Senator Tito Sotto clarifies MMFF proposal does not favor brother Vic Sotto

IMAGE Noel Orsal

Senator Tito Sotto on being biased in his proposal to hold separate festivals for mainstream and independent films: "When I crafted the resolution, I never intended to favor anyone... Beneficiaries ang isa sa mahalaga sa akin, not what most people think that I am favoring mainstream films, especially my brother's." 


Senator Tito Sotto denied having a personal bias in his proposal for the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to hold a separate indie film festival apart from the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

At the Senate meeting today, January 24, the senator and TV host clarified that his position has nothing to do with his youngest brother Vic Sotto, who regularly joins MMFF in previous years.

For MMFF 2016, however, Vic's entry Enteng Kabisote 10 and The Abangers did not make the cut following the festival's newly instituted criteria in choosing the official eight entries.

Based on ABS-CBN News's live tweets, Sotto explained:

Sotto reiterated that the dominance of independent films during the festival last December resulted in the decrease of proceeds intended for MMFF beneficiaries.

Among the MMFF beneficiaries are Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND), Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council, Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), and Optical Media Board (OMB).

While he acknowledged that indie filmmakers can still join the December festival, Sotto said that his proposal to hold a separate indie film festival "would allow the indie films to be mandatorily shown in Metro Manila cinemas."

SENATE RESOLUTION 257. In Senate Resolution 257, Sotto noted MMFF 2016's "low earnings," resulting in the "detriment of the intended beneficiaries."

He also stated that the December festival should showcase films that will appeal to "regular MMFF moviegoers."

Sotto's resolution partly read: "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."

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

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FIRST DAY OF SENATE PROBE. Senator Grace Poe, who chaired the Senate probe on issues surrounding MMFF 2016, said that industry stakeholders must resolve how to balance "quality" and "commercial viability" in choosing entries for the annual for-Filipino-films-only festival.

Meanwhile, Sotto proposed to hold a for-Filipino-films-only festival that will include not only theaters in Metro Manila but also those in the provincial circuit.


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