Leo Martinez on the MMFF: It’s a festival for films, not scripts
We ask for consistency,” said Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) director general Leo Martinez when the Inquirer sought his reaction to the reforms in this year’s film selection process.
Of the eight Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) finalists, four were chosen based on their scripts, while four others were based on finished work.
The FAP is an agency tasked to choose the film that will represent the country in the annual Academy Awards. It is also one of five film-related agencies benefiting from the earnings of the two-week MMFF held yearly.
In 2016, all entries were chosen from among the submitted finished films. “Sadly, we reverted to the old system, in which only three films earn from the screenings, while the rest of the entries suffer great losses,” Leo explained.
“This is a film festival and not a script festival. I personally think that last year was better because, while the festival didn’t earn as big, all participating producers were pleased with the returns from the two-week screenings. That’s what we want to avoid—the disparity,” he stressed.
In terms of the money collected by the beneficiaries, Leo said: “There wasn’t much of a difference. We got 14 million in 2015, and 12 million the year after. We were already happy with the 2016 setup because, at least, all the producers were happy, too,” he added.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, organizer of the annual movie fiesta, has yet to come up with the official gross earnings of the 2017 MMFF, which will end tomorrow.
On a lighter note, Leo is pleased about his recent exposure in a TV commercial for a multinational food chain, because more millennials have become interested in him and his work.
“It became my link to the younger generation,” the 67-year-old comedian-director said of his recent gig as one of the three Colonel Sanders of KFC. “I was told that some of them are now reviewing my old films, and even the ’90s TV sitcom, ‘Ober Da Bakod,’” where he played the rich and snobbish but hilarious Don Robert. “That was exactly two decades ago!” he pointed out.
“When Pen (Medina) and I auditioned for the commercial, we already knew that it was Ronaldo Valdez who would get the role, because he looked so much like the Colonel,” the actor recalled. “But, when the people behind the project posted our video on their social media sites, they couldn’t believe the phenomenon it had created. It immediately went viral and generated two million views.”