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8 Signs That The MMFF Makes Filmmakers Lazy

Find out how the MMFF makes filmmakers lazy.

| December 23, 2013

8 Signs That The MMFF Makes Filmmakers Lazy

8 Signs That The MMFF Makes Filmmakers Lazy
I love watching Pinoy films. Considering that “One More Chance” is one of my favorite films of all time (along with “Battle Royale” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), you can be sure that colonial-mentality is not in the equation and hating on Pinoy movies for the sake of hating on them is not something I’m keen on doing.

In fact, there was a time where I had fond memories of the movies that came out during the Christmas season, when Hollywood blockbusters would magically disappear for a week and pave the way for some pretty ambitious Filipino movies with no international competition to worry about.

Yet at some point, I couldn’t help but feel that instead of uplifting the quality of Filipino filmmaking, the Metro Manila Filmfest helped it stagnate at best, and regress at worst. Here are 8 reasons why.

8. When was the last time anyone bothered with a real Christmas movie?

8. When was the last time anyone bothered with a real Christmas movie?
For a film festival happening during the Christmas season, it’s a bit bewildering that actual Christmas films are so few and far in between, and the ones that do come out tend to be mediocre.

7. Only family fare will rule the roost

7. Only family fare will rule the roost
When Academy Awards season comes around for Hollywood, studios normally take an initial financial risk as they make their Oscar-bait film. The MMFF has no such pretensions, and is all about raking in the money. And nothing sells more tickets than films that can be viewed by entire families.

How much are you willing to bet me that anything other than “My Little Bossings” will reign supreme on the box office in the near future?

6. Genuine innovation goes unrewarded

6. Genuine innovation goes unrewarded

In 2011, the best film, “Asyong Salonga,” was actually edited to make it more commercially appealing. The changes were so great that Tikoy Aguiluz, the film’s director, actually disowned the film.

Look at the promising films in this year’s lineup. Not only will they not make it in the box office, there is also a good chance they will have to settle for competing in the “Best Float” category, because…

5. The awards night is a big, fat joke

5. The awards night is a big, fat joke

For a few years, box office total was a part of the criteria for “Best Picture” in the MMFF awards. This means that the incentive to make the best, most nuanced film is secondary to making the biggest cash-grab possible, normally involving any combination of Ai-Ai Delas Alas, Eugene Domingo, Vic Sotto, Kris Aquino, or Vice Ganda.

As for the awards night? Virtually everyone gets nominated, making for a lengthy, boring program of at least 8 (token) nominees per category, rife with entitled actors who claim they were cheated when they don’t win an acting plum. What are they? Politicians? Oh, wait.

4. It has become a political playground

4. It has become a political playground
Whether it be the Manila mayor or the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or a certain senator or a certain governor who clearly neglect the job they were elected for to shoot a movie for most of the year, the MMFF has always been chock full of politicians who clearly should have better things to do with their time, which we, the taxpayers, are paying for.

In fact, one of them is so absorbed in being a politician actor, that, when he was late for a meeting with the president, he had the audacity to say: “Hindi naman ako ordinaryong governor. Artista rin ako. At ‘di ako basta-bastang artista. Ako si Asiong Salonga at ako si El Presidente!”

3. Safe, formulaic movies

3. Safe, formulaic movies

A comedy. A horror flick. A biopic. A period piece. More comedies. The only thing that seems to be missing from this year is your standard fantasy fare for the kids. And, oh, let’s not forget…

2. Sequel-itis

2. Sequel-itis

Hey, look! Another Kimmy Dora film. I’m actually shocked that we don’t have another “Agimat” or “Enteng Kabisote” or “Tanging Ina” or “Mano Po” this year. But for all I know, they could just be gearing up for next year, if Ai-Ai will need a new car or something. Sequels are an easy cash grab, and in a “festival” of cash-grabbing, another “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” is going to be inevitable.

1. It’s a protectioneering racket

1. It’s a protectioneering racket

For about a week, all Hollywood films will be forced out of cinemas as local films get to strut their stuff with zero competition. That would have been well and good if this was the time to showcase the best that Filipino cinema has to offer for the year, except that clearly isn’t the case. Instead, we allow filmmakers to cobble together the first thing they think could make money, and peddle that as their “proud” official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival. If you ever wondered why the MMFF films rarely get nominated for the FAMAS or the Gawad Urian awards, there’s your reason.

What do you think about the MMFF? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.