29 Dec MMFF without controversies is NOT MMFF

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JUAN SAYS: We have been reading up on posts regarding the disqualification of the movie “Honor Thy Father” from the best picture category of the Metro Manila Film Fest and we couldn’t help but wonder why many people are still putting much premium on it considering its track record of “basura” films from one festival to another, year after year. One of its main components to be considered an entry is its commercial viability come Christmas time. To state that in your rules and regulations would mean one thing, and one thing only, it is no longer about craft or the artistry of filmmaking, but purely business. We couldn’t blame MMFF for being such a festival since it is really a money making scheme to fund its many advocacies and film groups that they have been supporting all these years. Sa totoo lang, kailangan talaga nilang kumita ng pera dahil marami din ang umaasa sa kitang ipapasok ng mga pelikula ng MMFF para sa pagpapalaganap ng industriya sa ating bansa.

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 To look at it from a different perspective, it is good that this whole fiasco happened, we all now begin to understand what MMFF is all about. Let us not compare MMFF to any of the more known film festivals abroad because it is NOT what we think it is. MMFF today exists to bring joy and lighthearted fun come Christmas time to movie viewers. It is a showcase not of artistry, but a showcase of fan base. The wider the fan base the better for the festival. It is not about the brilliance of directors nor the talent of the artists themselves, but more of bankability and the potential to rake in millions of hard earned money from the fans.

Eh bakit nga ba nagsusumiksik pa ang mga film producers sa paggawa ng pelikula at makapasok sa MMFF? It is also for the very same reason – to rake in the bucks. Many film producers make one film a year, especially independent film producers with the hopes of entering the MMFF. Let’s face facts: MMFF brings income to these producers kaya pilit pa ring pinagsisiksikan ang sarili sa MMFF.

If you analyze this year’s entries, there are more RomComs today than there was last year. Why? It was due to the fact that “English Only Please” made a huge comeback after it bagged several awards from the festival’s awards night last year. Fumo-formula ang mga producers. Ang hindi nila naisip, hindi porke’t umubra last year ay uubra na naman this year. Plus the fact that Aldub rose to stardom in 2015 with a very solid fan base that would support the tandem even if it meant spending their last P400 just to watch the movie.

“Honor Thy Father” was supposed to be a refreshing addition to this year’s lot. Yet the hulabaloo on its disqualification has caused a stir not just in the festival but the whole film industry in general. In our honest opinion, “Honor Thy Father,” with its brilliant filmmaking is not fit for MMFF. If anything, it is worthy to be sent to more prominent film festivals abroad. “Honor Thy Father” could have raked in awards after awards for the country, yet they still chose to be in the ranks of the so-called “basura” films. Sa totoo lang, kailangan din naman nilang kumita. Parang Heneral Luna hindi ba? Gaano man kaganda ang isang pelikula, kung hindi kikita, titigilan din ng film producers ang paggawa ng dekalidad na pelikula dahil uubusin lang nito ang pondo ng produksyon na wala naman talagang bumabalik sa kanila. At the end of the day, it is still business. Though we can all cringe at the thought at refute what we are saying, it is what it is.

MMFF without controversies is not MMFF. We rest our case!

Here is the prepared speech of “Honor Thy Father” Erik Matti, winner of the best director award for the MMFF.

Sa kabila ng lahat, magandang gabi pa rin sa inyo.

Kahit kailan po, hindi ako gumawa ng pelikula para magka-award. At kung may mga reklamo man ako sa MMFF, hindi ‘yan tungkol sa pagdisqualify niyo sa Honor Thy Father from the Best Picture category. Naglabas na ng statement ang producer namin na si Dondon Monteverde. Sang-ayon ako sa mga sinabi niya doon. Mas malalim kesa d’yan ang disappointment ko sa MMFF.

Mula sa pagpili niyo ng mga sineng isasali hanggang sa pagkunsinti niyo sa masahol na trato ng mga sinehan sa ibang pelikula, lalo na ng maliliit na producers, para sa isang die-hard movie fan na gaya ko, hindi ko na halos makilala ang film festival na dati kong hinangaan at nirespeto.

Maraming salamat na lang sa libreng publicity at higit sa lahat, sa pagbukas ng pinto para pag-usapan na sa wakas ng filmmakers pati ng moviegoers ang mga hinahangad nilang pagbabago sa MMFF.

Sa lahat naman ng Pilipinong hindi pa rin nagsasawang manood ng mga gawa namin dito, salamat sa inyo. You deserve better. Kaya tulungan niyo naman kami. Demand for better films! Demand for more choices in the cinemas! Kaya pa natin baguhin ‘to. Hindi ako titigil kung hindi rin kayo titigil.

Hindi na ito tungkol sa Honor Thy Father. Buong industriya ng paggawa at panonood sa pelikulang Pilipino ang usapan na ‘to. Kaya, salamat na rin sa inyo, MMFF. Binuhay niyo ang pag-asa ko para sa pagbabago.

 

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