Jeers greet Metro film fest awards: Justifying crap


Online jeers, more than cheers, continue in reaction to the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) awards given on Thursday night.

The two most pointed posts on Facebook as of Friday night described the best picture citation for Star Cinema’s “One More Try” as “justifying crap with more crap” and “celebrating and rewarding mediocrity.”

Producers did not reply to the Inquirer’s query about observations, also gathered online, comparing the film to an award-winning 2008 Chinese movie.

“One More Try” is about a former couple, now with different partners, who can save the sickly child of their earlier relationship only by having another child. While working on a parallel story line, the Chinese movie, “In Love We Trust,” is seen as a commentary on China’s one-child policy.

Earlier on Thursday, Cinemanila International Film Festival director Amable “Tikoy” Aguiluz posted an “urgent message” on his personal Facebook account calling for action against cinemas pulling out one of the MMFF entries, replacing it with others that were doing better in ticket sales.

“This is a festival and the film (‘Thy Womb’) deserves a full run,” Aguiluz said. He urged “all lovers of Filipino cinema” to march to Meralco Theater in Pasig City, where the awards rites were held, “and demand the movie’s return to the theaters.” No such demonstration was noted on Thursday night.

Three other “slow-moving” entries were said to be replaced with the more popular ones.

Cited abroad

“I hope this award will make people more curious about the movie [so] we don’t get pulled out from any more cinemas,” said Brillante Ma. Mendoza, named best director for “Thy Womb.”

The movie, which has won awards for Mendoza and lead actress Nora Aunor in film festivals abroad, is the only entry that did not reach the P1-million mark when the festival opened on Christmas Day. It is reportedly still at the bottom of the box-office rankings at press time.

“Thy Womb” tells the story of a Badjao midwife who, failing to conceive, finds a second wife for her husband. The role won for Aunor the MMFF best actress trophy. In her acceptance speech, the actress said in Filipino: “I always tell people that, as a singer, I continue to sing even if only five people are listening. As an actor, I promise to keep making meaningful films, if I have to produce them myself, as long as there are even a few people watching.”

“Thy Womb” bagged the Gatpuno Villegas Memorial and the Most Gender-Sensitive Film awards. It also won best production design for Mendoza; best cinematography for Odyssey Flores; and best story for Henry Burgos.


Theater assignments


In a joint statement sent to the Inquirer on Friday, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA, which mounts the festival) chair Francis Tolentino and MMFF executive chair Jesse Ejercito insisted: “The assignment of theaters to the eight official entries [was] done fairly.”

They explained that in Metro Manila, theater assignments were determined by drawing lots. However, in the provinces, they said, the decision was “up to the theater owners.” The festival became nationwide more than 10 years ago.

No big winner


“One More Try,” directed by Ruel Bayani, won for Dingdong Dantes his second best festival actor award. Last year, he won for another Star Cinema production, “Segunda Mano.”

The film also won best editing for Vito Kahili and best screenplay for Anna Karenina Ramos, Kriz Gazmen and Jay Fernando. It received the first Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award and Miguel Vergara was named best child performer.

Number-wise, though, it wasn’t the big winner; this distinction went to the Emilio Aguinaldo bio pic “El Presidente,” which ran away with the most awards, starting with second best picture.

Cesar Montano, who plays Andres Bonifacio in the movie, won best supporting actor; Jamir Garcia and, best theme song; and Jesse Lasaten, best musical score; Albert Idioma, best sound.

“El Presidente” also bagged the best float and Youth Choice awards. Best makeup award was given to Warren Munar, Benny Batoctoy and Virginia Apolinario.

The Wenn Deramas comedy “Sisterakas” was declared third best picture.

The criteria

For festival watchers confused by the choices, here are the awards criteria from the MMDA: “25 percent for creativity and artistic excellence, innovativeness and global appeal; 25 percent for technical excellence and innovativeness; 25 percent for content; and 25 percent for Filipino, cultural and/or historical value.”

This year’s panel of judges was chaired by Prof. Rowena Capulong-Reyes, dean of Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Among the members were: Felipe de Leon Jr., chair, National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Mutya ng Pilipinas Camille Guevarra; Emmanuel Borlaza, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board vice chair; Joyce Bernal, filmmaker; and Ma. Carmen Syquia Musngi, MTRCB member.

Box-office winner

Wilma Doesn’t bagged the best supporting actress award for “Sisteraka,” headlined by Ai-Ai delas Alas, Vice Ganda and Kris Aquino.

