For Metro Manila residents, Christmas is synonymous with the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). In previous years, all the theaters in town would begin screening the eight Filipino movies that have been pre-selected by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Dec. 25. This year, though, theaters have been closed since March because of the pandemic. The MMDA, however, is still hopeful that moviegoers will still want to see the Filipino films, hence the website www.upstream.ph. For P250, the family can watch an MMFF entry online this Christmas season from the safety and convenience of their homes. And you don’t have to be a Metro Manila resident to enjoy the festival. Anyone with Internet access can watch the MMFF entries from anywhere in the world.
One of this year’s MMFF entries is Magikland, the last movie created by Peque Gallaga and produced by Albee Benitez’s Brightlight Productions. It is the festival’s most expensive entry this year, costing Albee over a hundred million pesos to produce because of the extensive and complicated visual effects (VFX) involved. It is a proud showcase of Filipino talent and touches on Philippine folklore and mythology.
Magikland introduces four very talented young actors: Miggs Cuaderno, Elijah Alejo, Joshua Eugenio and Princess Rabara. In a brief interview, I asked them and directors Lore Reyes and Christian Acuña how they will make Christmas magikal this year despite the pandemic
Direk Christian: Christmas can still be magical despite the pandemic, although we are all stuck at home, physically apart. We can still have a common experience with each other, embark on this epic journey together, be transported to different worlds, meet different magical characters and creatures, test our courage, fight for what is right, and laugh and grow together. This magical experience will be the journey that binds us this holiday season. We can experience all these after we watch Magikland!
Miggs: Christmas is very special to us kasi tinuro nila mommy at daddy na it’s the birth of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We as a family can make it magical by celebrating it together and by having a special noche buena to celebrate. We will come together with happy and thankful hearts because our family is safe and in good health. We will also make it fun with some games and exchange gifts. Happiness, love and being with the whole family make it magical!
Elijah: For me, Christmas is magical because it’s the birthday of our Savior Jesus Christ. Every minute I spend with my family makes Christmas more meaningful. Even just a simple noche buena at home with my loved ones is enough to make Christmas magical.
Joshua: Ang pandemic na po yata ang isa sa nakakatakot na karanasan sa buhay namin. Sa ilang buwan po, lumabo ang pag-asa na maka-recover pa uli. Talagang malungkot lalo dahil parating na ang Pasko. Wala man lang makitang liwanag kung kailan babalik sa dati. Napakahirap mag-isip ng mag-isip. Tapos, bigla na lang na may message at mga post sa social media na sa Dec. 25 ay ipapalabas ang Magikland! Ang tagal ko pong hinintay ang araw na makikita ko ang sarili kong gumaganap, kasama ang ilan sa mga hinahangaan kong artista. Sobrang saya ko po talaga. Totoong ‘magik’ po talaga ang nararamdaman ko ngayon.
Princess: Spend Christmas with family and be thankful to God because we are together despite the crisis. Most importantly, the film Magikland will remind us the importance of family.
Direk Lore: At a certain point in my young adult life, I learned through bitter lessons to allow Christmas to be what it is without expectations. After one particularly disastrous Christmas season ruined by deep-seated differences ignited during family reunions, I just stopped hoping for perfection. And so it is in this Christmas in a time of pandemic, we can make Christmas magical if we make it all about love and human kindness. Let’s take time to ponder what is truly meaningful and important to ourselves, redefine our passion and start pursuing it again with a vengeance. Be angry about bad governance and do something about it if we can. Above all, be careful what you do or say; children are listening.
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