Despite resulting from the pandemic, it is high time for the local movie industry to enjoy another stretch of strictly all-Filipino titles in cinemas nationwide to boost the ever-challenged entertainment platform.
A shoot-off of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival in December which marked its 43rd year in 2022, producers likewise enjoy the support of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Film Council Development of the Philippines (FDCP) and the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines in this new endeavor.
A very timely stretch to hold another festival, the Holy Week is an annual break for most Filipinos, with the Easter weekend this year extending through Holy Monday. Following the spiritual traditions of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, Black Saturday is an ideal time for family and friends to get together for quality time at the cinemas, where they can enjoy stories close to heart and home.
The MMFF Selection Committee, which curated a variety of quality Filipino films as finalists for this maiden outing, is optimistic that the lineup will encourage the public – especially millennials and Gen Z who are on a break from work and school — to support the summer film fest.
And so, as The Manila Times Entertainment does every Christmas, it rounds up a comprehensive guide to the eight official entries the public should support for the first time this summer starting today, April 8 to April 18.
Producer: Center Stage Production
Director: Brillante Mendoza
Cast: Coco Martin, Lito Lapid, Jaclyn Jose, Gladys Reyes Genre: Crime and Family Drama
Synopsis: Apag delves into themes of family, guilt, justice and forgiveness as it follows the story of Rafael (Martin), a prominent Kapampangan restaurant owner who figures in an accident that kills a lowly tricycle driver. The incident forces his father, Alfredo (Lito Lapid), to take the fall for a crime he didn't commit, and leaves Rafael free but devoured by guilt. As penance, Rafael attempts to make amends with the victim's widow Nita (Reyes) but realizes that no secret can remain uncovered for long.
'Unravel: A Swiss Side Love Story'
Producer: MavX Productions Inc.
Director: RC Delos Reyes
Cast: Gerald Anderson, Kylie Padilla
Genre: Social Issue Drama
Synopsis: The film revolves around Lucy (Padilla), a woman seeking assisted voluntary death in Switzerland after a painful separation and Noah Brocker (Anderson), a half-Filipino determined to convince his visiting kababayan to change her mind. “Swiss Side” is a wordplay on suicide, which the love story heavily tackles, highlighting the man's need for “human connection” amid deep anxiety, distress and depression.
'Here Comes The Groom'
Producer: Quantum Films, CineKo Productions, Brightlight Productions
Director: Chris Martinez
Cast: Enchong Dee, Keempee De Leon, Gladys Reyes, Awra Briguela, Xilohuette, Maris Racal, Kalad Karen Genre: Comedy
Synopsis: Rodrigo Sr. (de Leon), his wife Salve (Reyes), and their children Rodrigo Jr. (Dee) and Blesilda (Racal) are on the road to Junior's destination wedding when a solar eclipse takes place on a mysterious magnetic field where they meet an accident. The family car collides with a van filled with gay pageant regulars in Mama Wendy (Iyah Mina), Wanda (Xilhouete), Winona (Antonio), Whilhelmina (Kaladkaren) and their trainee, Whitney (Awra). Soul swapping occurs on both sides the night before Junior's wedding, which cannot be undone until the next solar eclipse.
'Yung Libro Sa Napanuod Ko'
Producer: Viva Communications, Inc.
Director: Bela Padilla
Cast: Yoo Min-Gon, Bela Padilla Genre: Romance Drama
Synopsis: After reading “To Room 19,” the book where her favorite Korean drama series was based, Lisa (Padilla) is inspired to dabble in writing. Fortunately, with hard work, she succeeds as a bona fide author. At a book signing, she meets a Korean guy named Kim Gun-hoo (Yoo), who asks her for an autograph, admitting he is a huge fan. Gun-hoo soon invites Lisa to visit Korea with him, where he promises to take her to the iconic film locations of her favorite K-Dramas. On the trip, Lisa discovers a life-altering secret from her past that threatens to thwart her blossoming relationship with Gun-hoo.
'Love You Long Time'
Producer: Studio Three Sixty Inc.
Director: JP Habac
Cast: Carlo Aquino, Eisel Serrano
Synopsis: A young romance screenwriter (Serrano) suffers her biggest heartbreak causing her to hit a brick wall with her writing until she meets and falls in love with a mysterious guy (Aquino) through an old push-to-talk phone.
'About Us But Not About Us'
Producer: Octoberian Films, The Ideafirst Company, Quantum Films
Director: Jun Robles Lana
Cast: Romnick Sarmenta, Elijah Canlas
Genre: Drama Thriller
Synopsis: A literature professor meets his student at a restaurant and, over the course of a meal, secrets and lies arise, and a sinister connection to a mysterious suicide is discovered.
Director: Fifth Solomon
Cast: Aljur Abrenica, Alex Gonzaga, Angeline Quinto
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Synopsis: Rose Ann (Gonzaga) and Rose Mae (Quinto) strike up a friendship despite being polar opposites. Rose Ann swore to be single forever after being left at the altar, while Rose Mae is desperate to be in a relationship. In their search for contentment, they join the Single Bells Organization, a group that promotes self-love and is proud to be single.
'Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko'
Producer: Saranggola Media Productions, Inc.
Director: Joven Tan
Cast: RK Bagatsing, Meg Imperial
Synopsis: Rey Valera (Bagatsing) relives the inspirations that spurred him to compose his most popular hits, considered today among the beloved Original Pilipino Music classics.
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