entertainment, movies, Philippines, television

MMFF in Challenging Position With Emphasis on Quality

MMFF mainstays such as 'Enteng Kabisote' are a thing of the past as organizers emphasize more on quality than commercial success in this year's filmfest. (Photo credit: Cebu Daily News)

Without blockbuster franchises and stars such as Vic Sotto’s ‘Enteng Kabisote’ series, the new-look MMFF faces an uphill battle this year. (Photo credit: Cebu Daily News)

This is a From the Tube special report. The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and do not reflect those of the Metro Manila Film Festival.

This year’s Metro Manila Film Festival will be a different experience for moviegoers and viewers alike.

Gone are the top drawers, big-spending production outfits and movie franchises that made the MMFF an annual Christmas tradition. Instead, the eight official full-length films will feature mostly independent productions, some of which were previously screened in other film festivals around the world.

The eight entries are:

  • Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough – directed by Marlon Rivera; stars Eugene Domingo, Jericho Rosales, Kean Cipriano, Khalil Ramos, and Cai Cortez
  • Die Beautiful – directed by Jun Robles Lana; stars Paolo Ballesteros, Joel Torre, Gladys Reyes, Luis Alandy, Albie Casiño, and Iza Calzado
  • Kabisera – directed by Arturo San Agustin and Real Florido; stars Ms. Nora Aunor, Ricky Davao, JC De Vera, Luis Alandy, Jason Abalos, and RJ Agustin
  • Oro – directed by Alvin Yapan; stars Irma Adlawan, Mercedes Cabral, and Joem Bascon
  • Saving Sally – directed by Avid Liongoren; stars Rhian Ramos, and Enzo Marcos
  • Seklusyon – directed by Erik Matti; stars Rhed Bustamante, Phoebe Walker, Elora Espano, Neil Ryan Sese, Ronnie Alonte, Lou Veloso, Dominique Roque, John Vic De Guzman, and JR Versales
  • Sunday Beauty Queen – directed by Babyruth Villarama Gutierrez; stars Hazel Perdido, Cherrie Mae Bretana, Mylyn Jacobo, Leo Selomenio, and Rudelyn Acosta
  • Vince & Kath & James – directed by Ted Boborol; stars Julia Barretto, Joshua Garcia, and Ronnie Alonte

The selections were based on the following criteria: story, audience appeal and overall impact (40%); cinematic attributes or technical expertise (40%); global appeal (10%); and Filipino sensibility (10%). In essence, the MMFF organizers wanted to feature a greater emphasis on quality rather than commercialism alone.

Even though the change in approach is crucial in providing a more even playing field, promoting these films could pose a challenge. Many of the films were produced by independent companies, while a majority of them feature second or third-tier actors, some of whom are relative unknowns.

Let’s face it, while Eugene Domingo has box-office potential (‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank’ raked in millions during its initial run), she is no Vic Sotto or Vice Ganda. And while Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia are not a bad tandem, they are no AlDub or KathNiel in the appeal department.

The major television networks such as ABS-CBN and GMA, once major players in the MMFF, are in a similar predicament. In previous years, both played a big role in the success of MMFF entries, but with this year’s field, they may not be a factor at all.

This does not mean that all eight films are bad, however. They are still worth watching as far as moviegoers go, but it will be up to them to become seriously interested with these entries.

Come Christmas Day, all eyes will be on the eight Metro Manila Film Festival entries. Still, it remains to be seen if this year’s filmfest will be a blockbuster or a flop.

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36 thoughts on “MMFF in Challenging Position With Emphasis on Quality

  1. At last, eto na ang Change is Coming ng pelikulang Pilipino. No ticket swapping, no entry withdrawal during the festival, no heated arguments over who’s the box office king and hopefully, no undisclosed figures.

    To be fair, on Septic Tank 2, hopefully, it’ll be successful as the first. However, millennials might watch VKJ, based on the online series published the start of the year, despite one’s objection for “depriving Philippine literature.”

    Admit it, we will receive less box office revenue over this change or shall we say, the restoration of cinematic dignity, this year and hopefully the future editions, but in the end, ang MMFF ay sulit pareho sa kwento at sa bulsa.

    P.S. To those who still don’t like this change. Especially what Ogie Diaz tweeted some time ago, it’s time to look on your vitriolic withdrawal mode, shall we?

    • It’s clear that the MMFF is being overshadowed by Cinemalaya, CinemaOne originals and other more credible filmfests, hence the move to emphasize more on quality. Yes it may hurt ticket sales, but at the end of the day, the viewers will realize how great these stories are.

  2. Gab says:

    Isa sa mga potential box office hits ngayong taon ang Die Beautiful kung saan nanalo ng Best Actor si Paolo Ballesteros sa isang Tokyo Film Festival.

    Mukhang itotodo ang pagpromote ng EB since isa sa mga hosts nito si Paolo.

    But i am also agree na baka Septic Tank or VKJ aside from DB yung mga possible top grossers nito.

