After 10 days, Filipinos said goodbye to 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival and what a festival indeed. Just like with older and earlier editions of the said annual film festival, it was loaded with controversies and intrigues. The only difference is that this time the issues helped Filipinos discussed about the merits of the movies instead of the box-office appeal of the 8 movies. Indeed, some sectors of the society were indeed happy with the outcome as for them finally the film festival is indeed a festival of quality movies. For millions of moviegoers, it was a huge misstep as they felt they were denied the right to be entertained.
Commercial Success or Failure?
The currently concluded film festival only earned less than one fourth of what the festival earned in 2015 edition. Of course, it could be attributed to the fact that none of the usual reliable box-office stars have their movies shown. Their films were rejected in favor of the supposed quality films. After ten days, it was obvious that Filipinos are not huge fans of quality movies. In fact, the top grosser of the film fest was the most commercial movie Vince, Kath, and James (VKJ.) The supposed quality films languished at the bottom ranking in terms of box-office gross.
Quality film buffs were indeed crossing their fingers that 2016 film festival would turn out great films in the tradition of GANITO KAMI NOON, PAANO KAYO NGAYON, HIMALA, BONA, BRUTAL, MINSAY ISANG GAMU-GAMO, INSIANG, MGA BILANGGONG BIRHEN, KISAPMATA, ANDREA; PAANO BA ANG MAGING ISANG INA, INA KA NG ANAK MO and among others. However, only time can tell if the 8 films chosen will join the ranks of the abovementioned movie classics.
However, not a month has passed some of the films are already destined to be lost in oblivion. KABISERA might have been saved with tour de force acting performance of Nora Aunor but, it could not be denied that film will end up in film classes and be dissected as what went wrong with the movie. ORO has the chance but the overall feel of the movie is really wanting. The only great scene that moviegoers would recall would be the slaughter of that cute dog.
DIE BEAUTIFUL would definitely join the rank of TEMPTATION ISLAND as one of the campiest movie ever produced in Philippine Cinema. The movie awed moviegoers but not with movie but with Paolo Ballesteros. SEKLUSYON was just the usual horror movie the festival is stuffed with annually and it is like watching a pretentious movie done by a new director instead of Erik Matti. ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK PART 2 would be remembered as the movie that killed Eugene Domingo’s career as lead actress. Don’t you wish that the producers did not make a sequel of the movie and let the novelty of the idea remain fresh in the mind of those who saw the original movie?
VKJ was there to fill the gap of a festival without Vice, Bossing, and Krissy. SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN and SAVING SALLY perhaps are the only possible contenders to join the ranks of greatest Metro Manila Film Festival movies ever but that remains to be seen. The former has already earned a place in the history of film festival and the entire Filipino movie industry as the first documentary movie to earn a Best Picture recognition.
The 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival might be a disaster but definitely it has shaken the industry and the results will give some interesting points to consider for better and commercially successful 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival.
- Accept the fact that Pinoy moviegoers are really not interested with art, indie, or quality films. Even in normal days, these films will not earn well also. But, it doesn’t mean that Pinoys will not watch them; just give them reason why, I guess.
- The rules of the games might have changed in terms of promoting movies but it cannot be denied that promotion is very important. VKJ earned more than P100 million because it has the well-oiled marketing machine of Star Cinema and ABS-CBN behind the film. KABISERA, ORO, and SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN were classic example that movie promotions are still important and online marketing is just one way to promote movies.
The lack of movie trailer, billboard, and other forms of mass communication will definitely not invite moviegoers to watch the movie.
- Just because it has controversial theme, it can drive moviegoers to watch the film; Nora’s movie and Oro did not. Perhaps, my hunched was right that the dog issue was raised in order to raise awareness for the Oro movie but it was too late already. Kabisera, perhaps has wrong movie title. Who would want to watch a movie that refers to the one who sits at the head of the table?
- You really have to scare movie audiences in order to spread word of mouth. Did you not notice that you haven’t read a tweet how scary SEKLUSYON is, the way SHAKE, RATTLE, AND ROLL scared the wits of moviegoers since time immemorial?
- Accept the fact that December and the holidays are festive and entertainment season, perhaps some were right when they suggested that:
- There should be balance of films to be served.
- Create a film fest for indie films.
- Encourage box-office stars to serve quality films.
First things first, the ORO dog issue must be resolved. Why in the first place that the controversial scene was ignored during the screening process by the film fest committee, the Cinema Evaluation Board, and of course the MTRCB.
Second, there is no need to create a separate film fest for indie films. There are already several film arenas for them like CINEMALAYA, CINEMA ONE ORIGINALS, SINAG MAYNILA, to name a few.
Third, I believe that it is the responsibility of bigger stars to teach Pinoy moviegoers film appreciation. Nora and Vilma did that during their heydays when both produced quality movies. Note that some of the serious films they starred and made raked in lots of money too.
Fourth, one debacle doesn’t mean that it has to be scrapped. The idea of serving serious films takes time in order for Filipinos to make it a habit to watch quality films. Perhaps, the festival just needed a reconfiguration and 2016 edition is already a right step in right direction. And more innovation should be made like why limit to Cinemas why not fill in arenas and stadium, why not bars and restos? If SM, Robinson, and other movie house chains are not serious with their support, look for other avenues.
Fifth, the festival is chaired by MMDA and is a government agency. Therefore, it can tap other government agencies to help promote the selected movies through different government agencies monthly journals, newsletters, and other office communications.
There are indeed many things that can be done to help succeeding reconfigured and future Metro Manila Film Festival becomes more successful each year. Cliche as it the words are; just think out of the box and presto!!!