• MMFF can use MIFF template for better management

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    GEORGE VAIL KABRISTANTE

    Controversies left behind by the recently-concluded Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) hopefully will serve as a wake-up call to sustain the interest and vigilance as well of concerned and enlightened cineastes to the next level in coming filmfests.

    Caveat was witness as co-anchor to a post-mortem analysis of the MMFF brought to the attention of netizenz via Teleradyo DZIQ 990 AM by Wow It’s Showbiz anchor and PMPC (Philippine Movie Press Club) president Fernan De Guzman, with guest Tony Aguilar.

    Aguilar disclosed that the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) was called Film Foundation during the Marcos regime. It was headed by Director Cirio Santiago with Aguilar as information officer.

    This connected Aguilar to the original design of the MMFF when stakeholders used to run it before the local government units (LGUs) hijacked its operations and took the management resulting to controversies and scandals, with the Commission On Audit (COA) revealing in a Congressional hearing that millions of pesos of unaccounted funds were missing.

    The controversial showing of the horrible killing of a dog in the film Oro elicited outrage from animal rights advocates and even ordinary dog-loving people this year.

    It’s commendable though that the screening committee chaired by Nick Tiongson had done quite a job of coming out with a line-up of quality if not sensible films.

    Relentless promotions on TV augured well for box-office glory as proven in the case of Star Cinema’s entry Vince & Katch & James and Regal’s Seklusyon.

    On the other hand, the board of jurors had made an effort to choose the most deserving awardees although we did not fully agree with all of their choices. We stood our ground that Nora Aunor was most deserving of the Best Actress Award more than Irma Adlawan of Oro, and Kabisera as deserving yet of Best Ensemble, or even Best Picture.

    Oddly from the uproar of the festival, Senator Tito Sotto unceremoniously called upon the present organizers for a separate festival for indie films and bring back instead the showing of commercial films in the MMFF.

    Senator Sotto’s musings was like shooting the organizers in the foot. Isn’t he aware of indie filmfests galore through much of the year?

    And why throw the water in the basin away with the baby? One need not look far for a template upon which to reorganize the current MMFF if at all necessary. A downsized manageable model the template of the past Manila International Film Festival (MIFF) by putting in a number of quality films vis-a-vis the same number of commercial films in the same festival—with fair amount of entertainment and integrity in them however as caveat.

    Better yet also exhibit a number of pure children’s film vis-à-vis out- and-out adult films. How’s that to make everybody happy during the annual filmfest including Sen. Sotto?

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