Erik Matti won Best Director during 2015’s Metro Manila Film Festival for Honor Thy Father, but as everyone knows, when the film was disqualified in the Best Picture race, he ignited a compelling protest that led all the way to a probe at the Lower House of Congress. The results caused a domino effect, which ultimately led to a revision of rules on how the final entries are to be selected.
This year, instead of relying on scripts as basis in choosing finalists, the new MMFF screening committee required the submission of finished products.
The change instituted resulted to the non-inclusion of three marquee films from major studios, which have long been staples at the festival. Instead, movies deemed as “indies” made it to the Magic 8.
Up to speed with the chain of events, Direk Erik declared he is happy over the outcome.
“The submission of a finished film makes a big difference. Of course, you may or may not agree with the choices—like there was no mainstream movie that made it—but I hope that people will refrain from saying these movies will not earn money because they are indies,” he conveyed.
“Everyone’s saying [this lineup]is going to fail but I hope that before they judge [the films], they should first give them a chance to be shown to the audience.
“A different set of movies was selected and naturally everyone was caught by surprise. But I certainly hope that people respect the choices made and give these films a chance.”
For this year’s festival, Direk Erik fielded Seklusyon, which happens to be the only horror film in the Magic 8. If we go by tradition at the MMFF, horror movies always end up among the top moneymakers.
“People enjoy the feel of being scared even during Christmas. They go and watch with their family, friends and have a good scare. I am sure those who love horror films will love Seklusyon.”
The film, written by Anton Santamaria and inspired by Matti’s 2012 short film Vesuvius, sees the faith of four deacons tested.
Direk Erik said he had long wanted to do a horror film and developed the story of Seklusyon after hearing a story about young priests kept in seclusion to prevent them from being “tempted” by the devil seven days before their ordination. For this, he cast four acting newbies who had to undergo workshops to prepare themselves for their demanding.
The four young deacons are portrayed by Ronnie Alonte, Dominic Roque, Johnvic de Guzman and JR Versales. Further wrecking havoc in their already disturbing situation is a mysterious nun (Phoebe Walker), and a young girl with miraculously healing powers.
Also in the cast are Lou Veloso, Neil Ryan Sese, Elora Espano and Teroy Guzman.