MMFF 2021 pushes through despite the pandemic

MMFF 2021 pushes through despite the pandemic

MANILA—There is no stopping the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), the biggest, most popular, and longest-running local filmfest from pushing through this year despite the pandemic.

The MMDA/MMFF Executive Committee Head Benhur Abalos has been pressing for the re-opening of the cinemas.

“There have been claims that they will take charge in opening the cinemas, but the MMDA along with the member mayors have made feasibility studies and submitted to the IATF for the approval of the opening of the cinemas.

“Early on, the MMDA/MMFF has helped vaccinate film industry members, production companies and partner-theater operators to ensure the safety and welfare of  stakeholders, and attempt to restart the economy by pressing to the IATF (where MMDA is a part of) the reopening of the cinemas.

“After careful and thorough deliberations with the IATF, the MMDA and the MMFF Execom upon consultation with the CEAP has been working for the gradual easing up of the restrictions and finally the November 10 gradual re-opening of the movie houses.

“With this partnership, we hope to expand the audience percentage by holiday season so that MMFF may reach more people and the Filipino Christmas experience will be complete by watching MMFF movies,” MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said.

As MMDA/ MMFF Execom Chairman, he appeals:

“We enjoin the public to be one with the entertainment industry and the other stakeholders including the MMFF beneficiaries who have been hardly hit by this pandemic to make this re-opening of the theaters and this year’s MMFF 2021 a success.”

Off hand, there are 19 finished film submissions and the selection committee shall be evaluating them in order to come up with the 8 official entries which will be announced in the next two weeks.

There are questions whether there will be Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) this 2021.

This project of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) led by Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra could have the whole month of November, but there were news that FDCP is partnering with QCinema 2021 (November 26-December 5) which is a hybrid film festival.

QCinema 2021 films will be shown at the Gateway Cineplex 10 in Cubao, Quezon City while the online screenings will be on KTX.

Hollywood films Dune and A Quiet Place II will be shown on November 10, Wednesday; Black Widow and Don’t Breathe 2 on November 17; Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Malignant on November 24.

Director Joven Tan announced on his Facebook account that the film Yorme: The Isko Domagoso Story will be shown on December 1 in cinemas.

Benhur could have its Christmas playdate if it will be included in the eight official entries of MMFF.  This year, Senator Bong Revilla, Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda have no official entries yet.

Roderick Paulate’s Mudrasta could make a scene under the direction of Julius Alfonso.

Though it’s a gay film, but Christian Bables’ Big Night under the direction of Jun Lana, has something to convey. John Arcilla, Eugene Domingo, Gina Alajar, Gina Pareño, Janice de Belen, Ricky Davao, Nico Antonio, Alan Paule, Soliman Cruz, Ogie Diaz, Martin del Rosario, Awra Briguela, Sue Padro, and Cedrick Juan are also featured.

It will be delightful if the launching film of Teejay Marquez Ang Huling Baklang Birhen sa Balat-Lupa. Much awaited is the film under the direction of Joel Lamangan Deception, which is a reunion movie of Claudine Barretto and Mark Anthony Fernandez.

A star-studded horror film Huwag Kang Lalabas directed by Adolf Alix Jr. will have Kim Chiu, Beauty Gonzalez, Aiko Melendez, Jameson Blake, Elizabeth Oropesa, Matet de Leon, and many more.

Fighting for the awards is the film Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Whether The Weather Is Fine) starring Daniel Padilla and Charo Santos.

Worth watching is A Hard Day starring Dingdong Dantes and John Arcilla, under the direction of Lawrence Fajardo. It was chosen as an official entry in the aborted 1st Summer MMFF supposedly on April 11-21, 2020.

Another chosen entry is the 1st Summer MMFF which has not yet shown until today is Ngayon Kaya led by Janine Gutierrez and Paulo Avelino, under Prime Cruz.

Councilor Jomari Yllana mentioned that he is supporting the opening of the cinemas and assured that the Paranaque cinemas are safe. They support the campaign started by FDCP which is #NoodTayoNgSine.

Jomari said, “We support the business, the cinemas sa Parañaque. Nandito tayo with everyone, with the proper health protocols… saka kung kailangang merong batas para makapag-umpisa na, makabangon ang industriya ng pelikula, gagawin natin yun.

“Naniniwala ako, magbubukas ang mga sinehan with proper health protocols. Magbubukas na rin tayo ng red carpet para sa ating mga premiere night. Kasi ginagawa na ito sa ibang bansa, e.”

There are still a lot of things needed to make sure that the opening of the cinemas is really safe especially in the coming Metro Manila Film Festival.

The  MMFF Executive Committee is discussing the other details for the annual filmfest like, whether there will be a parade of stars, theater tour, and face-to-face awards night.

It is expected that by December, there will be a higher capacity rate in the cinemas. While the required capacity is 30 percent in its November 10 opening, it could go up in December.

The public is hoping that Covid cases will continue to drop as days pass so the MMFF plans will not be dampened.

Let’s wait for the announcement of the official entries for  MMFF 2021. (ECD/MTVN)

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