Filmmakers, producers look at the bright side of Summer MMFF postponement
“It is the right decision to make,” said “Tagpuan” lead star Alfred Vargas on the postponement of the first Summer Metro Manila Film Festival (SMMFF), which was originally slated in April.
“It’s no one’s fault. The well-being of everybody, including the audience, comes first,” said Vargas, who is also the producer of the dramatic film (under the production outfit Alternative Visions) directed by McArthur Alejandre.
The Metro Manila Development Authority, the overall organizer of the SMMFF, has decided not to push through with the said movie festival, which was supposed to run from April 11 (Black Saturday) to April 21. This followed the declaration by President Duterte of a Metro-wide community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, and later an “enhanced” community quarantine to include the entire island of Luzon to combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Since there is a strict quarantine imposed, artists and talents have no choice but to stay home. It will be quite some time before we could be able to practice our craft again, but it’s OK,” said Vargas, whose film also features Shaina Magdayao and Iza Calzado. “We also want to be safe and follow all the protocols to help prevent the spread of the virus.”
He said he hoped that the SMMFF’s postponement would “result in more people watching the festival after all of this is over. We’ve worked hard on this. We hope that people would appreciate it.”
Law Fajardo, director of the action flick “A Hard Day,” said that while it was saddening that the festival and other arts-related events had to be rescheduled, “this was very understandable.”
The director added that “work is very important for all employees, not just in the film industry, but in all industries. However, we have to learn from history, from the pandemics that occurred before.”
He pointed out, “There are things we must forgo, at least for a time, because our priority is everybody’s safety and survival.”
“A Hard Day” stars Dingdong Dantes and John Arcilla, and is produced by Viva Films.
T-Rex Entertainment’s Rex Tiri, producer of “Ngayon Kaya,” said it was “unfortunate” that the SMMFF had to be rescheduled.
“However, we fully understand the enormity of the situation. The safety of everyone should be our prime concern,” he declared.
“Ngayon Kaya” features Paulo Avelino and Janine Gutierrez, and is directed by Prime Cruz.
Tiri noted that “the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis is hard to measure for now, but it will be huge. The film industry will not be spared and the (festival’s) postponement and suspension of film productions, albeit a wise decision, will have short- and long-term effects on us. We hope that everyone will be united to cushion the intensity of the impact when everything returns to normal.”
Fajardo is confident that “once we have overcome this unfortunate event, which is what we all pray for, we will have more inspiration and renewed energy to get back up and engage in whatever makes us happy and gives meaning to our lives, such as these festivals.”
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