Goal of 49th MMFF: To bring moviegoers back to the cinemas

Goal of 49th MMFF: To bring moviegoers back to the cinemas

/ 12:30 AM December 18, 2023

Check out our live updates to get the latest on the MMFF 2023!

Metro Manila Development Authority chair Romando Artes with the MMFF executive committee and actor representatives --ALLAN DIONES

Metro Manila Development Authority chair Romando Artes with the MMFF executive committee and actor representatives –ALLAN DIONES

Members of the board of judges of the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) have already seen all 10 entries as of Wednesday and “their opinions are divergent,” according to MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer.

Heading the jury this year is awarding-winning filmmaker Chito Roño, with actress Lorna Tolentino as vice chair. The names of other members will be announced during the Gabi ng Parangal on Dec. 27, said Ferrer shortly after the inauguration of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) auditorium in its new office in Pasig City.

The MMDA is the overall organizer of the annual movie fete, which will run from Dec. 25, 2023, to Jan. 7, 2024.


“All sectors are represented. We have jury members who are cinematographers, editors and someone who’s in charge of music. All of them have something to do about local filmmaking. They gave their work as jury members everything they’ve got. If there’s anything, we will have very credible results,” Ferrer predicted.


Incidentally, representatives of the 10 festival entries were present during the inauguration and even participated in the ceremonial ribbon cutting: Dingdong Dantes was there for “Rewind,” while Piolo Pascual represented “Mallari.” Derek Ramsay came for “Kampon,” Eugene Domingo for “Becky and Badette,” Alessandra de Rossi for “Firefly,” and Enchong Dee for “GomBurZa.”

Arriving much later during the event were Christopher de Leon for “When I Met You in Tokyo,” Kylie Versoza and John Arcilla for “Penduko,” Alden Richards for “Family of Two,” Cedrick Juan also for “GomBurZa,” and Jay Gonzaga, Iyah Mina and Marvin Yap for “Broken Hearts Trip.”

Dantes, who paired up with wife Marian Rivera in “Rewind” said he was proud to be part of this year’s edition of the MMFF because he felt that the people behind the event were so involved, not only monetarily, but also in terms of using their talent and committing their time to ensure that this would be a success.

Going global

“I salute all the producers and artists who gave their 100 percent by coming up with 10 quality films. Every day, we pray that Filipinos will finally come out of their homes and appreciate all the work we have done by watching them in the cinemas,” Dantes stressed.

Ramsay agreed and pointed out that this year, the MMFF has 10 entries instead of the usual eight. “The more, the merrier,” he declared. “We have a lot of competition out there. In Asia alone, we have the Koreans and Indians. Moviegoing is really going global. This year, I hope we can show support to our super talented artists. We should all help prove that the Filipino artist can compete with the best in the world.”

Derek Ramsay —MARINEL CRUZ

Derek Ramsay —MARINEL CRUZ

For Enchong Dee, “This generation is the generation of collaboration and partnership. I’ve always been grateful to the MMDA for supporting the entertainment industry since Day. 1 via the MMFF,” he began. “My expectation is for these movies to go beyond the MMFF. I hope for them to stay longer in the cinemas even beyond the festival run—that’s also the inspiration for creating ‘GomBurZa.’ I pray for the film to go beyond the local festival and be shown outside the country.“


Start of a revolution

Domingo admitted that while she seemed like she was having fun onstage cracking jokes, she was feeling really nervous thinking about the festival outcome. “I don’t want to expect because, just like what Dingdong said, there are things we cannot control. I simply decided to surrender everything to God. Pokwang (her costar in the movie) and I continue to seek help from people involved—maybe we can figure out how to come up with a fair price for the tickets—as well as inform the audience of what to expect in terms of movie selections,” Domingo stressed. “I want to congratulate everyone running the MMFF for not giving up on it and for continuously finding ways to keep this important tradition alive.”

Pascual said this year’s MMFF is “a very big blessing” not just for him—he is part of the cast of ‘GomBurZa,’ too—but also for the entertainment industry. “This ensures work for most of us. We’re all very busy these days. Let’s hold hands and continue to push boundaries. The industry needs all the support we can give. I hope all the films this year will be appreciated by the audience. We’re not competing here. We’re artists who have the same wish for the industry.”

Richards, who partnered with Sharon Cuneta in making “Family of Two,” said he was happy and proud to be part of this year’s lineup. “Philippine cinema is slowly getting back on its feet. It’s becoming lively again,” he observed. “Hopefully, 2023 will be the start of a revolution—we want people to return to the cinemas. In 2024, I hope more films will be produced because content is king. It doesn’t matter who the actors or directors are, it’s always about the story.”

Conflict, controversies

Veteran actress Boots Anson-Rodrigo, who had to resign as member of the MMFF selection committee this year because one of her films was submitted as entry, recalled how difficult it is to mount the MMFF every year. “The members of its executive committee (Execom) eat controversies for breakfast and fight off death threats before they sleep. Each year, there is so much conflict and controversies. You can’t please everybody but at the same time you have to uphold the Philippine movie industry, its stakeholders, and what the industry stands for.

Eugene Domingo (left) and Alessandra de Rossi —MARINEL CRUZ

Eugene Domingo (left) and Alessandra de Rossi —MARINEL CRUZ

“These people will not tell you this because it would be self-serving for them, but from somebody who has worked with the Execom since 2002, I see how hard the leadership of the MMFF works in order to give what is best for the industry, and for this particular year, there are 10 wonderful entries.”

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The annual Parade of the Stars was held on Dec. 16 and hosted by four cities: Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela. INQ

TAGS: 2023 MMFF, MMFF, Movies

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