“The entries na napili speaks for itself.”
This was what Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Overall Chairman Don Artes said when asked about those who will criticize the chosen entries for this year’s film fest.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which runs the annual film fest, announced on Tuesday, October 17, the additional entries that will be part of the 2023 MMFF, which will run from Dec. 25, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024. The first four entries — chosen based on the merits of their scripts — were announced in July.
However, this year’s MMFF will have ten entries instead of the traditional eight.
The six films were selected based on the “final film and final output.”
The MMDA chose to add two more movies to its film fest slate due to the number of movies and the quality of the films submitted for consideration to be part of the film fest. “Napakarami, halos lahat sa kanila ay magaganda,” Artes said.
He added: Yung four, five, six na rank ay sobrang magkakadikit ang scores. Now, we decided na wag na i-break yung tie at bigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga pelikulang ito na maipalabas sa 49th edition ng MMFF.”
The six movies chosen to be part of the 49th Metro Manila Film Festival are:
- When I Met You in Tokyo
A romance film starring Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos, written by Suzette Doctolero, directed by Conrado Peru, Rommel Penesa and Christopher de Leon
- Becky and Badette
A comedy starring Eugene Domingo and Pokwang, written and directed by Jun Robles Lana
A horror film starring Piolo Pascual and Janelle Salvador, written Enrico C. Sanros, directed by Derrick Cabrido
A fantasy film starring Alessandra de Rossi and Euwenn Mikaell, written by Angeli Atienza, directed by Zig Dulay
- Broken Hearts Trip
A comedy starring Christian Bables, Andoy Ranay and Teejay Marquez, written by Archie del Mundo, directed by Emuel Lorca
A historical film starring Enchong Dee and Cedrick Juan, written by Rodolfo Vera and Pepe Diokno, directed by Pepe Diokno
The six films joined the four that were earlier chosen as MMFF entries:
- 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.
Artes said that the MMFF Selection Committee chose the six entries from the 30 finished films submitted, as earlier reported.
Many noticed the absence of high-profile films that were reportedly submitted to the MMFF from the official list of entries —including the Nadine Lustre-starrer “Nokturno” and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll Xtreme.”
“Nokturno” is billed as the reunion of Nadine with director Mikhail Red after their successful 2022 MMFF entry “Deleter.” The film won the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress awards at the 2022 MMFF Awards Night. It reportedly earned over P240 million at the box office.
Meanwhile, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll Xtreme” was seen as the return of the horror franchise to the annual film fest after almost a decade of absence from the big screen.
Some X (formerly Twitter) users expressed their surprise over the non-selection of “Nokturno,” calling it a “snub.”
Asked regarding the “expectations” of fans regarding which films will be chosen, Artes said: “The entries na napili speaks for itself.”
“Ang pelikula naman po… walang makakapagsabi na lahat ay mapeplease ng pelikula. Pinili ang mga pelikulang ito base sa criteria na nilatag. Fair ang judging into,” he added.
Artes also explained: “At the end of the day, meron tayong selection committee na itinalag bago pa masubmit ang mga pelikulang ito.”
In a previous interview with the Philippine Star, MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer explained how the film fest selection process works:
“As far as I know, 30 finished film submissions met the Sept. 29 deadline. Four films will be announced. We await the recommendation of the selection committee, and the EXECOM must approve their choices before any official announcement.”
The report added that the selection committee would take into account a variety of genres to cater to a broad audience of moviegoers.
Artes said the MMDA is in talks with cinema operators to accommodate the increase in the MMFF entries from eight to ten. He said they’re hoping to screen in more than 800 cinemas open for MMFF this year, a significant increase from last year’s 400 cinemas. —Chuck Smith