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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

As Ilustrado Debuts, Ikaw Lamang Departs

A new-look GMA Telebabad premieres this week, while ABS-CBN says goodbye to one of their hits.

The ‘bayani-serye’ ‘Ilustrado’ will make its much-anticipated premiere later tonight. The series will be led by Alden Richards as Jose Rizal and Kylie Padilla as Leonor Rivera, with supporting roles by Solenn Heussaff, Max Collins, Eula Valdez, Jaclyn Jose, Polo Ravales, Ricardo Cepeda, Freddie Webb and Mailes Kanapi.

‘Ilustrado’ will focus less on Rizal’s struggles for Philippine independence and his work on ‘Noli Me Tangere’ and ‘El Filibusterismo’. Instead, it will feature a more human side in the life of the national hero and his fellow reformists, from their relationships to their day-to-day struggles with ordinary citizens.

The premiere of ‘Ilustrado’ should be an interesting one, as it will go up against ‘Two Wives’. The latter series has been on a roll since it debuted last week, and should pose a challenge to the more qualitative and informative ‘Ilustrado’.

Meanwhile, the still-struggling ‘Hiram na Alaala’ will be moved to an earlier timeslot, opposite an ABS-CBN Primetime Bida  teleserye that is about to end this week.

‘Ikaw Lamang’, the period drama that started last March, will bid goodbye on October 24. The series will have two chapters and 162 episodes at the end of its run.

Initially starring Kim Chiu (as Isabelle) Julia Montes (as Mona), Coco Martin (as Samuel) and Jake Cuenca (as Franco), Montes’ character was killed off just as Book 1 was winding down. When Book 2 got underway, Chiu and Martin were now assigned to portray the roles of Gabriel and Andrea, respectively.

Book 2 also featured Amy Austria, Joel Torre and Christopher de Leon as the older Isabelle, Samuel and Franco, while KC Concepcion took on the role of Natalia, daughter of Isabelle and Franco.

‘Ikaw Lamang’ was one of ABS-CBN’s highly-rated teleseryes throughout its run. The show even outlasted its main arch-rival ‘My Destiny’, whose run from June 30 to October 17 came just as the former was at the peak of its success.

That said, it should be interesting to see how ‘Ikaw Lamang’ will fare in its final week against ‘Hiram na Alaala’.  Expect the conclusion of this series to be a highly-anticipated one.

‘Ikaw Lamang’ will be replaced by ‘Forevermore’, starring Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano.

 

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television, United States

Honesto Debuts, The Gift Still Uncertain, NBA Season Begins

ABS-CBN will have a new teleserye debuting tonight. The drama series ‘Honesto’ focuses on a child named Honesto, whose recurring nasal allergies were a result of telling lies to others. The lead character’s willingness to remain honest and truthful amid the lies and conflicts surrounding his friends and family will be the main theme of the series, which airs tonight after ‘TV Patrol‘.

‘Honesto’ will be topbilled by young child actor Raikko Mateo, and playing supporting roles are Paulo Avelino, Maricar Reyes, Eddie Garcia, Janice de Belen, Melai Cantiveros, Jason Francisco, Angel Aquino, Nonie Buencamino, Joel Torre, Joseph Marco and Melissa Ricks. The series replaces the highly-rated Coco Martin starrer ‘Juan Dela Cruz’ which ended last Friday.

Meanwhile, the airing date of TV5’s ‘The Gift’ is still being determined. The series was supposed to start last October 14, but due to the then-ongoing PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, it was rescheduled for a future air date. The shelving of ‘The Gift’ forced the reshuffling of the network’s ‘Everyday All the Way’ primetime lineup, with ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’ airing at 7:00 p.m. followed by ‘Madam Chairman’ at 7:30 p.m. As of today TV5 management have yet to make an announcement regarding ‘The Gift’.

And for basketball fans in the Philippines, the 2013-14 NBA season gets underway this Wednesday morning. The Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers square off to begin the NBA season at 7:00 a.m. on Basketball TV. Over at Studio 23, the defending champion Miami Heat will raise their banner and begin their quest for a third straight title against the returning Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls at 8:00 a.m. And at BTV, the Hallway Series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers concludes opening night at 10:40 a.m. Both the Heat-Bulls and Clippers-Lakers matchups will also be aired live on NBA Premium TV.

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