The producer of “Honor Thy Father” questioned the film’s disqualification from the Best Picture category, insisting that no rules were broken when the movie was accepted as one of the entries for the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival.
On Saturday, Dondon Monteverde of Reality Entertainment received a letter signed by MMFF 2015 overall chairman Emerson Carlos saying that the film had been disqualified because the producer did not disclose the movie’s participation in the CinemaOne Original Independent Film Festival 2015 in November.
Monteverde, the son of renowned producer Lily Monteverde of Regal Films, denied the allegation.
In his official statement posted on the film’s Facebook, the producer explained that the film did not make it to the MMFF original line-up of entries in June. But when one film pulled out, Reality Entertainment was offered the last slot on October 23. By then, the producers have already accepted CinemaOne’s offer for the film to be the opening film.
“We informed the MMFF Secretariat, both by email and by phone, about this. We complied with their request for a letter from CinemaOne head Ronald Arguelles attesting that the screening was non-revenue generating and by invitation only. We have all of this on record.”
The producer also questioned the “reasons, timing and means” of the MMFF executive committee to arrive at such decision.
“Where is due process in all of this? [. . .] Are they merely being good scouts and sticklers for the rules, even when no rule was broken? Or is there some other reason? Why disqualify the movie only from the Best Picture category and not all categories? Whose interests are being protected by this last-minute decision?” Monteverde asked.
The film’s director, Erik Matti, who is known to be vocal in social media, took to Facebook to air his side.
He posted, “I think I know who will win Best Picture at the #MMFF2015 awards later. #MMFF2015scandal And I think I know how and why. I don’t know who else can speak up on this.”
Matti and Monteverde, the same people behind the internationally renowned independent film “On The Job,” also demanded an investigation of the disqualification.
“Hope we investigate and get to the bottom of this. We don’t really want the trophies. We just want fair game,” Matti said.
Her and Monteverde called on Filipino moviegoers to be “critical” of the films they choose to see.
“But if no one would care or bother to investigate, then we simply wish that the moviegoers, the Filipino people, would start to question and be more critical of what, year in and year out, is passed off to them as good and true,” Monteverde said. “They can have their Best Picture and all the other awards. We just want to keep making movies that people will care about, MMFF or no MMFF.”
“Honor Thy Father” tells how a family’s life becomes chaotic when couple Edgar and Kaye, portrayed by John Lloyd Cruz and Meryll Soriano discover that the investment scheme they run is a scam.
Others speak up
Meanwhile, other filmmakers in the industry also spoke up. One of them is director Antoinette Jadaone of “All You Need is Pag-ibig,” another entry to the MMFF 2015.
In her Twitter account, she said, “Di end-all-be-all ang awards, pero sa kasong ito [Awards does not mean end-all-be-all but in this case], awards translate to instant promotion and word of mouth. And Honor Thy Father needs that.”
Thespian and musician Audie Gemora in Facebook posted:, “The MMFF Screening committee just disqualified this film, from the Best Picture category due to a technicality. […] Award the top prize to the most saleable and worst film. Mag lokohan na lang kayo lahat dyan [Fool yourselves there]!”