Revealed during a press conference held at the office of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the list of four films chosen to be part of this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), appears to be a strange mix.
After receiving 26 finished scripts from 24 film productions, the MMFF Execom, upon the recommendation of its Selection Committee, announced that these films are the “best of the best” of the materials submitted to them.
In the horror genre, we have Ampon, starring Derek Ramsay and Kris Aquino (Quantum Films). We all know how frail and fragile is the health condition of Ms. Aquino, how she will muster enough strength and stamina to start and even finish this motion picture, will be the biggest mystery that will unravel before our very eyes.
Second finished script which passed the standards of the Selection Committee is Miracle in Cell No. 7, starring Aga Muhlach and Nadine Lustre (VIVA Films). Why a Korean film adapted and remade as Pinoy drama movie made it to the cut is a major puzzlement.
Surely, this “commercially viable” film will be a box office darling, Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity (APT Entertainment, Inc., ZET Production) stars Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza. With its title alone that screams, now we know what a “finished script” must possess right? A little dash of Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible and a fine sprinkling of the Matt Damon’s superlative action franchise Bourne Identity with Sotto doing a Cruise and a Damon, spells action-packed and fresh. Really?
And I did not see this coming, Momalland, starring Vice Ganda and Anne Curtis (ABS-CBN Film Productions and VIVA Films) with Tony Labrusca. If MMFF history will repeat itself, we can now claim with full conviction that this Vice Ganda flick will be the biggest box office earner in the forthcoming festival.
Meanwhile, I am curious about the fate of finished script submission of the movie that will star Coco Martin, Jentnlyn Mercado, and AiAi delas Alas.
If we are to factor in the “commercially viable” criterion, will it be expedient to express that one of the finished film slots, already belong to them? Twenty-six finished scripts submitted, may we get access to them? What were these films? In due time, will the identities of the Selection Committee be made public?
Some of the most talked-about films that are eyeing an MMFF slot come December time are Peque Gallaga’s Magikland, Mindanaw with Judy Ann Santos and Allan Dizon, Isa Pang Bahaghari with Nora Aunor, and Culion, with Iza Calzado, Meryl Soriano, and Jasmine Curtis Smith.
Who among them will be considered as worthy of the remaining finished film slots?
During the press conference, it was reported that for next year, the possibility of a mid-year and the annual December festival might come to fruition. Will this eventuality have an effect to the yearly Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival that happens in August and the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino that transpires in September?
Do we really need more festivals to convince the people to watch our motion picture offerings? Or is it about time to limit the influx of foreign films, especially the Marvel, DC, and Disney franchises whose film products lord the cinemas and are flocked by gazillion of audiences?
Must we push for more Pinoy film appreciation and awareness, as well as film education and literacy, not only for the young but for the rest of the general public who still prefer the popcorn fare that Hollywood offers? Other Asian countries, such as Korea and India, are able to curb the appetites of their cinema audiences for American blockbusters. Why can’t we do the same?
We are all stuck with the fact that by the holiday season, we are left with no choice but to celebrate it and part of the annual tradition is watching the MMFF entries. For now, let us all remain optimistic that the final selection will be truly worthy of our hard-earned pesos and quality time spent with families and loved ones.
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