‘Medyo insane’: 30 films vying for four remaining slots of 2023 MMFF

October 10, 2023 - 2:13 PM

Philippine cinema is alive and well — if we’re going to use the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) as a gauge. 

According to reports, 30 finished films were submitted to be considered as entries in this year’s MMFF.

The annual Christmas film fest earlier announced the first four of the eight films that will be part of the MMFF, which will run from Dec. 25, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024. 

These films were chosen based on the film’s script.

These films are: 

  • Family drama “A Mother and Son’s Story” starring Sharon Cuneta and Alden Richards
  • Horror thriller “(K)AMPON” starring Beauty Gonzalez and Derek Ramsay
  • Action fantasy “Penduko” starring Cristine Reyes and Matteo Guidicelli
  • Romance-drama “Rewind” starring Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera. 

Meanwhile, the MMFF will announce the films taking the four remaining film fest slots on October 17.

The selection of which film will be chosen to be part of the MMFF is based on the “final film and final output,” not just the script, said Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) acting chairman and MMFF concurrent chair Don Artes.

MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer confirmed in an article that 30 films are vying for the film fest’s four remaining slots.

Meanwhile, veteran showbiz journalist Mell Navarro in a Facebook post listed down 20 out of the 30 films that were supposedly submitted, based on his sources.

Navarro noted that the list is not official. However, many of the films included in the list have notably begun their publicity — perhaps in the hopes of upping their chances to be chosen as an official film fest entry.

Among the notable films reportedly submitted to be considered as a 2023 MMFF entry include “Nokturno.” The film will serve as the reunion of actress Nadine Lustre and director Mikhail Red after the success of their film “Deleter,” which won Best Picture at the 2022 MMFF Awards Night.

Other films supposedly submitted include:

  • SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL: EXTREME, a horror anthology trilogy starring Iza Calzado and Jane De Leon, among others; directed by Jerrold Tarog, Joey De Guzman and Richard Somes. If chosen, this will mark the film franchise’s return to the MMFF after an almost 10-year absence.
  • WHEN I MET YOU IN TOKYO, a romance film starring Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon. The film was shot in Japan.
  • MALLARI, starring Piolo Pascual and directed by Derrick Cabrido. The film is inspired by the true story of Fr. Juan Severino Mallari, a parish priest in the 1800s considered as the first and only recorded serial killer in the Philippines.
  • BECKY AND BADETTE, a comedy starring Eugene Domingo and Pokwang, directed by Jun Lana.
  • ANG INA MO, a family drama starring Charlie Dizon and Lotlto de Leon, directed by Joel Lamangan.
  • GOMBURZA, THE MOVIE, starring Dante Rivero, Cedrick Juan, and Enchong Dee, with Piolo Pascual, directed by Pepe Diokno.
  • SONG OF THE FIREFLIES (The Story of the Loboc Children’s Choir), starring Morissette Amon, Rachel Alejandro, Krystal Brimner, Noel Comia Jr. and the Loboc Children’s Choir, directed by King Palisoc. This is singer Morisette’s first starring role in a movie.
  • THAT KIND OF LOVE, starring Barbie Forteza and David Licauco, directed by Catherine Camarillo

See Navarro’s list here.

An X (formerly Twitter) user posted the list on his account, garnering ecstatic responses from other online Filipinos.

“Kinda insane,” the user said on the number of submitted entries.

Many were already guessing what films would officially be part of this year’s MMFF.

MMFF is an annual film festival organized by the MMDA which runs from December 25, Christmas Day, through the first week of January the following year. During the film fest’s run, only MMFF entries are screened in Philippine theaters; no foreign films are screened in local cinemas (excluding IMAX and 4D theaters).

It is considered by many as the biggest film festival in the Philippines in terms of its box office gross.

These explain why many film producers try their luck in joining the MMFF, as it increases their chances of reaching a wider audience and earning money at the box office.

“Deleter,” for instance, reportedly grossed around P240 million during its theatrical run.

Last year’s MMFF reached a total of P500 million in gross ticket sales, Artes said in a statement released last January.

“We are delighted to announce that we were able to reach our target gross sales amounting to P500 million considering that we are still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. — Chuck Smith