House expands MMFF probe

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 31, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The congressional inquiry into the alleged irregularities that occurred in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will be expanded to include the reported “sudden and unceremonious” withdrawal of movie entries that showed weakness in the box office, the chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development said yesterday.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the panel that will investigate the controversy, said there is a clamor for his committee to find time to hear the complaints of the affected parties, who claimed that certain movie entries were withdrawn from movie houses without any prior notices.

The House leader earlier announced the committee will conduct public hearings immediately after the New Year mainly to focus on some major issues, including the reported disqualification of the film Honor Thy Father from the selection of the Best Picture category of the MMFF; and the reported switching of movie tickets.

Moviegoers who went to see the film My Bebe Love were reportedly given tickets for another film, Beauty and the Bestie, apparently to reflect higher gross earnings for the latter film.

He said the investigation in aid of legislation has to include the alleged ticket swapping as traditional media outfits and social media have been widely reporting on the matter.

“This is a lingering issue that has not been appropriately addressed and clarified,” Castelo said.

He said the panel intends to invite officials and representatives of their producers — Entertainment and GMA Films for My Bebe Love and Star Cinema, an ABS-CBN subsidiary, for Beauty and the Bestie.

The two films, produced by the two largest television networks in the country – ABS-CBN and GMA-7 -– are reportedly the top revenue earners in the MMFF.

Earlier, Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez had filed a resolution directing the panel to conduct a probe “in aid of legislation” on the reported disqualification of the film Honor Thy Father.

Castelo said producers of the film Nilalang were complaining that their film was withdrawn from a number of theaters after only three days of showing due to “poor sales,” among other things.

He acknowledged that market forces have driven theater owners to withdraw what appeared to be box office movie flops, but said a film festival does not exist mainly to cater to the market forces.

“The intention of every film festival is to give a wide range of choices for moviegoers,” Castelo said. “Film festivals provide a level playing field, which enable poorly promoted films to stand on equal footing with other films.”

 

ACIRC BEAUTY AND THE BESTIE BEST PICTURE CASTELO DAN FERNANDEZ FILM HONOR THY FATHER LAGUNA REP METRO MANILA METRO MANILA FILM FESTIVAL MY BEBE LOVE
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