The movie-going public who welcomed the change in this year’s lineup of Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will have to hurry catching the eight independent films.
Information that the exclusive screening of the competing films—Die Beautiful, Ang Babae Septic Tank 2, Kabisera, Seklusyon, Saving Sally, Vince and Kath and James, Oro and Sunday Beauty Queen—will be cut down from 14 days to 10 days, reached entertainment insiders.
The news came days after The Manila Times’ entertainment section reported that MMFF Executive Committee (ExeCom) member and Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfun) head acknowledged the possibility of the festival’s dip in this year’s box office.
As expected, this cut down didn’t sit well with people who expected that despite the change in its choice of lineup, MMFF will continue the tradition of having nothing but the competing films in Philippine cinemas for two straight weeks.
Upon research, it will be noted that the original MMFF only had 10 days of screening in 1975. The first MMFF that former first lady Imelda Marcos renamed from the “Manila Film Festival” (which former Manila mayor Antonio Villegas pioneered) was exclusively screened from September 21 to 30.
The following year, MMFF was moved for screening from December 25, 1975 to January 3, 1976. The third installment of the festival moved to an earlier screening, December 24, but maintained the 10-day run.
Thereafter, the MMFF 10-day period—December 25 to January 3—was followed from the 1978 to 2001 editions. The 23-year old tradition was only broken in 2002 when the festival extended for 17 days.
The 14-day period, which the movie public has been accustomed to, was adapted beginning 2004.
According to available figures, MMFF has seen annual revenues not lower than P300-million and enjoyed a consistent annual box office growth since adapting a 14-day exclusive run. In 2014 and 2015, the festival hit the P1-billion mark.