Christmas may be six months away, but mainstream film producers and theater owners can celebrate this early.
That’s because movies starring Vice Ganda, Coco Martin, and Vic Sotto are already guaranteed to screen in theaters nationwide during the 43rd Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in the coming Yuletide season, after the MMFF selection committee announced the first batch of four official entries on Friday.
This is a stunning reversal from last year when a reformist committee valued artistry over commercial interests, choosing a slate of mostly independent films including the documentary “Sunday Beauty Queen” which eventually won best picture.
Of the 26 screenplays submitted for consideration, this year’s committee chose the following:
- “Ang Panday” — a reboot of the beloved action-fantasy franchise headlined by Coco Martin to be produced by him under his own company, CCM Creative Productions, Inc., and directed by him under his real name (Rodel Nacianceno).
- “Almost is Not Enough” — a romance drama starring Jennylyn Mercado and Jericho Rosales, who first teamed up with director Dan Villegas and producers Quantum Films and MJM Productions in the 2015 MMFF hit “Walang Forever.”
- “The Revengers” — a horror-comedy topbilled by Vice Ganda, Daniel Padilla, and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach;to be helmed by Bb. Joyce Bernal and co-produced by Star Cinema and Viva Films.
- “Love Traps #FamilyGoals” — a reunion for Vic Sotto and Dawn Zulueta, who first teamed up in the early “Enteng Kabisote” movies, a staple of the MMFF in the past two decades; directed by Tony Y. Reyes and produced by OctoArts Films.
Martin, Ganda, and Sotto were shut out of the festival last year when their movies — “The Super Parental Guardians” for Martin and Ganda and “Enteng Kabisote 10 and the Abangers” for Sotto — failed to make the so-called Magic 8.
In a press statement, the MMFF executive committee said the first batch of four entries were “thoroughly evaluated by the body’s selection panel.”
A second batch of four entries–selected from a field of finished films to be submitted on or before October 2 — will be announced on November 17.
“With the push for artistic excellence that began in 2016, the MMFF this year under the helm of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim received a very encouraging and diverse roster of 26 film-entries that already crossed the so-called commercial-indie divide.
“Our selection committee had a difficult time choosing given the quality of films. We have to thank them for their exhaustive and thorough deliberations,” MMFF executive committee chairman Tim Orbos said.
Orbos, who was recently replaced by Lim as MMDA and overall festival chair, also said this year’s two-part selection process “gave a greater latitude to interested participants for this year.”
He said the film entries were evaluated based on the following criteria: 40 percent artistic excellence; 40 percent commercial appeal; 10 percent promotion of Filipino cultural and historical values; and 10 percent global appeal.