“No, we’re not. We’re not sending it anymore. Siyempre may pride naman kaming konti, di ba?”
This was director Erik Matti’s firm reply when asked if he had any intention to submit “Buy Bust” as a finished film to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
Matti expressed that he was reluctant to participate in this year’s festival from the very start, but his producers had made the decision to submit its screenplay for the first tier of the MMFF selection process.
Another batch of four entries will be chosen from finished films that will be submitted on or before October 2.
“After I saw what happened with 2016 na naiba na yung composition. This 2017 when I saw that the new composition is different, I thought, my movie would have no chance,” he said, referring to the MMFF Executive Committee roster.
The screenplay for “Buy Bust” was one of the 26 submitted to the MMFF Executive Committee, four of which were selected as official entries to the film festival.
“Buy Bust,” which will star Anne Curtis, didn’t make the cut. On the same day the entries were announced, three MMFF Execom members resigned from their respective posts, stirring controversy in the entertainment community.
The seasoned director has expressed his frustration over the selection process on social media and echoed his sentiments in an interview during the HOOQ Filmmakers Guild press conference on Monday.
“It’s obvious. If you look at the movies that were brought in, it’s 30% artista, 30% producer, 30% theme song, 10% brightness,” Matti said.
He was however, quick to clarify that he has nothing against commercial films per se, saying, “I have no problem with having a film festival that’s for commercial purposes. But change your criteria. Change it into ‘okay, we only want movies that are commercial—that we feel is commercial.’ Wala na tayong pag-uusapan.”
“But to hide behind the vision which is artistic excellence, to push for cultural… global appeal, I think it’s just…hindi hypocrisy, maliit yun eh. Medyo garapal lang.”
If Matti doesn’t change his mind about not re-submitting “Buy Bust,” this will mark the first time that he will miss the MMFF after three straight years of being a finalist. He stresses that the the MMFF selection process is what enrages him. He has nothing against the first four official entries.
“I know what happened in the selection. That’s why, diyan nanggagaling yung galit ko. I’m not judging the four films that were chosen, but I’m judging how they selected it,” he said.
The MMFF 2016 Best Director winner for “Seklusyon” lamented, “Parang nakakapagod eh, nakakapagod lang. Isipin mo, pag sa ibang industriya ito, di ba, ipapatawag na si De Lima. Somebody’s answerable. But for MMFF, no one’s answerable. No one touches them. No one calls them up and say, ‘Hoy, anong pinaggagagawa n’yo diyan?’ Di ba? Wala. So parang mas powerful pa sila sa mas powerful.”
Matti represents the Philippines as one of the members of the panel of judges for the HOOQ Filmmakers Guild.
The HOOQ Filmmakers Guild is a project that seeks to fund and develop TV series concepts from Southeast Asian filmmakers into actual shows that can be shown through the on-demand viewing platform.
He is optimistic about the project and sees it as an opportunity to discover fresh ideas and cutting-edge entertainment.
“I’m leaving myself open to whatever ideas that’s being thrown at us really, whether its genre is horror, or strange drama. I just wanna be open because seeing the landscape of online series, nagugulat na lang tayo kung gaano kabago yung mga nangyayari, di ba, yung mga nakukuwento nila. So I think HOOQ should be at the forefront of trying to tell stories that would be difficult to show in movies or in TV, and they’d be the first to tell stories online sa Pilipinas,” he said.