Metro Manila filmfest to hold a summer edition
MMDA chairman and MMFF over-all chairman Danilo Lim (seated, center) with (from left) MMDA GM Jose Arturo Garcia Jr., MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer, (standing, from left) MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, MMFF executive director lawyer Rochelle Ona and coexecutive chairman lawyer Romando Artes.
Metro Manila filmfest to hold a summer edition
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2020 - 12:00am

The successful 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) has ended but the showcase of Filipino cinematic artistry and talents continues via the film festival’s summer edition. Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and MMFF lead the way. As Filipinos look back on cinematic moments and narratives of the recent past, they can now look forward to more.  

“Ngayong araw pormal na nating isinasara ang 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival (Today, we are formally closing Metro Manila Film Festival),” said Danilo Lim, MMDA chairman and MMFF over-all chairman, in a media call held last Wednesday, “and at the same time ni-la-launch naman natin (ang) Metro Manila Summer Film Festival (we are launching its summer edition).”  

Lim added that the previous MMFF was a success “kahit na ito ay naapektuhan ng sunod-sunod na lindol na nangyari sa Mindanao at yung bagyo na dumaan sa Visayas (despite the earthquakes experienced in Mindanao and the typhoon in the Visayas) and some parts of Luzon, pero maganda pa rin yung nakita nating suporta ng ating mga kababayan sa Pelikulang Pilipino (the Filipinos’ support was remarkable).” Mindanao was hit by earthquakes sometime in October and December. Typhoon Ursula entered the Philippines on Dec. 24 and left on Dec. 28. All this impacted the attendance in cinemas.

The 2019 MMFF earned more than P955M as total gross sales from eight official entries. According to Lim, it “is only 4.5 percent short” of the P1B target, “lower than last year’s P1.06 (billion).”

The Top 4 grossing films in alphabetical order are Miracle in Cell No. 7 (starring Aga Muhlach and Xia Vigor), Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity (Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza), M&M: The Mall The Merrier (Vice Ganda and Anne Curtis) and 3Pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon! (Coco Martin, Jennylyn Mercado, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Sam Milby and Joey Marquez).

“Maganda yung resulta ng (MMFF) 2019 and we look forward to the second series of MMFF,” said Lim.

As for disclosing the gross sales receipt of each MMFF entry and its ranking, Lim shared, “We don’t normally do that, announcing individual sales, we’re announcing the gross (sales). (As for ranking,) hindi namin ginagawa yan.” However, film producers may share the total earnings of their entries after the duration of the filmfest.

Also joining Lim in the event were MMDA GM Jose Arturo Garcia Jr., co-executive chairman lawyer Romando Artes and MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer, who also answered questions from the media. Present, too, were MMDA executive director lawyer Rochelle Ona and MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago. 

The following were some of the important matters brought up during the presscon: The total gross only refers to the nationwide sales; the award-winning entries had a substantial increase in ticket sales after the awards night; and the effort to improve the system of giving participating movies a fair number of screenings through a dialogue among stakeholders.

Again, MMFF will be held twice a year with the forthcoming Metro Manila Summer Film Festival.

“Actually, we have received a lot of letters of intent,” said Artes. “Marami rin kaming na receive na letters of request to extend the deadline kasi na-announce namin na Jan. 31 yung deadline for finished films.” The deadline for submission of finished full-length films is Feb. 15. 

Garcia Jr. clarified that the MMFF’s second edition was initiated by Sen. Bong Go. “We’re hoping that it will also help the industry,” he said. “We would also like to thank again Sen. Bong Go for initiating this summer film festival.” He said that the target gross sales for the summer edition is P500M. The people behind the 2019 MMFF also acknowledged the efforts made by the cinemas and the mayors.

The Metro Manila Summer Film Festival and the December MMFF will have the same selection committee, with chairman National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera. Quezon City is the host of the summer filmfest and the Christmas filmfest. The former will have its 10-day run (from April 11 to 21) as compared to the latter’s 14-day schedule. Its Parade of Stars is set on April 5 and the awards night on April 15. There are also eight entries (told in the genres of drama, comedy and action.)

“We’re hoping for it to be successful para matulungan natin and Pelikulang Pilipino,” said Garcia Jr. “It’s the first time (to have a summer edition). Tulong-tulong tayo lahat.” What was also implied is that the summer film festival is testing the waters. “Yan ay katatapos lang ng Holy Week, so galing sa bakasyon ang tao (people just come from a vacation)… The cinema owners have data showing that during Black Saturday, madaming nagpupunta sa mall para manood ng sine (people flock to malls to watch movies).”

Aside from the full-length category, Metro Manila Summer Film Festival will have its Student Short Film Competition with Pinoy Pride as its theme. Finished entries must be submitted on Feb. 28. The tilt also carries the student short film category of the Christmas-slated MMFF with Pamana ni Lola of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Sta. Mesa as Best Short Film winner and Bronze, Silver, Gold at Anting-Anting (Dela Salle University Integrated School Manila) as the choice for Special Jury Prize for Short Film.



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