When Competition Chairperson Laurice Guillen was asked if she is angry towards critics of Cinemalaya, she said: "Hindi ako nagagalit, nasasaktan lang ako." 

Photo: Allan Sancon

Despite their creative differences, Laurice still believes in Emerson's talent.

The Competition Chairperson pointed out: "He is young and I don't want to say anything... he still has a future."

She explained that there is a need to compromise especially when it comes to creating a project that would require financing from institutions such as Cinemalaya.

"When you are doing a project like this and there is a grant involved and there is a competition, you have to be more flexible but without sacrificing your integrity.

"Sometimes you can be set on someone who may not be right [for the project]."

FORMAL LETTER OF DISQUALIFICATION. At this point, Laurice revealed that it was Mr. Nestor Abrogena himself, the producer of MNL 143, who asked for a formal disqualification letter from Cinemalaya.

"After ng usapan namin, tinanong ko si Emerson, 'Nagkaintindihan ba tayo?'

"Sabi niya, 'Opo.' It was very amicable.

"I did not tell him who to cast. I just told him, from one filmmaker to another, yung pointers about casting.

"After one week, Robbie [Tan, Cinemalaya monitoring head] called me and said parang nag-impasse [deadlock or stalemate] sila.

"'Pag hindi na-approve ang [casting nila], hindi kayo matutuloy. Either you back out...

"Then Mr. Nestor Abrogena, whom I have never spoke with, sent me a text that was kinda rude.

"They were asking for a written disqualification letter."

Laurice revealed that this was the first time in the eight-year history of Cinemalaya that a finalist asked for written proof of being disqualified from the film festival.

"Ito pa lang ang first case na humingi ng ganyan," disclosed Laurice.