Quezon City  to host 2020 virtual Metro Manila filmfest
The annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will be held as usual, except that everything will be virtual, starting from Dec. 25 until the second week of January 2021.
Quezon City to host 2020 virtual Metro Manila filmfest
Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  — As the adage goes, the show must go on, and not even a pandemic can stop it.

The annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will be held as usual, except that everything will be virtual, starting from Dec. 25 until the second week of January 2021.

Hosting this year’s MMFF is Quezon City (last year’s host was Taguig City). QC Mayor Joy Belmonte will make sure that the event will go on smoothly, as successful as those of the pre-pandemic years, although there are some changes in keeping with the ongoing protocols.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has partnered with Globe Telecom and video streaming site Upstream to broadcast the eight MMFF entries this year online.

The Parade of Stars that ushers in the festival will be held around the Quezon City Elliptical Circle, featuring the floats of the eight official entries to be graced by their stars. Strict social distancing will be enforced, including crowd control.

The Gabi ng Parangal (awards night) will be held as usual on Dec. 27 tentatively scheduled at the New Frontier Theater in Cubao, Quezon City. A courier, furnished with the nominees’ addresses, will stand by to deliver the trophies of the winners who may beg off from attending the affair calculated to accommodate a limited number of people.

Only four of the eight official entries have been confirmed, namely: Magikland (Brightlight Leisure Productions Inc./Peque Gallaga Reyes Films), fantasy adventure, directed by Christian Acuña and starring Jun Urbano, Migs Cuaderno and others; Praybet Benjamin 3 (ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc.), comedy, starring Vice Ganda; The Exorcism of My Siszums (Tincan), comedy horror, directed by Fifth Solomon and starring Toni Gonzaga and Alex Gonzaga; and Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan (Regal Entertainment Inc.), horror, directed by Chito Roño and starring Joshua Garcia and Angie Ferro. Deadline for the submission of finished film entry is extended to Nov. 15, not later than 5 p.m. Four will be chosen to complete the Lucky 8 official entries.

At a virtual press conference yesterday, the MMFF committee gave assurance that despite the GCQ (general community quarantine) status of Metro Manila, the virus “cannot dampen the Filipino Christmas spirit” and it is determined to bring the holiday tradition to every Filipino home not only here but also abroad.

After a careful and thorough deliberation on the five proposals for the online streaming partner, the MMDA and MMFF executive committee have engaged the services of Globe and Upstream to be their partners.

“We are very excited about the annual film festival that will take place on a new platform,” said MMDA chairman Danilo Lim in an online press briefing yesterday. “We are bringing the MMFF tradition in every Filipino home not just here in the country but all over the world via digital screening for the first time,” he said.

“We enjoin the public to be one with the entertainment industry and the other stakeholders, including the MMFF beneficiaries who have been hard hit by this pandemic, to make this MMFF 2020 a success,” he said.

There will also be online streaming of MMFF Parade of Stars and awards night, said MMFF executive committee co-chairman Romando Artes.

Tickets for the 2020 MMFF will be sold by Globe Telecom subsidiary G-Movies, starting Nov. 14 for P250 per entry.

“Not only one person but also his family members can watch in the comfort of their homes,” he said.

The 2020 MMFF will also promote the fight against online piracy, said Globe Telecom chief executive officer Ernest Cu at the same briefing.

The yearly film exhibition seeks to “showcase and bring to the farthest corners Filipino movies to Filipinos who are eager to watch Filipino content,” said Upstream CEO and film producer Dondon Monteverde.  –  Ghio Ong

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