The 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival organizers violated their own rules in disqualifying the film ‘Honor Thy Father’ from the Best Picture award.
This conclusion came up during the congressional probe on the MMFF Executive Committee’s (ExeCom) decision to disqualify the movie at the last minute because it was already screened for the Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2015 in November.
Honor Thy Father producer Ronald Stephen Monteverde however said they did not conceal this from the MMFF, adding that the screening was a By Invitation event only.
MMFF juror Carmen Musngi of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board revealed that festival jurors were instructed by MMFF Execom members Marichu Maceda and Dominic Du to exclude ‘Honor Thy Father’ on December 21.
Producers of the movie however were informed of their disqualification on December 26.
The testimony fired up Rep. Alfred Vargas, also an actor.
“You disqualified Honor Thy Father for “violations” and yet you violated your rules in disqualifying them. This is clear bias and injustice because jurors were told to disqualify the film before Execom’s December 26 meeting and eventual issuance of decision,” Vargas said.
“What is this? Are you telling us you are disqualifying a movie ahead of the MMFF ExeCom’s approval? What would happen if the ExeCom decided otherwise? You stepped on their rights. You have no idea how difficult it is to make a quality movie,” he fumed.
Agnes Maranan, counsel of Reality Entertainment that made the disqualified film, said they were denied due process because the film was disqualified on a non working day: Saturday.
“Why do they have to disqualify us one day before the awarding? This is clearly a violation of due process because we were never given a chance to avail. It is not true there was non-disclosure because the disclosure and certification that it was a non-profit screening was in our November 5 letter [to MMFF organizers],” Maranan stressed.
OFW party-list Rep. Johnny Revilla, an actor like Vargas, also lambasted MMFF officials.
“You are so busy with the parade over the Best Picture issue? Bottom line is you don’t have a reason for disqualifying them and it is unfathomable that you disqualified them,” Revilla said.
“What you did leaves a bad taste in the mouth,” he added.