Aiming to revive public interest and patronage for the local film industry, the Metro Manila Development Authority will present five indie films as part of its pre-festival offering for the 36th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
MMDA chairperson Francis Tolentino, together with MMFF co-chairperson Herbert Bautista, chose five films from among the nine independent film producers who submitted their entries.
"This is our way of helping new filmmakers to showcase their movies and to increase public awareness on these kind of films. These films are not commercially shown but are acclaimed in foreign film festivals," Tolentino said in a press conference held in Quezon City last week for indie film entries.
As part of their efforts to help indie filmmakers, a P100,000 reward will be given to the Best Indie entry in this year's MMFF.
The indie films will be judged according to the same criteria used for the mainstream entries—70 percent for artistic, creative and technical excellence, and 30 percent for cultural values.
One entry will also be given the award for Achievement in Technical Excellence and shall receive a sponsorship from Fuji Film to convert the film into 35 millimeter picture for showing in the regular commercial run after January 7, 2011.
All the winners will be announced during the awards night on December 26 at the Meralco Theater.
This year's MMFF will run from Christmas Day, December 25, until January 3, 2011.
Presa director Adolf Alix Jr. spoke on behalf of the other filmmakers in thanking the MMDA and the MMFF executive committee for featuring indie films this year.
"Ang importante po kasi sa aming mga filmmakers ay ang mag-share ng istorya ngayon. Alam din po namin na mayroon din pong mga pelikula na nahihirapan to be distributed because of its subject matter, naiintindihan din po namin iyon.
"Kaya nagpapasalamat po kami sa mga institusyon tulad ng MMDA, na tulad ngayon ay tumutulong sa amin to help the awareness of the independent films," director Adolf said.
PREMIERE NIGHTS. The films will have individual invitational premiere nights from December 16 to December 20 at Cinema 3 of Robinsons Galleria.
Nasaan si Hefte will be the initial offering on December 16. Directed by Jonah Lim, this indie film features Darryl, Anna Luna, Gina Lumauig, Kenneth Dave Go, and Rommel Luna.
It is about a seven-year old boy named Hefte who is declared missing but is found in the garage after six years. Mysteriously he claims to be another person.
Meanwhile, Adolf Alix Jr. depicts the lives of female inmates in a medium-security compound via his film Presa. The all-star cast is led by Anita Linda, and features Perla Bautista, Rosanna Roces, Tetchie Agabayani, Jodi Sta. Maria, Daria Ramirez, Ina Feleo, and Alessandra de Rossi.
Based on a true story, this film was shot inside the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City. It tells the story of an inmate accused of drug pushing who is hopes to receive presidential clemency on Christmas.
Another indie film, Senior Year, is a work by Jerrold Tarog that aims to reflect the youth of today. It is about the intertwining lives of ten students as they struggle in the final months before graduation. LJ Moreno, Ramon Bautista, LJ Reyes, Dimples Romana, RJ Ledesma, and Che Ramos are in the cast.
A former OFW from Saudi turned director offers viewers a psychological thriller titled Rindido. It stars Chanel Latorre, Vic Tiro, Banjo Romero, and Noriel Jarito.
Noriel Jarito also wrote and directed this film, which is about an OFW who runs amok after losing his job and catching his woman with another lover. It is rated R-18 by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
Diether Ocampo topbills Slow Fade, which will have its premiere on December 20. Darius (Diether) is a frustrated filmmaker afflicted with a terminal illness who rediscovers his long-forgotten craft. By doing a series of videos about himself and his community, he remembers the beauty of life.
Precious Lara Quigaman joins Diether in this film co-produced by PLDT-Smart Foundation, Cinemabuhay and Brainchild Creatives. Albert Martinez also served as executive producer of the film.
Incidentally, Albert is the director of the period film Rosario, which is one of the eight entries competing in the 36th MMFF. Diether Ocampo is part of the mainstream horror film Dalaw.