1st Summer Film Festival kicks off on April 11 to 21

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
1st Summer Film Festival kicks off on April 11 to 21
File photo (July 2019): Sen. Bong Go (center) sworn in as a new member of the executive committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival by MMDA head Danilo Lim. Others in photo are (from left) Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez (MMFF executive committee member), MMFF selection committee member Bien Lumbera, and MMDA executive Jose Arturo Garcia Jr.

The more, the merrier.

Another filmfest, this time called Metro Manila Summer Film Festival (MMSFF), will kick off on April 11 to 21, and the industry has Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go to thank for it.

It was Sen. Bong who proposed to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in-charge of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), for the holding of another filmfest “to encourage the industry to create more films.” Sen. Bong (appointed member of the 2019 MMFF executive committee) submitted the proposal that was approved without any question. 

The forerunner of the annual MMFF was the Manila Film Festival (MFF) introduced in 1966 by the late Manila Mayor Antonio J. Villegas as part of the city’s Araw ng Maynila celebration in June, expanded to cover the whole Metro Manila in 1975 by then Presidential Assistant Gimo de Vega, concurrent head of the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures (BCMP) that became the Movies & Television Rating and Classification Board MTRCB. (The late former Manila mayor is honored by the MMFF with a category called Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award.)

Aside from the MMFF, with the addition of the MMSFF, other existing filmfests include (among others) Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP held nationwide usually in September), Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, QCinema International Film Festival, Cinema One Originals, Cine Manila (headed by Tikoy Aquiluz) and ToFarm Film Festival.

The good news is that films that didn’t make it to the 2019 MMFF may be submitted as entries in the MMSFF.

Now, did you know why Sen. Bong has a soft spot for Filipino films? He’s a fan; in fact, he admitted that his mom named him after Christopher de Leon.

“My mom was a fan of Christopher,” said Sen. Bong. “She has watched Christopher’s movies, especially those with (Batangas Rep.) Vilma Santos.”

Sen. Bong and CCP president Arsenio Lazo co-chaired the MMFF board of judges headed by Congressman Karlo Nograles, and Vilma and Christopher were among the members also including MTRCB head Rachel Arenas, Romy Vitug, directors Joey Javier Reyes and Joel Lamangan, and Fr. Larry Faraon.

During a lunch with movie writers in late 2018 (seven months before the 2019 mid-term elections where he won a senatorial seat), Sen. Bong traced his showbiz connection, dating back to Davao City where he recalled frequently watching Filipino movies from wooden seats in a moviehouse filled with smoke (“No Smoking” wasn’t enforced yet at that time). His favorite was action films.

“How time flies,” mused Sen. Bong then. “Today, wow ‘yung mga idols ko nakakasama at nakakausap ko na,” including Phillip Salvador and Robin Padilla who are close to Pres. DU30. ”After the movie, my friends and I would rush to the printing press owned by our family at doon ginagaya namin ang mga barilan sa pelikula. I remember a scene from the movie of (Sen.) Lito Lapid. He had only one bullet left in his gun and he had two people to kill. Pareho niyang tinamaan.”

An ode to growing ol(der)

“It’s something so beautiful that I don’t mind reading it every time someone forwards it to my number,” wrote talent manager Manny Valera who forwarded to this corner the “something beautiful” without saying where he got it (titled Approaching 60 & 65s) or who the author was (thanks to whoever he might be). I can’t help but share it with Funfare readers.

Approaching 60 and 65s

A friend of mine crossed 60 and is heading to 65. I asked him, what’s changing? He shared his thoughts: Yes, I am changing. After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children, my friends, now I have started loving myself.

I just realized that I am not “Atlas.” The world does not rest on my shoulders.

I now stopped bargaining with vegetables and fruits vendors. After all, a few ringgit/dollars more is not going to burn a hole in my pocket but it might help the poor fellow save for his daughter’s school fees.

I pay the taxi driver without waiting for the change. The extra money might bring a smile on his face. After all, he is toiling much harder for a living than me.

I stopped telling the elderly that they’ve already narrated that story many times. After all, the story makes them walk down the memory lane and relive the past. I’ve learnt not to correct people even when I know they are wrong. After all, the onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection.

I give compliments freely and generously. After all, it’s a mood I give freely and generously. After all, it’s a mood enhancer not only for the recipient but also for me.

I’ve learnt not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt. After all, personality speaks louder than appearances.

I walk away from people who don’t value me. After all, they might not know my worth, but I do.

I remain cool when someone plays dirty politics to outrun me in the rat race. After all, I am not a rat and neither am I in any race. I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions. After all, it’s my emotions that make me human.

I have learnt that it’s better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. After all, my ego will keep me aloof whereas with relationships I will never be alone.

I’ve learnt to live each day as if it’s the last. After all, it might be the last. I am doing what makes me happy. After all, I am responsible for my happiness and I owe it to me.

Added Manny, “I decided to send this along because why do we have to wait for sixties, why can’t we practice this at any stage?”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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