Concentrated Nonsense (cinema edition)

Metro Manila Film Farce (2)
January 8, 2008, 1:33 am
Filed under: festivals, philippine cinema | Tags:

Related to the previous post:
The following year I wrote something about the Metro Manila Film Festival again, adding on the notes of the previous year, and submitted it to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (a newspaper I had previously contributed to while in college). The article was duly ignored, so I sent it instead to several mailing lists and posted it on my personal blog (link to blog post).

Raya Martin, then a film student at the University of the Philippines, joined the discussion with a short essay that I also posted on my blog (link to blog post)

We received a fair share of support for our views, though there were also a number of detractors. More than just an airing of opinion, these texts were written as provocations, as a way of getting people to think about and discuss the problems of the festival, and to see who believed them worth trying to rectify, and who didn’t (the discussions that ensued can be read in the comments section of both posts). One young writer who mocked our stance that year while writing in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, is now singing a different tune, writing for The Philippine Star.

Later that year the Metro Manila Development Authority, the festival’s organizing body, convened a group of people over a single day to discuss ways in which to improve the “Festival”. Attended mostly by the likes of people directly involved with the fest, Wilson Tieng (major local distributor and member of the Executive Committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival), Leo Martinez (Director-General of the Film Academy of the Philippines), members of the movie theaters association, as well as film directors Quark Henares and Gil Portes among others, the day appeared to be positive and progressive, with many in agreement on fundamental changes in the festival’s rules and policies. At the end of the day a number of points were raised were unanimously agreed upon (strictly one film per producer, films to be judged based on the finished product and not the script, and the possibility of allotting/allowing smaller theaters to screening independent work). Not one single one was implemented. Proving the day only to be an exercise; a show, in order to temporarily appease the disgruntled by insinuating that the organizers, too, wanted to change things for the better.

The following year things only got worse…

9 Comments so far
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Really, really interesting and fiery discussion there alexis. I don’t mind boycotting the MMFF, in fact I haven’t watched anything this year, and it would be a good thing if these voices (sentiments, opinions, views, monologues, gripes, etc.) are heard. But I wonder, with this type of people we have in the government and with the extreme amount of politics, not to mention miseducation and evil on this side of the road, how could we get this thing there? This is not being cynical but would they really listen to us and initiate this change? Hopeless as it may be, I think this is the only road to a change. I assure you both my hands are on it.

Comment by lilokpelikula

the Philippine Star link has no article.

Anyway, will these ever change? I don’t think so. To think that one of their objectives is to reach P500 million in revenues, which, unfortunately, other than not reaching their target, was lower compared to last year.

Comment by estan

This is off-topic and I apologize. But if you haven’t seen the film CONFESSIONAL yet, I’m personally inviting you to its UP Diliman screening on January 28 at 7pm and January 30 at 5pm. If you’ve already seen it, and find the film worthy to whatever extent, I hope you can get some of your friends to attend instead.

Yun lang po. More power to you. :-)

Jerrold Tarog

Comment by Jerrold Tarog

hi richard (lilokpelikula): sorry for the late reply. it’s a serious concern, and i can’t say i know how to get them to listen. i think a big part of the problem is that those same people within the industry who gripe about the festival– filmmakers and producers (even mother lily complained when joel lamangan didn’t win, one year, and held a press conference about it)– lack the gusto to take a stand against what’s happening (case in point, filmmakers like jose javier reyes, quark henares, among others, who know there is something wrong with the festival but still choose/chose to make films for it). it’s as much the fault of the industry that hates what’s happening as the “powers that be” behind the scenes. if their actions don’t match their words in believing that things must change, how can they convince anyone else?

now what is there for us to do? perhaps the right thing is simply to push harder for the cinema that matters to us. to increase awareness about it, write about it (critically), organize screenings for it, help put it into context for others who might be less inclined to view it to receive it properly…

Comment by Alexis

hi estan: sorry, i guess the link to the philstar article has gone down. i’ve tried searching for it and can’t seem to find it. it was written by pepe diokno for his column ‘pepe don’t preach’. …

yeah, the drastic drop in the total box office is remarkable. it should be a hint to the organizing committee that something is seriously wrong.

it will change. i think it has to. if their objective is large box-office, partly for the reason that the taxes earned,support several agencies (mowelfund, fap, fdcp, anti-piracy council), then they can’t let things continue the way they have been.

two articles of interest-
an older one from armida, about where the tax money of the festival goes:

a new one, from the FAP website, about the festival again attempting to bring groups together for a discussion on how to “improve” the festival (which mentions with a hint of cynicism the past discussion of a similar nature whose suggestions were ignored):

Comment by Alexis

hi jerrold: thank you for the invitation.

Comment by Alexis

estan, et al: here is a new link to the philstar article:
i’ve corrected it in the entry as well.

Comment by Alexis

Hi, Alexis.

Okay, so I got an angry email telling me I’ve flipped-flopped on my stance on the MMFF. I see you think I have, too.

But no, I haven’t changed my stance. My stance has always been this: from six feet above, looking down at the Festival. (Here is last year’s article. And, here is an article from the year before that)

If I did mock your stance on the festifarce, I definitely meant it with sarcasm, and I apologize. I totally share your sentiments. Always have.


Comment by pepe

dear mr Tioseco,

please come to Malaysia and save our film critism…

Comment by bob

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