It seems the word controversy has become synonymous with the annual holding of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
Ironically, there is no way by which to grab the bull by its horn, so to speak, whenever the debacle rears its ugly head yearly from within and without.
Neither a holy grail of sort has been found to salve for good the man-made affliction from ever coming back again. Caveat can imagine the founder of MMFF and father of local film festivals, the late Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas, turning ill at ease in his grave this time in anticipation of the controversy already coming up to the festival month.
Well-known stakeholders of the industry have categorically questioned the film IQ of some members in the board of jurors to evaluate and rate the merits of films, including the ulterior motives behind in “sabotaging” last year’s gain from said festival.
In the meantime, there had been solicited and unsolicited panaceas of some sort to ease up the age-old problems annually besetting the MMFF straight from the heated discussions by active members of the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) at their favorite watering hole along Roces Avenue in Quezon City.
For one, Ed de Leon is sold to the idea of bringing back the usual procedure in handling the MMFF to the past status quo. His pretext is that the film festival is for everyone to enjoy regardless of whether the entry is bad (out and out “commercial,” but a blockbuster ) or good (“quality,” but dismal flop at the box-office).
Sympathetic insider Tony Aguilar thinks filmgoers dash to the festival for the sheer fun of it to splurge their hard-earned money on these films. Never mind if producers like a pot-bellied Santa Claus running to the bank laughing off whatever semblance of credulity is left in the heads of unsuspecting moviegoers sucked out from the formulaic monster hit entries. Happiness after all is relative and inclusive.
Discussants were one though in contending that the best compromise is to make everybody happy during Christmas, but it also means that film entries – like what is done in international festivals abroad – are grouped according to sections.
A section for film entries classified as “commercial” for example makes no pretensions in giving legitimate acting and performance awards, except acknowledgment awards to the film gathering the highest box-office receipts or maybe to the “most popular” actors at the tills.
Then there’s a section for film entries to compete for the “quality” films category. It is here where legitimate acting and craftsmanship awards are to be handed out exclusively to entries under this section.
Another section perhaps is for “child-friendly” films to bestow legitimate acting and craftsmanship awards as well.
How’s that to make the MMFF a truly enjoyable fun-filled Christmas event?