FAP head Leo Martinez laughing out loud on MMFF fiasco

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GEORGE VAIL KABRISTANTE

It seems Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) president and executive director Leo Martinez has got now the biggest laugh of his life over the most recent brouhaha in this year’s coming Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Some members of the executive committee like Ricky Lee, Ed Lejano, and Roland Tolentino have staged a controversial walkout in an effort to dramatize somehow their protest however nebulous.

Unlike Martinez who was vociferous against the revised ruling since the MMFF committee early on took it upon themselves to revise the process of admission to the filmfest, the aforesaid members have remained extra bashful up to now in speaking the truth no matter who gets hurt and dirtied in cleaning their hands off the brouhaha. This has prompted some insiders to speculate that they merely wanted to save their faces than open a can of stinking worms and allow some erring heads to get the whip and roll over.

Three months ago during the Actors Guild oath taking, he divulged that some commercially-minded stakeholders of the MMFF in a sleight-of-hand grand act had “written-in” some counter-productive and blatant changes to the rules. It was agreed upon last year that all competing films were required to submit finished films per se for evaluation.

This year’s MMFF screening committee has totally disregarded the rules of the game, according to the actor-director. Instead of requiring eight finished products for evaluation, said committee instead required four complete script entries for evaluation and the remaining four entries were to be submitted as finished products.

This is a thin-veiled act of sabotaging the gains made from last year’s film festival which relatively turned in quality film entries, he said.

It is clear as day that the chosen four altogether came from the formidable sector of the industry mostly known for churning out blockbuster movies. As if people don’t know that these were mostly the producers who were relegated to the back burner in last year.

Leo hisses saying that we are back to square one again. He strongly believes that the remaining fate of the four other entries in the form of finished products is a foregone conclusion.

While the plot of the brouhaha is getting thicker with directors Mike de Leon and Erik Matti joining the fray and taking potshots at said film festival now seemingly going awry, Martinez is laughing his heart out as if to say, “See, did I not tell you beforehand?” Indeed bad habits die hard.

Caveat thinks the actor in Leo is not only laughing. He is also crying over the fact that it seems most members of the industry are looking away from the controversy despite his attempts to speak out with his reverberating voice calling for a reinvestigation to the brouhaha.

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