AFTER MONTHS of waiting, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) selection committee finally announced the final four of eight film entries which will be featured in the festival’s run from Dec. 25 to Jan. 7 in cinemas nationwide.
The MMFF selection committee, headed by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, previously announced the first four entries — chosen on their scripts — in June, while the last four entries — chosen from submitted completed films — were announced on Oct. 9 at Club Filipino in Greenhills.
The four new films are Mary, Marry Me, a romantic comedy by RC delos Reyes starring Sam Milby, Toni Gonzaga, and Alex Gonzaga; One Great Love, a romantic film directed by Eric Quizon and starring Dennis Trillo and Kim Chiu; OTLUM, a horror film by Jovinor Tan and starring Ricci Rivero, Jerome Ponce, and John Estrada; and Rainbow’s Sunset, a family drama by Joel Lamanagan and starring Gloria Romero, Eddie Garcia, and Tony Mabesa.
They join the first four films chosen from the script submissions: Aurora, a horror/thriller directed by Yam Laranas which is set in Batanes and stars Anne Curtis-Smith; Fantastica: The Princesses, the Prince and the Perya, a comedy directed by Barry Gonzalez and starring Jose Marie “Vice Ganda” Viceral, Maris Racal, and Maymay Entrata; Girl in the Orange Dress, a romantic comedy directed by Jay Abello (Flotsam, Namets!) which will feature Jessy Mendiola, Jericho Rosales, Sam Milby, Tom Rodriguez, and Kit Thompson; and Popoy en Jack, the Puliscredibles, an action/comedy directed by Rodel “Coco Martin” Nacianceno featuring himself and Marvic Valentin “Vic” Sotto in the lead roles.
The MMFF is the country’s largest film festival, drawing enough of an audience to earn more than P1 billion in recent years. It was established in 1974 “in recognition of the role of the film industry in providing artistic depictions of both this country’s stories and history” according to the website of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which runs the festival.
An earlier version of the festival was set up in 1966 under the name Manila Film Festival, initiated by then-Mayor Antonio Villegas as a way of getting Filipino films into the city’s so-called “first run” theaters which showed only American films back then as Filipino films were screened at second tier cinemas.
The festival will run for two weeks starting Dec. 25 in cinemas nationwide. During the run of the festival, only the official entries are shown in theaters. No foreign films will be screened for the duration. — Zsarlene B. Chua