There were the usual conflicts and protests, but this year, “less feathers were ruffled” during the two-week run of the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), said executive committee member Boots Anson-Roa.
The festival, which ended on Tuesday, surpassed its P700-million target in gross earnings. It had earned P753 million as of Monday, compared to last year’s P637 million gross, according to MMFF spokesperson Alu Dorotan.
“Festival chair Francis Tolentino was very conservative in his prediction,” Roa told the Inquirer by phone. “He told us to just try to exceed last year’s earnings, which was around P550 million.” (P87-M lower than the figure quoted by Dorotan—Ed.)
Dorotan said Wenn Deramas’ comedy flick “Sisterakas” topped this year’s box-office race with P340 million gross as of Monday.
Roa said the execom “got the full cooperation” of the producers of the eight entries. Completing the lineup were: Ruel Bayani’s drama “One More Try”; Tony Y. Reyes’ “Si Agimat, Si Enteng at Si Ako”; Chito Roño’s horror-thriller “Shake, Rattle and Roll 14”; Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Thy Womb”; Lawrence Fajardo’s “The Strangers”; Andoy Ranay’s “Sosy Problems”; and Mark Meily’s “El Presidente.”
A major change this year was the new criteria for best festival picture. The award was won by “One More Try.”
The new criteria: 25 percent for creativity and artistic excellence, innovativeness and global appeal; 25 percent, technical excellence and innovativeness; 25 percent, content; and 25 percent, Filipino, cultural and/or historical value.
Roa said another innovation was the increased cash prizes for winners in the New Wave category: P300,000 for best picture (won by Tyrone Acierto’s “The Grave Bandits”) and P50,000 for best student’s short film (“Pukpok” by De La Salle University students).
Roa noted that, for the 15-day run, each MMFF entry was guaranteed screenings in 44 theaters in Metro Manila.
However, two films, “Thy Womb” and “Sosy Problems,” were pulled out of some cinemas earlier because of poor box-office performance.