Jul 3, 2017

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) announced the first four movies that will compete in this year’s festival on Friday. The reforms made last year include the removal of the commercial viability criteria and the submission of completed films only instead of scripts. The new MMFF gave us the first documentary entry Sunday Beauty Queen, which bagged the Best Picture award last year.

While we have seen an overhaul in 2016, there seems to be another change for this year’s MMFF. And that change seems like a return to the old system of the controversial film festival.

This year, we will see the return of previous MMFF mainstays Vice Ganda and Vic Sotto. Aside from those two movies, Coco Martin will star in a new version of Ang Panday, which we believe he’ll direct (search Rodel Nacianceno on Google). A Jennylyn Mercado-Jericho Rosales reunion movie completes the list.

Those first four entries were chosen as scripts according to the following criteria: 40 percent artistic excellence, 10 percent global appeal, 10 percent promotion of Filipino values, and the return of 40 percent commercial viability.

After the announcement was made, three members of the executive committee including veteran screenwriter Ricky Lee and University of the Philippines professor Rolando Tolentino left the committee after the announcement.

The reforms made last year may not be carried on to this year’s festival, but we’re hoping that the remaining four slots would be given to the most deserving, high quality films. The MMFF is still accepting finished films until October 30 and accepted films will be announced on November 17.

Consider this our Christmas wishlist. Based on a report, here are four films that could probably fill the remaining four slots and perhaps save this year’s MMFF.

Citizen Jake by Mike de Leon

Citizen Jake is the acting debut of broadcast journalist Atom Araullo and the return of acclaimed director Mike De Leon. His films Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising and Kisapmata were entries to the MMFF back in the ’70s and ’80s. According to De Leon, the film is about “the world of citizen journalists, social media, and politics.”

Buy Bust by Erik Matti

The film is reportedly submitted to the MMFF as a script. However, as the results reflect, the film did not make it. There has been no news if the film will be submitted as a finished film. However, this is the action film we need.

Anne Curtis has been training real hard for this film. According to reports, Curtis does not have a stunt double for this film. Alongside the actress, the film will also star MMA fighter Brandon Vera. Erik Matti won Best Director last year for thriller-horror Seclusion. He is also the director of critically acclaimed film On the Job.

Ang Larawan by Loy Arcenas

The teaser for the film has made rounds on social media last year. Ang Larawan is a musical film based on Nick Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino. The film is set in Intramuros before the war. Two sisters face a financial problem after their father stops painting for a living.

Starring Rachel Alejandro, Joanna Ampil, Nonie Buencamino, Bernardo Bernardo, Paulo Avelino, Cris Villonco, and other powerhouse actors, the film will be directed by Loy Arcenas with Ryan Cayabyab as its musical director.

After the success of foreign musical in Philippine cinemas, the Filipino audience definitely deserves our own musical set in a milieu we know.

Smaller and Smaller Circles by Raya Martin

Based on Palanca award-winning novel of the same name by F.H. Batacan, Smaller and Smaller Circles is a crime novel set in 1997 where two Jesuit priests try to stop the mysterious serial killer who preys upon small children in Payatas.

The film stars Nonie Buencamino, Sid Lucero, TJ Trinidad, and Carla Humphries.

According to the producers, they have submitted a letter of intent for the film to be submitted under the finished film category.

Although there is no news yet if all of those films still intend to join the festival after the first four entries were announced, it is a shame if the selection committee wouldn’t accept any of those.

While we hope for a better lineup, the road to a better MMFF starts on a regular day at the cinemas. If we can keep better films alive at cinemas for more than two weeks, the MMFF would probably put similar films on their lineup. So whenever a good film is showing at cinemas, go out and watch it. After all, cinemas don’t only operate during the MMFF period.

Header image courtesy of Inquirer.net/Grig C. Montegrande

Read more:
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How Brilliante Mendoza is saving Philippine cinema
LOOK: Local films that shine outside the country this month
Five films you should watch if you enjoyed Jerrold Tarog’s Bliss
Charo Santos-Concio is doing a new film

TAGS: Ang Larawan awards Buy Bust Citizen Jake Film MMFF Ricky Lee Rolando Tinio Smaller and Smaller Circles