Trouble for ‘Thy Womb’ at the MMFF
Rules were not violated, according to fest organizersBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
When Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Thy Womb” was tapped to replace Chris Martinez and Jerrold Tarog’s “Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), one of the competing producers, quite expectedly, expressed misgivings.
Produced by Unitel and Studio 5, “Lola Basyang” backed out of the fest last October 17.
Independently produced “Thy Womb” is distributed by Solar Films.
Wilson Tieng, head of Solar, confirmed on Friday that “Thy Womb” would take over the slot of “Lola Basyang.”
Malou Santos, managing director of Star Cinema (which fielded two entries in this year’s MMFF—Ruel Bayani’s “One More Try” and Wenn V. Deramas’ “Sisteraka”)—told the Inquirer that “Thy Womb” shouldn’t be allowed to join the festival, which begins on Christmas Day.
Roxy Liquigan, advertising and promotions head of Star Cinema, explained to the Inquirer: “We (at Star Cinema) thought that if a film had already been entered in another festival, it couldn’t join the MMFF.”
“Thy Womb” competed in last month’s Venice International Film Festival and was shown at the Toronto and Busan film fests, too.
Liquigan pointed out: “We also thought that two films couldn’t have the same star.”
The lead actress of “Thy Womb,” Nora Aunor, is also in the cast of Mark Meily’s “El Presidente.”
They said that “Thy Womb” is a drama film, like two other entries “El Presidente” and “One More Try”—which is in violation of the fest’s rules concerning genres as well.
“We hope that the MMFF committee can review the rules. We want to talk with them, to clarify some matters,” Liquigan said.
Dominic Du, a member of the selection and rules committee of the MMFF, pointed out that the inclusion of “Thy Womb” didn’t violate festival regulations.
“Aunor only has a cameo in ‘El Presidente,’ which is more of an action film. Only ‘Thy Womb’ and ‘One More Try’ are drama movies,” Du clarified. “Our rules allow two films of the same genre in the final lineup.”
As for the Venice fest, Du said MMFF rules allowed screenings in international festivals.
“The rules were revised early this year to consider some producers’ suggestion that films that had penetrated the international scene be permitted to join the MMFF,” Du said.
Meily agreed with Du: “The MMFF rule is that a film shouldn’t have had a commercial theatrical run in the Philippines. Also, Nora plays only a supporting role and comes out only in the last third of ‘El Presidente.’”
Du said the MMFF had previously informed other producers of the revised rule.
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