8 Reasons We Shouldn’t Take Mainstream Reactions To #MMFF2016 Sitting Down
By Kel Fabie
The quest for uplifting quality in the Metro Manila Film Festival may have won the battle, but it certainly has yet to win the war. Like clockwork, naysayers (including the likes of Ogie Diaz, Mother Lily Monteverde, and Vic Sotto) have backhandedly questioned the Film Festival, saying that it doesn’t respect the “taste” of the Filipino people, and it alienates children who want to watch movie during Christmas.
In reality, we know most of these are merely excuses to keep the previous status quo, which was obviously beneficial to the very people who are now complaining how “unfair” the Festival is.
Worse, the provinces, who are not legally bound by the MMFF to follow suit with the films, have early on supposedly decided, according to a now-taken down Google Doc from an insider source, that they will instead show the non-qualifying films during the holidays to maximize their profitability.
If we want to keep uplifting Filipino films as a whole, we need to stand up to this backwards reasoning. Here are 8 counterpoints to what the naysayers have said.
8. “People want to laugh and to be entertained.”
The Assumption: Because most of the movies are indie in nature, none of them will be entertaining for the average audience member.
The Reality: Not all films in the current festival are dramatic in nature. In fact, one of the most anticipated flicks, Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2, happens to be a comedy. Previous festivals also had their fair share of horror flicks, so it’s pretty obvious that demanding more comedies is merely a smokescreen.
The Counterpoint: Who says that’s all people want? Who is the arbiter here? Even if that were true, why would we need a “festival” for that, when Star Wars will entertain audiences just fine, following that kind of logic?
7. “Huwag mo ipa-Noche Buena sa akin ang hindi ko naman gusto kainin.”
The Assumption: The current lineup of films does not reflect what the average Filipino wants.
The Reality: Prior to the rule of picture-locked films (Which is already a bit of a bending of the rules, when the original rule was “finished films” only.), how would anyone really know whether or not a movie is to the taste of the Filipino people? The reality is, the “taste” they are referring to refers solely to the stars of the movie, and not whatever the hell the movie ends up being about.
The Counterpoint: If I wanted Star Wars: Rogue One for Noche Buena, I won’t get it, either. So no, sorry. We can’t always have what we want, and it is very deceptive to speak for the Filipino people’s taste when there are no scientific metrics going on to really say anything.
6. “Christmas is not the time for indie films.”
The Assumption: Christmas is a special time for levity and fun, which are two things indie films don’t bring to the table.
The Reality: We’ve already debunked this “unfun” notion earlier on, and one has to realize that the person who said this, Mother Lily, lined up a frigging drama in Mano Po 7 for this year’s festival. How is that “fun?” That is a load of double talk.
The Counterpoint: Why do these mainstream giants feel the need for the protective cloak of the MMFF when they can clearly make their money at any other point in the year? Is it really going to be that painful if they made 75 million pesos instead of 100 million pesos, which are numbers these indie films can never expect to make without near-divine intervention?
5. “Kawawa ang mga bata.”
The Assumption: Nothing in the current festival is aimed at the kids.
The Reality: Mano Po 7 is not at towards kids. Given how conservative our country is, anything Vice Ganda-related is half of the time not meant for kids, either. Enteng Kabisote is pretty much the only one with a leg to stand on here with that kind of talk.
The Counterpoint: Why does it have to be for kids, really? Not to say that it currently isn’t, but how about just making a Kid’s Film Festival, if they feel so strongly about it? Eh paano kung “hindi ko panlasa” ang family-friendly films?