"Darna" director Erik Matti  Philstar.com/Jan Milo Severo

Erik Matti airs frustration over MMFF selection process
(philstar.com) - July 4, 2017 - 3:47am

MANILA, Philippines — After dropping a bomb last July 1 on his Facebook post that three of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee (Execom) members resigned from their post, outspoken director Erik Matti voices out his disappointments about the MMFF in an interview on July 3, saying that MMFF should have changed the criteria so that all is well in the industry.

“I have no problem with having a film festival that’s for commercial purposes but change the criteria then. ‘OK we only want movies that are commercial.’ Wala na tayong pag-uusapan. But to hide behind the vision which is artistic excellence, to push for cultural chu-chu, for global appeal, I think it’s just, hindi hypocrisy eh. Maliit yun eh. Garapal lang,” said the 2016 MMFF Best Director for the movie “Seklusyon.”

Matti submitted the script of his movie “Buy Bust” because of his producers. Nonetheless, after the MMFF revealed the first four entries that will make it to this year’s festival, Matti believes he now has no chance to make it. “It’s obvious. If you look at the entry we’re brought in, it’s 30 percent artista, 30 percent producer, 30 percent theme song, 10 percent brightness.”

The first judge for the Philippines of the HOOQ Filmmakers Guild added: “Parang nakakapagod eh. Isipin mo 'pag sa ibang industriya 'to, 'di ba, ipapatawag na si (Sen. Leila) De Lima, somebody is answerable. But for MMFF no one is answerable. No one touches them, no one calls them out and say, ‘Hoy! Anong pinaggagagawa nyo jan?’ Mas powerful pa sila sa mag powerful diba?”

Matti pointed out that he has no problem with the MMFF’s first four movie entries. “Who knows if they maybe the best scripts ever read among all that was submitted? Walang nakakaalam. Ang problema nga lang it’s the same type of films, the same kind of movies. I know what happened in the selection. That’s why dyan nanggagaling ang galit ko. I’m not judging the four films that were chosen. But I’m judging how they select it. It’s the MMFF I have a problem with and not the movies."

The veteran director said that the festival needs to be outright of its real agenda. “Dati pa naman alam na namin eh. Ayun na talaga 'yung point, sino ang artista, sino ang producer, wala ngang storya eh. Hindi na pinaguusapan yung kwento. Kris Aquino, OK pasok, Bossing, OK pasok, Vice, OK pasok. Then say it out right. ‘Ito lang gusto namin, may pelikula si Kris Aquino, wag na kayong mag-submit 'pag hindi nakuha yang artistang yan. Then, hindi nasisira yung industriya."

“Everyone is saying OK, stop the quibbles kasi nahahati 'yung industriya pero hindi naman pwedeng pabayaan mo lang ang nangyayari sa idustriya kasi part tayo nito lahat eh.”

Matti then asked the media if they are puzzled why there are two announcements of the final entries of the MMFF.

“Kahit tanungin mo sa loob hindi rin nila maesplika yan. It’s a way to be able to decide diretso sa gusto nila. 'Yung apat na mapipili sa dulo kawawa yan. Talong-talo 'yan sa apat na 'to. With the four big movies there, the four others, kahit sino pa yan, wala na 'yan,” he lamented.

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