MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday he hoped that the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) would “continue to be a beacon of hope” as it shifted online to keep moviegoers safe from COVID-19.
The annual event since 1975 “has given the Filipino audience a time to enjoy the holidays with their family and friends in the cinemas,” Duterte said in a taped message.
The MMFF “showcases the best Filipino film-making and how it compares with the rest of the world” and “has given us memorable films that convey the richness of our culture and heritage,” he added.
“May the festival continue to be a beacon of hope for advancement of Philippine cinema and for growth as a nation,” the President said.
The MMFF’s 8 official entries will be shown online through Globe Telecom’s G Movies and film producer Dondon Monteverde’s Upstream for P250 each this December. All the traditional activities of the MMFF, like the annual Parade of Stars and the Gabi ng Parangal awards night will also happen virtually.
On the 46th year of the MMFF, the reach will extend to foreign shores, as the entries will be shown even to Filipinos abroad who cannot come home this Christmas season.
“We want to end [the year] on a happy note. We don’t want to take away the MMFF tradition,” Quark Henares, head of Globe Studios, earlier said. “We want families to be able to get together, enjoy movies together, enjoy entertainment and enjoy each other as the year ends.”
The inter-agency task force leading the country’s COVID-19 pandemic earlier prohibited large gatherings until the end of the year, prompting MMFF to consider other platforms that can address both the safety of the general public and help the local film industry.
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