The movie is this year’s box-office winner. Its listed earnings on the first festival day (it ends Jan. 8) was  P39.1 million,  closely followed by Tony Y. Reyes’ “Si Agimat, Si Enteng at Si Ako,” which reportedly made P29.4 million. The fantasy-adventure flick, top-billed by Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Vic Sotto, did not win any award.

The Chito Roño horror film “Shake, Rattle and Roll 14: The Invasion” took home one—the best visual effects trophy for Imaginary Friends and Black Burst.

Most Gender Sensitive Film award went to “Thy Womb” in the main competition; Will Fredo’s “In Nomine Matris” in the New Wave (independent films) category; and Roberto Pagotan’s “Manibela” under Shorts.


New Wave

Alan Paule won New Wave best actor for his performance in Ronaldo Bertubin’s “Gayak”; Liza Diño, New Wave best actress for “In Nomine Matris.”

Named New Wave best director was Tyrone Acierto for his work on “The Grave Bandits,” which was declared best picture in that category. Special Jury Prize went to Armando “Bing” Lao for “Ad Ignorantiam.”

Best shorts were:  “Promdi” and “Monthsary” for Luzon; “License to Drive,” Visayas; “Bulgaran sa Daan” and “The Boy the Girl and the Traffic Light,” Mindanao.

(Special prizes were handed out for the first time in the festival’s history: Former president Joseph Estrada and Aunor, Male and Female Stars of the Night; Zanjoe Marudo and Bianca King, SMDC Male and Female Celebrity of the Night.)

Henry Burgos, accepting his best story trophy for “Thy Womb,” said: “I wish to see changes, even just a little, in the way we Filipinos tell our [own] stories. Let’s continue to support movies that aim to teach and enlighten us.”

Later that same night, a frustrated Netizen quipped, “Box-office results show that Filipino moviegoers have not reached that level of maturity.” With Bayani San Diego Jr.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • kevin

    The type of movies people watch,,signifying how corny and dumb they are….

    • rambe66

      tama ka jan.

  • ghe

    Sana makabawi ang Thy Womb sa mga susunod na araw.


    mga wlang kwentang movie…

  • bananabrain

    you can’t blame the moviegoers since their lives are hard enough and you want them to pay and see hardship and pain again in the movie theaters?

    • hustlergalore

      naku naman, walang pinoy na sadlak talaga sa kahirapan ang manunuod ng pelikula na ang halaga ang 160 pataas. wala akong makitang ganyan sa glorietta, greenbelt, sm, robinsons at trinoma.

      • bananabrain

        hustlergalore… hindi lang po PERA ang problema ng isang tao.

      • Quirico Urbano

        totoo yan…  kaya wag po nating pakialaman ang kanilang trip na panuorin…  Respect lang po. they are relaxing.

  • buboy

    the way we patronize movies sadly reflects the way we vote also. haaaaayyyyy…

    • roulers

      very true indeed!!

  • Pinoy_Reich

    MMFF- Manila Mediocre Film Festival

    Goes only to show most Filipinos have major brain malfunctions…who’s to blame?

    Must be the bishops’ handiwork’s once again, they’re the only ones that don’t want Filipinos to think for themselves.

    Waz dat? Look not at the sin of your Church but at your faith…dude, am not buying it.

    • Quirico Urbano

      whos to blame ba kamo?  your colonial mentality.

      • Pinoy_Reich

        I watched Bollywood too…tiki bhai?

  • phildude

    Ang statistics na ito ang nagpapahiwatig kung gaano kalala ang level ng edukasyon ng masang Pilipino. At ilang dekada na lumipas, ganyang mga klaseng pelikula ang pinapalabas. That means that the stupidity has lingered for decades will stay for the years to come, so stop complaining.

    • efriend

      There is a parallelism in PHL politics and showbiz. Look who they vote for. This culture of mediocrity should go!

  • bugabee

    i’d rather watch documentaries, any kind, instead of Filipino movies. 

  • abner

    So so sad . . . Mostly of moviegoers has brain dead the type of movie they watch.

    • Quirico Urbano

      wag kang makialan sa choices ng iba.   kung ayaw mo manood nito then wag.  what is your pain?  ikaw ba ang nawalan?

  • Guest

    “For festival watchers confused by the choices, here are the awards criteria from the MMDA”

    ¿Baquit patí MMDA napasali? Eh cung ganián rin lang, isali na din natin siná Carababoy at si #AMALAYER, LOL!!! Nacú namán, proofreaders…

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos