Coco Martin to produce and direct film for 2017 MMFF
Actor Coco Martin, whose film with Vice Ganda titled “The Super Parental Guardians” failed to make the cut in the recently concluded 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), said he would still submit another entry this year.
“I was first an indie actor so I also want that more opportunities be given to people in the indies,” said Coco, who also observed that most of the films included in the 2016 festival lineup were independently produced. “I was never against the implementation of the new rules and regulations. Instead of resisting, I believe that we should all support them. I guess this is where the industry is heading. We should all adjust.”
The actor pointed out: “Those who have seen our movie said it was funny and entertaining. This means it has achieved its goal. [The MMFF selection committee] did not think it was good enough to be in the lineup. I guess we could have improved its quality if we only had enough time. We will be more prepared this year. We will come up with a film that’s funny, that’s suited for young viewers, but with good quality.”
Asked about his thoughts on the decision of the MMFF executive committee to strip “Oro” off its Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence because of the film’s controversial scene involving the butchering of a dog, Coco said: “I felt sad about what happened because I’m an animal lover. I have dogs and birds as pets. I still think there was a better way to execute that scene other than actually killing a dog. This is just my opinion. I cannot comment on the film because I have not seen it, but I’ve heard people say it’s a good one if not for that scene.”
On Thursday, Coco hosted a dinner with show biz scribes and gamely talked about his plans for 2017. He also shared what the audience could expect from his top-rating action-drama series “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.” Here are excerpts:
What will you remember most about 2016? It had been a good year for me. I didn’t expect people would embrace “Ang Probinsyano” the way they did during its first year. Also, I was so happy that they liked my movie with Vice. We didn’t make it to earn from it. We just wanted to inspire and entertain people.
What do you look forward to in 2017? I know there will be a lot of changes. I hope there will be more interesting TV series produced, that more local indie movies will [be able to] penetrate the international market, and that more investors will come here to produce worthwhile projects.
How do you feel that more mainstream actors are now venturing into indies? I am happy with what is happening now. It’s good that indie and mainstream are now collaborating. We should all work together for the industry’s benefit.
Up to when will your show air on TV? We still cannot say. It will continue to run until we sense that people no longer want to see it. The show still has a lot of issues to tackle. We have decided that, for this year, we will go to the provinces and work with fellow artists there. We will explore the Philippines. Our first stop is Cebu this January. We have already organized auditions there. Cardo is now a fugitive. He will flee and that’s where he will go first.
How much do you think did child actors Onyok and Mak Mak help the series and the movie? They (Simon “Onyok” Velasco and McNeal “Mak Mak” Briguela) have helped a lot in terms of viewership. What I want to share is the effect that the program had on their lives. They no longer think of what they’re doing as play. When you ask them now, they’ll tell you that they’re working hard to help provide for their families. I like it that the show is able to touch a lot of people’s lives.
What are your projects this year? After “Ang Probinsyano,” I plan to direct and produce a film. I’m not allowed to share details about it yet, except that it will be for the MMFF. The festival is important to me. I know that this is the only time of the year when Filipino families are together. I will do the film not for self-fulfillment, but to entertain my audience.
You have done a lot of charity work. How do you identify which people deserve your help? Not many know that I was once an OFW (overseas Filipino worker). I worked as a janitor in Canada for nine months. It’s during that time when I experienced extreme homesickness. That’s why I asked Dreamscape if we could have shows in Saudi Arabia and in Dubai [in United Arab Emirates]. There, we looked for people whom we could help get reunited with their families. Life was really hard for these Filipinos. To get food, they would scavenge, catch birds or collect their eggs. We surprised their families by sending them home this Christmas. We also had a free show in Hong Kong.
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