As the holidays approach in the Philippines, so does the annual tradition of spending time with loved ones in the cinema and watching films made by local filmmakers. The 2022 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will see eight original Pinoy films showcased for the viewing pleasure of the Filipino public.
With the theme of “Balik Saya sa MMFF 2022,” this year’s festival aims to highlight the joy and excitement of celebrating Christmas in the Philippines by going to the cinema with loved ones and supporting local filmmakers.
Here are some things to expect from the eight official entries at the 48th edition of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival.
The film follows Lyra, a content moderator who works with a group of employees known as “deleters” to filter disturbing content from reaching social media platforms. Yet, her co-workers don’t know that Lyra, who seems to be unfazed by the graphic content she encounters every day, is hiding a deep trauma and is attempting to erase and forget her past, causing her to become detached from the horrific world she lives.
Mikhail Red is at the helm of the movie, which stars Nadine Lustre, Louise delos Reyes, McCoy de Leon, and Jeffrey Hidalgo.
Directed by Nuel C. Naval, Family Matters follows the story of siblings navigating through life with dotage parents.
The trailer also shows the siblings quarreling non-stop over who will care for their sick father. It reached 113,000 views on YouTube as of Saturday, December 17.
The movie stars Nonie Buencamino, James Blanco, Ketchup Eusebio, JC Santos, Mylene Dizon, Nikkie Valdez, Agot Isidro, Rozanna Guinoo, Ian Pangilinan, and Ina Feleo.
‘Labyu with an Accent’
Coco Martin dons the directorial cap for this film (credited under his real name Rodel Nacianceno) and starring himself along with Jodi Sta. Maria. Labyu with an Accent is a romcom that tells the story of Trisha, who, after spending two decades in the United States, comes back home to the Philippines in an attempt to move on from a failed relationship and meets Gabe, who has taken multiple jobs to get a livelihood.
In a media gathering, Coco said that he based the film’s story on his and Jodi’s experiences working abroad, with him having worked as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Canada. He and Jodi also want to use the film to express their gratitude to the fans of their respective Kapamilya teleseryes, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano and The Broken Marriage Vow, both of which ended this year.
‘Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told’
This historical action film by Lester Dimanaran is based on the 2015 Mamasapano clash where 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), known as the SAF 44, died while performing their mission of trying to capture Malaysian bomb maker, Zulkifli Abdhir, alias Marwan.
The film stars Edu Manzano, Aljur Abrenica, Paolo Gumabao, and Claudine Barretto.
‘My Father, Myself’
Directed by Joel Lamangan and starring Dimples Romana, Sean de Guzman, and Jake Cuenca, My Father, Myself follows Robert, a closeted gay human rights lawyer. He becomes sexually attracted to his adopted son, Matthew, the biological son of his deceased best friend and lover, Domeng. Conflict ensues when Matthew impregnates his stepsister.
The film sparked recent controversy following the release of its trailer over concerns about the possible harmful impact on the LGBTQ+ community in the country.
In a grand media conference for the film, Direk Joel stood by the film, urging moviegoers to watch it first before judging it.
“See the movie first before you judge it. There was no intention to offend anyone in any way. We just wanted to tell a story. [It is] A different kind of love. A colorful life of a family,” Direk Joel said.
Directed by Presidential Adviser for Creative Communications Paul Soriano and stars his wife, Toni Gonzaga, along with Joey de Leon, Ronnie Alonte, Loisa Andalio, and Kakai Bautista.
My Teacher follows a high school teacher who returns to her hometown and learns a valuable life lesson after encountering a 70-year-old student.
‘Nanahimik ang Gabi’
This cautionary tale follows the story of a gorgeous young woman and her lover, an older man, who, as the story unfolds, are ensconced in a secluded mansion, eager to savor the delights given to their forbidden tryst.
What should have been another romantic and steamy night turns into a terrifying moment with the unexpected appearance of a stranger.
The film’s director is Shugo Praico. It stars Heaven Peralejo, Ian Veneracion, and Mon Confiado.
‘Partners in Crime’
This festival entry marks Vice Ganda’s comeback to the festival since the 2019 edition, where he starred in the MMFF entry, The Mall, The Merrier, with Anne Curtis. Directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina, the film will see Vice with Ivana Alawi in a story about two exes reuniting, only to be involved in a crime.
ABS-CBN Film Productions, the film’s producers, originally planned to submit a third installment of the late Wenn V. Deramas’ Praybeyt Benjamin film franchise to the festival directed by Direk Cathy. However, it did not push through, and Partners in Crime joined the festival instead.
With these eight entries, this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival will surely bring the joy of the holiday season and the joy of watching movies in the cinema and supporting the local film industry.
The 2022 Metro Manila Film Festival will begin on Christmas Day, December 25, and will run until Saturday, January 7. The traditional Parade of Stars happened along Quezon Avenue, from Welcome Rotonda to the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, on December 21. Meanwhile, the annual Gabi ng Parangal (Awards Night) will be held at the New Frontier Theater in Quezon City on Tuesday, December 27.
All eight entries will screen in cinemas across Metro Manila and throughout the Philippines.