During the announcement of the eight official entries to the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), Tim Orbos talked about “a new beginning” for the annual film festival.
“What you have here is a new beginning for the film fest. Ang sinasabi natin sa nangyayari sa atin, change. Change for the better,” said Orbos, the acting Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority and concurrent Chairman of the MMFF.
What is much talked about these days is the kind of films chosen by the Selection Committee as official entries to the MMFF 2016. Many were surprised at the inclusion—and the exclusion—of certain films.
As Orbos emphasized in his speech last November, “What is very apparent here is the independence of the selection process.”
What other notable changes are made in this year’s MMFF?
1. A new mission statement
The MMFF’s mission goes from promoting Philippine history and culture to celebrating Filipino artistic excellence, promoting audience development, and championing the sustainability of the film industry.
2. A re-energized logo and new theme song
Earlier in the year, the MMFF held logo design and theme song making competitions, with the theme “CineSama para sa Bagong MMFF.” The iconic “Jeepney” design by Nawruz Paguidopon emerged as the winning logo, which features geometric shapes in the colors of our flag, as well as landmarks of selected cities in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, this year’s winning theme song is titled “Cinesama Kayo,” composed by Emilyn Ofindo. The song is performed by Yassi Pressman and other artists.
3 A diverse Selection Committee
Various sectors in the film and media industries comprise this year’s Selection Committee. Nicanor Tiongson, Selection Committee chairman, is an author, Manunuri member, and former MTRCB Chair. Joining Tiongson are actor Ping Medina, writer/director Lawrence Fajardo, actor/director/political activist Mae Paner (aka Juana Change), DZRB Radyo ng Bayan station manager Allan Allanigue, veteran journalist Ma. Crispina Belen, and award-winning writer/poet Krip Yuson.
4. Scrapped New Wave category
In the previous years, the MMFF had two separate categories: Mainstream and New Wave. The New Wave category featured independent films as well as short feature films by indie directors and student filmmakers.
This year, both independent and mainstream films are combined in a single category. Short films, which, in the past, were shown in cinemas one week prior to the MMFF, will now be shown right before the showing of the mainstream films.
5 New criteria: Quality over commercial viability
Commercial viability took 50 percent of the criteria in previous years. This year, it’s not even on the list, with story, audience appeal, and overall impact, as well as cinematic attributes and technical excellence making up 80 percent of the criteria. Global appeal, or how the theme resonates with audiences from all walks of life, takes another 10 percent. Filipino sensibility, or how the story, characters, and themes reflect and interpret the Filipino experience, makes up the last 10 percent.
6. Changes in submission guidelines
In previous years, MMFF entries were allowed to submit scripts for consideration. The MMFF Executive Committee changed the guidelines this year, requiring completed films instead. Sometime in October, this rule was revised to accommodate submissions in the “picture-lock” stage. This means that after submission, filmmakers are still allowed to make enhancements such as sound design, score, grading, and visual effects.
7. New parade route
In 2015, the MMFF parade kicked off near SM Mall of Asia; this year, it will start at Manila City Hall and end at the historic public square, Plaza Miranda in Quiapo.
8. Revisions to awards categories
Two new award categories are being introduced this year: the Audience Choice Award and the Kids’ Choice Award. Earlier this year, the MMFF Executive Committee announced that kids will be evaluating entries that are classified G until PG level. The Best Child Performer award will also be removed, as well as the second and third best picture awards. Only the Best Picture Award will be given.
9. Mocha Uson appointed as MMFF ambassador
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) previously reported how Mocha Uson got named as an ambassador of the 42nd edition of MMFF. The staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte said she was helping the film fest as an "advocate."
(Read: Mocha Uson explains how she became MMFF 2016 ambassador)
During the December 21 press briefing held at the Malacanang Palace, Mocha Uson was given time to talk about her role in the annual film festival that will kick off on December 25.
"Alam naman po natin na napag-iwanan na ang industriya ng Filipino films ng ibang bansa.
"Ang layunin po ng MMFF ay itaas ang kalidad ng pelikula na pwede po nating ipagmalaki sa inang bansa. Ngayong taon na po ang pagbabago.
"At kailangan din po natin ng pagbabago sa film industry natin.
"Marami pong magagaling na filmmakers ngunit hindi po nabibigyan ng suporta ng ating gobyerno at masang Pilipino. Ngayon na may opportunity na sinusuportahan na sila ng gobyerno, kailangan tangkilikin rin ang mga films ng MMFF mg masang Pilipino.
"Tutulong po ako sa social media at sa ibang paraan para hikayatin ang ating mga kababayan.
“Natural lang po na magkaroon ng bangayan sa social media padating sa ibat-ibang issue at opinyon natin, ngunit pagdating po sa pagtulong sa ating bayan dapat po tayong magkaisa."
In response to Mocha's appointment, there were netizens who reacted by proposing a boycott of MMFF 2016.
We're gonna have the best MMFF in years and we get Mocha Uson as the mouthpiece. The hardworking men and women of film do not deserve her.— Kimi No Na Wasak (@thysz) December 21, 2016
There were others who supported this move since they believe Mocha will be able to influence others to support the MMFF, especially her 4 million Facebook followers.
As terrible as it is to have Mocha Uson as the MMFF ambassador. she's a means to an end. Masses listen to her.— stef aranas (@StefanoAllen) December 21, 2016
PEPsters, what can you say about the changes implemented in MMFF 2016?
(To stay updated about the latest news about the MMFF, visit http://www.pep.ph/guide/mmff)