MMFF 2019 line-up complete
STAR CIRCUIT - Ricky L. Calderon (The Freeman) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

The last four official entries to the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival were announced Wednesday afternoon at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan. There was excitement in the air as film producers who submitted entries started arriving one by one.

One film producer who is a friend said he attended the event just to hear the announcement although he believes their entry might not make it. “I am here to support whoever makes it,” he said.

The excitement and anticipation can send an aspiring producer’s stomach to go awry. All in all, there were 15 films still vying for the four slots. It was anybody’s ballgame, so to speak, but if we were to listen to the comments of our writer colleagues, some of the entries already had an inside chance of making it.

Of course, we may be wrong in our assumption that a film top billed by a certain star may be a shoo-in as one of the entries. Or an entry by a known producer is sure to be selected. A scriptwriter friend who wrote one of the entries jokingly said she’s punishing herself feeling nervous waiting for the verdict. Well, that is part of the game, we told her. When you join a contest, you should be prepared for any consequence.

And then there were four. Making it to the Magic 8 of the 2019 MMFF, based on finished films are:

“Mindanao,” starring Judy Ann Santos and Allen Dizon, from Centerstage Productions, directed by Brillante Mendoza. It falls under the category drama/animation.

“3Pol Trobol Huli Ka Balbon,” starring Coco Martin, Ai Ai delas Alas, and Jennylyn Mercado, from CCM Film Productions, directed by Rodel Nacianceno. It falls under the action genre.

“Culion,” featuring Iza Calzado, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Meryll Soriano, from iOptions Ventures Corporation, written by Ricky Lee and directed by Alvin Yapan. It falls under the historical film category.

“Write About Love,” starring Miles Ocampo, Rocco Nacino, Joem Bascon and Yeng Constantino, from TBA Studios, directed by Crisanto B. Aquino. It falls under the romance category.

Other entries that were earlier announced based on the finished script are:

“Miracle in Cell #7” from Viva Communications, starring Aga Muhlach and Bela Padilla, which falls under the category family drama.

“Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity” from APT Entertainment and M-ZET Productions, starring Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza, directed by Michael Tuviera, under comedy.

“Sunod,” from Ten 17 Productions, starring Carmina Villarroel, directed by Carlo Ledesma, under the horror category.

“The Mall, The Marrier,” from ABS-CBN Film Productions and Viva Films, starring Vice Ganda, Anne Curtis and Tony Labrusca, directed by Barry Gonzales. It falls under the category fantasy/comedy.

At the announcement press conference last Wednesday, Carmina said this is her comeback MMFF film. She was still single when during her last entry. Now, her daughter is already grown up. She said “Sundo” is very scary and she herself was affected by a scene while doing it.

Mrs. Gilie, the producer of “Culion,” said she really wanted the film to be part of MMFF. “This is a story that needs to be told and when we started doing it, we really intended to have it as an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival,” she said.

For his part, controversial film producer Shandii Bacolod (also from “Culion”) said it is an honor to be competing alongside Cannes best director winner Brillante Mendoza.

He was saddened though, by the non-inclusion of the Nora Aunor film “Isa Pang Bahaghari.”

“I am still and forever will be a Noranian. Kahit na hindi napili ang movie niya, the fact remains she is a great actress and her name is part of MMFF history,” he added.

“If you join the MMFF, dapat ready ka for anything that will happen. We are happy that ‘Culion’ was accepted but we are ready if ever our film will not be chosen. We believe we have a good project in our hands and it is a story that needs to be told and shared to many people.”

In a statement released to the media, Mr. Eduardo Rocha, CEO and Executive Producer of TBA, said “Write About Love” is TBA Studios’ way of honoring the unsung heroes of filmmaking – the scriptwriters. This film is about how these talented individuals often create characters which turn out to be their alter egos. They believe that the most talented scriptwriters are here in the country and that Filipinos deserve a shot at global recognition.

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