Now on its 42nd year, the Metro Manila Film Festival undergoes restructuring and implements drastic changes in response to past controversies.
During the grand launch of MMFF 2016 held at the SMX Convention Center, the Executive Committee (Execom) pronounced a “cinematic revolution” or #ReelVolution, and encouraged everyone to be part of the improvements to the film fest.
Following the protests that hounded MMFF 2015, there was even a House of Representatives’ inquiry regarding the disqualification of Honor Thy Father from the Best Picture race.
As a result, the MMFF refitted its Board of Directors, combining representatives from the public and private sectors to create the new 2016 Execom.
The new Execom is now led by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson and concurrent MMFF Executive Committee head Emerson Carlos.
#ReelVolution hosts Iza Calzado and Epy Quizon
During last night’s event, Iza Calzado and Epy Quizon served as the hosts of the program that also featured performances of Jett Pangan and Anthony Falcon. “We are about to rediscover the power of Philippine movies,” said Iza about the upcoming 42nd edition of MMFF.
Jett entertained audiences by performing “Liwanag sa Dilim” while Anthony delivered a spoken word monologue that suited the occasion.
One of the highlights of the evening was the revelation of the selection committee members who will determine the 8 official entries that will compete in the much-anticipated movie festival in December.
The MMFF 2016 selection committee is composed of:
1. Sid Lucero, actor (best known for the internationally recognized film Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan)
2. Lawrence Fajardo, writer/director (best known for the internationally recognized film Imbisibol)
3. Mae Paner, actor/film director/political activist
4. Atty. Trixie Angeles, conservationist/legal counsel for the National Commission on Culture and the Arts
5. Alan Allanigue, station manager of DZRB Radyo ng Bayan
6. Ma, Crispina Belen, veteran journalist
7. Krip Yuson, writer/poet who has been inducted to the Hall of Fame of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature
It should be noted that these members will only select the so-called “Magic 8” but a different set of jury members will judge the movies during the actual festival run.
“We patterned our operations sa film festivals abroad,” Chairman Emerson told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview after the press conference.
In past editions of MMFF, there were ordinary citizens from various sectors of society who were chosen to judge the movies. Will they still stick to this practice?
“Kaya meron na tayong People’s Choice Award. Separate yun. Yun ang nararapat sa ordinaryong manonood.
“But tungkol sa Best Film, mga categories natin, part of our mission and vision is to uplift our Filipino audience and kanilang art appreciation, gusto rin nating i-angat.
“Kaya itataas natin yun by putting in people who are knowledgeable talaga about films.”
NEW DEADLINES FOR ENTRIES. Instead of September, the deadline of submission of finished films has been moved to October.
The MMFF Execom revealed that they have moved the deadline to give producers more time to complete the finished films for consideration in the film fest that will run from December 25-January 7, 2017.
One of the biggest changes is moving the Awards Night to the end of the festival. The Gabi ng Parangal will be held on January 8, 2017, unlike previous editions when the awarding ceremony was held midway through the film fest.
When PEP asked why they decided to move the Gabi ng Parangal, Chairman Emerson Carlos explained, “Dati kasi, hindi pino-promote ang ibang films. Yung ibang films kasi nagre-rely sila sa awards night.
“[Iniisip ng producers] ‘Hindi tayo kikita ng dalawang araw pero by awards night, mananalo tayo so dun tayo magsu-zoom up.’
“Pero as we said, this time around, we are promoting everyone. Hindi na magiging ganun ka-material ang awards night because there are marketing strategies that we are going to do.
“Example, kung manood ka ng 3 films, mayroon ka nang raffle ticket. How can you do that if by the end of the awards night, na naka-schedule two days after, wala na yung films?
“It’s part of the program. It’s part of the entire plan kung paano natin maia-angat ang lahat ng films.”
INNOVATIONS IN MMFF 2016. In line with the MMFF’s new mission to celebrate Filipino filmmakers’ artistic excellence, and to champion the sustainability of the Philippine film industry, new selection criteria were drafted to determine the entries that would compete this year.
The conditions for the choice of finalists are built on story, audience appeal, overall impact (40%), cinematic attributes and technical excellence (40%), global appeal (10%), and Filipino sensibility (10%).
(To learn more about the new criteria for judging, read: MMFF 2016 emphasizes 'artistic excellence'; removes awards for 2nd, 3rd Best Picture & Best Child Performer)
For the 42nd edition of the MMFF, all Filipino artists are invited to take part in the logo design and theme song contest.
The winner of the logo competition will be chosen by the new Executive Committee. The selected artist will not only design the festival’s new emblem but will also be asked to create the key art visuals for the entire 6-month campaign.
The theme song will be a signal banner for the festival. Seasoned composers Jimmy Bondoc, Jerrold Tarog, and Robert Rivera will select the winning piece. Entries for logo and theme song submission will be accepted from July 15 until August 15. Victors of the competition will be announced on September 15.
To develop audiences for and encourage the production of quality Filipino films, the MMFF will launch an MMFF corner that will allow old and new fans alike to relive the country’s most glorious films through interactive galleries.
Simultaneously, the MMFF will hold the “Best of the Best” fest in select theatres, giving a chance for fans to recall the movies that added much color to the Filipino film industry. The FanCon will give the audience an opportunity to interact with the directors, producers, and artists as they explore the upcoming movie exhibits and activities.
The annual parade of the stars will be a bigger and more interactive fan fair. The revered awards night will transform into a formal gala.
Unlike past years, the MMFF will announce the winner at the end of the festival. To be held on January 8, 2017, the jurors have added more honors in this year’s culminating event, such as the People’s Choice Award.