(MMFF) MMFF Announces First Four Entries, And I’m Having Second Thoughts

I’m having second thoughts. That is after the announcement of the first four films of the upcoming 45th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). The merits are given of course to a submitted finished script from various movie producers. Some of them if I am not mistaken is that the story line must promotes our cultural values and our tradition.

Selection Committee headed by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera chose the top 4 based on the following criteria:

Artistic Excellence 40%

Commercial Appeal 40%

Filipino Cultural Sensibility 10%

Global Appeal 10%


These are the first four (4) official entries of the 45th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)

1. “(K)ampon” – Derek Ramsay & Kris Aquino
2. “Miracle in CELL # 7” – Aga Muhlach & Nadine Lustre
3. “Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity”- Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza
4. “Momalland” – Vice Ganda and Anne Curtis

The next four will be selected from the finished films by September 20. Short Film producers will have until August 15 to submit their entries. Other films expected to make it to the cut hopefully by second batch would be movies of Aiai De las Alas, Jennylyn Mercado and Coco Martin. As well as the movie of Robin Padilla (Magikland), and Mindanaw of Judy Ann Santos. These films didn’t make it to the first cut because of the genre.

I am interested in the storyline of Quantum Film’s (K)ampon given that Horror Films are actually interesting on Christmas Day. APT Entertainment and M-ZET plus Star Cinema and Viva Films will bring the tried and tested Box Office formula catering all ages. Though I expected more from the committee to repeat that wonderful batch back in 2016, I guess I am resting my case thinking what else can be done to the Festival that used to showcase quality films in its truest sense of quality. I am questioning the inclusion of Viva films entry Miracle in Cell #7. A remake of a successful Korean movie of 2013 starring Ryu Seung-ryong, Kal So-won and Park Shin-hye. I mean no offense to my Best Actress Nadine Lustre and Aga Muhlach and I am sure Direk Nuel Naval will give a wonderful version of the movie but a remake made it to the official selection? An Asian film remake? Not even a Filipino owned filmed remake?

And why are we having the likes of MMDA chair Danny Lim, Sen. Bong Go and Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez as member of the MMFF team?

Photo credit by Krixia Subingsubing's tweet from Philippine Daily Inquirer

There is an ongoing debate in defining the qualifications of the official MMFF entries in terms of bankability versus quality. As I have mentioned, 2016 MMFF actually gave us hope in seeing good films in the festival such as Saving Sally, Sunday Beauty Queen by Baby Ruth Villarama and the likes. It was a Festival of wonderfully crafted films, giving our souls a breather from the usual romantic comedy, fantasy and wasted Shake Rattle and Roll series.

Of course, it didn’t fare well in the Box Office sales and it got the lowest earning in the last years. But what is the meaning of success to MMDA? It looks like they have their own definition of success. And it is not the way we see it.

I am not saying that comedies and fantasies are not good for December films because understandably, this is the time where families bond for the holiday. I just feel like MMFF should really define its core. I have been supporting MMFF even before I became a blogger. And I think my reservations now are valid.

The 45th Metro Manila Film Festival is going to be held nationwide starting December 25, 2019

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Rod Magaru is an award winning content creator based in the Philippines. He blogs about lifestyle and Entertainment and is known for breaking news on new projects in TV, Movies and reviews of products, hotels and awesome travel tips. He is also a Social media strategist, accepts hosting & speaking engagement. For inquiries email [email protected]