In this Jan. 24, 2017 photo, Sens. Vicente Sotto III and Grace Poe lead the hearing into the proposed establishment of a film festival exclusive for independent films. Adel
Sotto denies filing indie film fest resolution for brother Vic
Rosette Adel ( - January 24, 2017 - 3:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Tuesday denied that he filed the resolution recommending the establishment of a film festival exclusively for independent films because of his brother, comedian and TV host Vic Sotto.

He clarified that he never intended to favor anyone in filing the resolution recommending the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to create another film festival for independent films during long semestral breaks.

“As I have mentioned in the beginning, a lot of people thought that I filed Resolution No. 257 because Vic was not included in the 2016 MMFF entries. That is not true; and just to drive a point, Vic already made a decision not to join in this year’s MMFF,” the senator said in his opening statement during the Senate probe into Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) issues.

Vicente also cited that late veteran action star Fernando Poe Jr. “passed down to Vic the responsibility to ensure that the film industry would not falter.” He said he suggested the inclusion of Vic to the senatorial ticket of FPJ but the actor said the industry needs Vic.

The senator said that his intention was to give independent films their most-deserved spotlight. He noted that a separate film festival for independent films would allow them to be mandatorily shown in Metro Manila cinemas.

Meanwhile, he said that the festival screening would be done during semestral breaks so that students could watch the films with their friends and families.

The senator added that he would like to propose that the MMFF be held nationwide and not in Metro Manila only.

“Let’s face the fact that when mainstream films — with high-paying actors in it — would be shown alongside with independent films, the former, would without a doubt, yield to more viewers, hence more profit,” he said.

Member of MMFF selection committee, Mae Paner, also known as “Juana Change”, agreed with Sotto’s statement saying the films such as “Enteng Kabisote,” “Superparental Guardians,” and “Mano Po,” even took the cinemas allotted for the entries.

During the Senate probe, Vicente noted that mainstream films excluded from the MMFF entries were those with advertisement and have the potential to yield more profit citing that it affected foot traffic in cinemas. Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media then replied to him saying that product placements are normal but it should not be blatantly shown.

Vicente also defended his concerns on the MMFF saying he authored the law creating the MMDA.  

“Because I authored the law creating it, I am concerned on what will happen to MMDA and I want to make certain that its mandate, powers, and functions, are properly exercised,” the senator said.

He furthered that he sponsored a bill creating the Film Development Council of the Philippines, which is one of the beneficiaries of the MMFF, hence he is concerned about the festival.

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