billboards are indeed survivors to some extent. The other local theaters have all surrendered when popular shopping malls entered into the picture, with their cinemas that boast of admittedly more advanced technologies and more comfortable seats. When the smaller theaters closed down, it also signalled the end of their hand-painted billboards. But what probably accelerated the demise of this craft are the presence of the cheaper digitally printed tarpaulins. The latter provides more value for money as it could pack more pixels, provide better resolution and guarantee faster turnaround times.
I must laud Limketkai Center then for keeping these traditional artworks alive in an increasingly digital world. It also kept the billboards despite the many major transformations it undertook over the years.
However, it may just be a matter of time when these billboards would be taken down for a more practical approach, by just showing the movie titles just the like what the rest of the malls have been doing. An electronic billboard may be propped up too, that would show not only the titles but also the full movie trailer and advertisements. Why the Limketkai management stuck to these wooden panels is beyond me when there are other ways that are cheaper, more creative and even more effective.
I just would like to thank the unknown painters behind each panel, for continuing to do what they have been doing even they know that what they created will be painted over a week later. I also just want to tell them that someone noticed and cared enough to dedicate a brief blog post to their craftsmanship and often unappreciated works of art.