MNL 143 director Emerson Reyes's (in photo) disqualification from the 8th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival has created a hullaballoo among a community of independent filmmakers and cinephiles. Prompted by this controversy, following Cinemalaya Monitoring Head Robbie Tan's explanation of MNL 143's disqualification, filmmakers have created an online petition pushing for reform and transparency in the festival's requirements and guidelines. 

Photo: Jocelyn Dimaculangan

The disqualification of film director Emerson Reyes's entry to the 8th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival has created a noise in the film community, particularly among independent filmmakers and cinephiles.

An online petition pushing for reform in Cinemalaya was launched via campaign site after Cinemalaya Monitoring Head Robbie Tan expounded on why MNL 143, Emerson's entry, was dropped from the list of finalists in the New Breed category.

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"What we want now is a dialogue actually with the Org Comm [Organizing Committee]," states Emerson in an exclusive interview with (Philippine Entertainment Portal) yesterday, March 8, at the Alejandra Hotel, Zobel Roxas, Manila.

"Kung magkakaro'n ng forum, ayaw naming magsalita na kami lang. We want na... both sides. Mahirap kasi na... 'ganito' yung sinasabi nila, na 'ganito.'

"[Dapat] mag-meet. Mas maganda kung mag-meet lahat... Let's clear things. Hindi na ito para sa MNL 143."

The 26-year-old filmmaker, who is also a teacher at the College of Saint Benilde, says that he and his producer are pushing through with the project even without Cinemalaya's P500,000 grant.

"We're producing this independently, kami-kami.

"So, we're not actually planning to go back to Cinemalaya.

"We really don't have plans of doing that. That's far from the plan.

"What we want now is, of course, para rin sa ibang mga filmmakers na sasali sa Cinemalaya, kung ano [ba] talaga ang Cinemalaya.

"Sana magkaro'n sila ng guidelines, [maging] transparent sila sa rules.

"Kasi they were saying na we broke rules... what rules did we break?"

CASTING ISSUE. Emerson mentions that in the disqualification letter penned by Cinemalaya Competition Chairperson Laurice Guillen Feleo, the Organizing Committee found his original cast of actors, Alan Paule and Joy Viado, "not suitable for the material."