    • Well, let’s just wait and see what happens come Christmas. The moviegoers may not like this new direction, but honestly, this is for the good of the Filipino film industry.

  3. Showstopper says:

    A breath of fresh air. OK na rin ito. Dati nagrereklamo tayo na walang substance yun ibang pelikula sa MMFF. Sayang sana dito isinali yun Alamat ni Meng Patalo.

    • That said, this new move will force filmmakers who were used to more commercially successful projects to change their game plan. Hindi na batayan yung maraming kita, instead it’s all about quality.

  4. Vince says:

    Yung Vince&Kath&James ang sa tingin ko magiging top grosser. Pang nag-flop ito jinx talaga si Julia. Kay Kira na lang i-love team si Joshua.

    • Given Gab’s mention of the trade launch of ABS-CBN for 2017, wish mo lang, Brian. For me, GMA and TV5 will do the same thing.

      I keep on asking them to try new things but they’re all for the money and not for the quality. (This is why Kevin and James grind their gears on.)

      P.S. Don’t get me started on other channels too.

      • Jason says:

        Well I’ll be looking forward for the Brillante Mendoza-TV5 collaboration next year(Though I don’t know if that’s a news program or an entertainment series).
        As for ABS-CBN’s trade launch, I couldn’t care less about those teleseryes since we all know that ABS is running on the same formulaic technique to win over viewers. And I think that ABS-CBN’s rival(GMA) will follow the same trend.
        I’m really just hoping for TV5 to do something different.

      • They’d better fix the fluctuating news department first before they shift their attention to entertainment. With so much personnel losses on News5, drastic changes are needed.

    • Vince says:

      I don’t get this drama over wooing the casual crowd. Even networks in America does this. Procedurals and soaps for the masses. Kung gusto mo may nudity eh di manood ka na lang porn.

      • Speaking of nudity, Showtime the U.S. cable network allows its shows to feature nudity. Going back to the MMFF, nudity could be a controversy here, but in order to fully embrace independence in indie films, they should allow even a slight amount of nudity in films that require such scenes. That won’t be easy though.

      • Anyway let’s not go deeper into that. What we’re talking about here are the MMFF films this year and so far, I don’t see any of their trailers on TV. The trailers that are on right now are those that were disqualified from the MMFF and will premiere around next week, like Super Parental Guardians, Enteng Kabisote and the Abangers and Mano Po 7. That said, the MMFF could be overshadowed by those films that didn’t make the cut. So much for sacrifice.

      • Vince says:

        @ralph Sa facebook ng MMFF nandun yung mga trailer kaso wala dun yung kay Nora saka yung Oro. Yung V&K&J 1 million views na followed by Erik Matti’s Seklusyon with 600k views.
        Baka nga yung V&K&J ang mag top grosser.
        BTW. Yung HBO ba sa Pinas may nudity gaya nung sa US? Allowed ba ang nudity sa cable sa Pinas gaya sa mga Premium cable sa US?

      • HBO here is not the same as HBO in the US. Remember, our country is a conservative and Catholic-oriented one, unlike in the US where it is more liberal and there’s no dominant religious denomination. Kaya wala kang makikitang nude scenes sa kahit isang cable channel sa Pinas dahil mas strikto ang mga patakaran dito.

        As for the trailers, what I’m saying is that the trailers of MMFF entries are not making their presence felt on TV. Isang bagay yung makakuha ng maraming views sa YouTube, pero it’s a different story whenever they air on TV. And right now, mukhang mahihirapan ang MMFF na maging competitive against disqualified entries SPG, Enteng and Mano Po, because those three are being promoted in advance, whereas the MMFF entries are essentially nowhere to see on TV at this point.

  5. Gab says:

    The Parade of the Stars, and possibly the Awards Night of the 2016 MMFF will be shown on IBC-13, as per Balita and Abante Tonite. (It will be produced by Viva)

    • So the indie-fied MMFF will now be shown in a network that’s hardly recognizable anymore. Fitting, since the new MMFF lacks star power with the new rule forgoing commercialism in favor of quality.

    • Updated in my Turf’s Holiday 2016-17 primer, Gab.

      Come to think of it, the Parade of Stars will be in the afternoon on that day.

      Assuming nagsimula ng maaga, we don’t even know when it’ll end. TV5 will have a hard time to comprehensively cover because of PBA doubleheaders at 4:00 p.m. Hence, your comment.

      If that parade’s live, much better. Kaso baka mauna ang socmed.

      Yung sa Awards on 29th, pwede sana sa TV5 traditionally kasi wala namang game (Thursday kasi). Pero kung nasa IBC pa rin, eh di mas better instead of dozing themselves to home shopping or to replace the concluding UCBL inaugural season.

      • There’s still Cinemalaya, CineFilipino, Cinema One Originals, CineManila and other more legitimate filmfests na catered for the more serious filmmaker. Go to these filmfests if you’re not into the commercialism of the MMFF.

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