‘Buy Bust,’ ‘Ang Larawan,’ Palanca winner among scripts snubbed by MMFF

July 3, 2017 - 6:53 AM
Erik Matti, Loy Arcenas, and Raya Martin -- directors of 'Buy Bust,' 'Ang Larawan' and 'Smaller and Smaller Circles,' respectively.

As the latest Metro Manila Film Festival controversy continues to simmer due to the selection of four films considered as largely commercial, not a few are left wondering about the films that did not make the cut.

According to Metro Manila Development Authority general manager Thomas Orbos, the screenplays of “Ang Panday,” “Almost is Not Enough,” “The Revengers” and “Love Traps #FamilyGoals” were chosen by the MMFF selection committee from a total of 26 scripts submitted.

As gathered by InterAksyon from the filmmakers themselves and other industry sources, among the 22 rejected scripts were the latest action crime drama by Erik Matti, winner of the MMFF Best Director award for the last two years; and the film adaptation of a celebrated musical based on the classic play by the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin.

Matti, one of the MMFF’s winningest directors, confirmed that he had submitted the script that he and wife Michiko Yamamoto wrote for “Buy Bust,” the action crime drama headlined by Anne Curtis and Filipino-American mixed martial artist Brandon Vera.

Supervising producer Alemberg Ang also confirmed that “Ang Larawan,” the musical film adaptation of Nick Joaquin’s “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino,” with music by fellow National Artist Rolando Tinio and celebrated composer Ryan Cayabyab, was also submitted.

Directed by Loy Arcenas, the film is headlined by Rachel Alejandro, Paulo Avelino and Joanna Ampil.

Also submitted was Raya Martin’s “Smaller and Smaller Circles” based on the Palanca-winning crime novel by F.H. Batacan as confirmed by a representative of TBA, the outfit producing the film. The intriguing drama about a serial killer features a cast that include Sid Lucero, Carla Humphries and Nonie Buencamino.

UPDATE: TBA clarified that they did not submit a script but merely sent a letter of intent for the film to be submitted later under the finished film category, the second phase of the MMFF selection process.

Another film based on a Palanca-winning work was “Deadma Walking,” a black comedy written by Eric Cabahug starring Edgar Allan Guzman and Joross Gamboa. It will mark the directorial debut of longtime assistant director Julius Alfonso. Producer Rex Tiri and Cabahug himself confirmed the submission.

Actor-director Perry Escaño, who qualified for this year’s Cinemalaya festival with “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa,” also submitted “Ang Sikreto ng Piso.”

The film is a comedy inspired by actual events on the smuggling of the Philippine peso coin in 2006 due to its valuable nickel content.

During a recent press conference, Escaño said negotiations were ongoing to have Judy Ann Santos star in the film opposite actor turned legislator Alfred Vargas.

“My Fairy Tail Love Story,” a fantasy romance topbilled by the love team of Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador was also submitted. To be directed by Jun Robles Lana, the film will be line produced by The IdeaFirst Company for Regal Entertainment.

Likewise submitted was “Ang Bomba ni Ginger Paloma,” a new comedy by blockbuster rom-com director Antoinette Jadaone. No other information was available on this film as of posting time.

Three MMFF Execom members — academician Rolando Tolentino, scriptwriter Ricky Lee and broadcast journalist Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala — resigned on Friday after the first four official entries were announced, reportedly in protest over the selection process.

As quoted by Pep.ph, MMFF Execom member and spokesperson Noel Ferrer claimed that one of the reasons why Lee resigned from the Execom was because he had submitted scripts that did not make the First Four. Ferrer has later denied saying this.

It has been widely speculated that Mike de Leon’s comeback film, “Citizen Jake,” was also submitted as a script. Sources, however, told InterAksyon that the film, which marks the acting debut of noted broadcast journalist Atom Araullo, may be submitted later in its finished form.

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.

Escaño earlier confirmed that “Ang Sikreto ng Piso” will be re-submitted in its finished form if it doesn’t make the script selection process. Plans for the other aforementioned films have yet to be revealed.

Orbos said the MMFF’s two-part selection process replaced last year’s strict requirement of accepting only finished films, to give “a greater latitude to interested participants for this year.”