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.