Senator Tito Sotto files resolution for indie film festival separate from MMFF

IMAGE Noel Orsal

Senator Tito Sotto questions quality of indie films: "Quality ba yun? Hindi high-end equipment ang gamit. Hindi top quality ang video."



Senator Tito Sotto filed a resolution recommending a film festival exclusive to independent films, which is separate from the annual Metro Manila Film Festival.

In Senate Resolution 257, he proposed that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) establish a film festival exclusive for indie films that can take place during the long semestral break.

MMDA is the governing body of the MMFF.

According to Senator Sotto, indie movies dominated this year's MMFF because of the new criteria used in choosing the eight official entries.

He wrote in the resolution, which is published on the Twitter account of Zandro Ochona (@ZandroDZMM), “The dominance of independent films in the 42nd MMFF stirred discussions in social media and in the movie industry.

"While these independent films are considered by some as ‘breath of fresh air from the usual funny, fantastical storylines,’ and ‘encourage people to think,’ most of the regular MMFF moviegoers are still looking for the kinds of films screened in the previous MMFFs—movies that give them a good laugh.

"Since Christmas season is for children, and it is likewise the time when MMFF movies are being shown in the cinemas, the absence of the mainstream films in the MMFF entries for 2016 was prejudicial to the regular MMFF moviegoers, particularly the children, who always look forward to these movies to bond, enjoy, be entertained and share a good laugh with their family and friends."

He also stated that since the MMFF 2016 entries were mostly indie films, he observed that "audience turnout has been low."

The reduced number of viewers prompted a number of cinemas to drop some of the MMFF 2016 being screened.

The senator also noted that because of low earnings from these films, the MMFF's mandate to promote the welfare of its workers had also been “somewhat brushed aside.”

QUALITY OF INDIE. When Senator Sotto spoke with senate reporters, he said that the indie films did not generate much income that is supposed to go to beneficiaries, which is the main purpose of MMFF.

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"Ang original purpose is to raise funds for Mowelfund, Optical Media Board, etc, hindi lang basta for art's sake," he was quoted as saying in an article published on Interaksyon. 

When it comes to the moviegoers, he said, "Na-agrabyado ang mga bata. Wala namang movie na GP [General Patronage], e."

He also commented on the quality of the indie films by pointing out, "Quality ba yun? Hindi high-end equipment ang gamit. Hindi top quality ang video."

But in his resolution, Senator Sotto recognized that indie films must also be given importance, especially since there are those that received awards from international film festivals.

He said, “Independent films must likewise be given its well-deserved spotlight—separate from the mainstream films that can take or divide the attention from them—from the public in general."

The Senator claimed that there is no conflict of interest when he filed this resolution to create an independent film festival separate from the MMFF.

It will be recalled that the movie of his brother Vic Sotto, Enteng Kabisote 10 and the Abangers, did not make it to the final list of entries.

In his Twitter account, Senator Sotto reiterated that he filed the resolution for the beneficiaries of MMFF, which is in line with the executive order creating the said film fest.




FDCP REACTS. Liza Dino, the current chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, reacted to his proposal by saying that it is more important to show a united front instead of creating divisions in the entertainment industry.

Liza wrote on her Facebook account:

"Dear Honorable Sen. Sotto,

"It is not in MMDA's mandate to create festivals, it is under FDCP. As a developmental agency, our goal is to UNITE the industry not to divide?

"We are on our way there. TIWALA LANG PO!"

Para sa sining at pelikulang Pilipino,
Liza Dino-Seguerra
FDCP Chairperson/CEO

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