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Will the MMFF 10 entries work?

Selecting 10 official entries of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) was never done before, except for this year! It is unprecedented and surreal.

Let us weigh in the pros and cons. With four shoo-in titles, (K)ampon starring Beauty Gonzales and Derek Ramsay, Penduko with Matteo Guidicelli, Rewind starring real-life couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, and A Family of Two (A Mother and Son Story) starring Sharon Cuneta and Alden Richards, the selection committee had a problem that they escalated to the executive committee.

‘Penduko’ and ‘(K)ampon’

Jesse Ejercito in his report to the executive committee (Execom), revealed that they viewed an average of four to five films a day. Coupled with that, it was hard to pick four films out of the 30 films submitted for consideration!

So, they threw their “big” problem to the Execom, who recommended to select six more entries that the usual four.

Here are the different takes for getting 10 films vying for MMFF cinema slots; From the producers’ point of view, the more films in the line-up, the more they will lose the market share if their films do not do well in the box-office. With more entries, producers might not recoup their investments. The practice of “first day, last day” might crop up again. If the film has little ticket sales on day one, there’s a big probability that the film loses the cinemas assigned to them. It’s a silent practice that kills the small indie productions. Unlike the art savvy film festivals like Cinemalaya or QCinema, there is an equal sharing of the number of cinemas for all finalists.

‘Rewind’ and ‘A Family of Two (A Mother and Son Story)’

Traditional movie making is business. Between blockbusters and critically acclaimed films, the cinema exhibitors prefer the hits. And we do not blame them. For the Execom, to be part of the MMFF is an “honor” already for the finalists and after their December cinema run, they have better chances of more earnings in the streaming devices because they were part of the MMFF. If ever they get “small” earnings from the cinema run, they can break even, and receive more premium if they sell it to streaming companies. Showing in cinemas gives boost to its marketing with the streaming platforms.

We were at the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) when the six additional entries were announced. We were quite surprised that the big cinema exhibitors and players were supportive of the 10 MMFF entries.

After pandemic, the viewing habits of our movie going audience drastically changed. They would rather subscribe to streaming platforms than bring their families to the movies because of the escalating ticket prices.

‘Mallari’ and ‘Firefly’

No one is sure what will happen with the purchasing power of our audience this year. But hearing from the exhibitors that they are willing to test the market, welcome the 10 entries, and offer 800 cinemas this Christmas season was admirable.

They acknowledged the filmmakers’ hard work and the producers’ commitment for quality films. They deserved to be in the festival because of they have done a good work based on their submissions.

The ten trailers were shown to the Execom and most entries looked promising. They succeeded on the criteria of “artistic excellence” and commercial appeal. The other six entries were Firefly, Gomburza, When I Met You in Tokyo, Becky and Badette, Mallari, and Broken Hearts Trip.

‘Broken Heart’s Trip’ and ‘When I Met You in Tokyo’

With the 10 entries, the biggest winner will be the audience. We think Gomburza might be a favorite school assignment for students studying history. The senior fans of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon might go back to the cinemas again to watch their idols rekindle their love team in When I Met You in Tokyo. Director Zig Dulay might surprise us with his offering of an inspiring children’s film, Firefly, very well-suited for the family. Pokwang and Eugene Domingo will make us laugh again with their comedic skills in Becky and Badette.

‘Gomburza’ and ‘Becky and Badette’

The more choices for our audience, the better for the Filipino viewers. Let the audience decide on their favorite genre in the country’s biggest commercial film festival.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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