MMFF: The battle to be at ‘top of the heap’

03:26 AM January 21, 2015

Methinks now is as good a time as any to rethink the merits of holding the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Originally touted as an opportunity to showcase homemade film products, to highlight, promote and reward Filipino cinematographic genius, and all that jazz, that exercise has churned out nothing more than egregious misadventures into money-making mediocrities.

Most participating producers were obviously more concerned with their movies’ crowd-drawing appeal than with genuine quality. And huge hordes they did attract—given the MMFF’s sneaky timing (Christmastime when people have plenty of “gifts” to squander), the extended vacation and, most importantly, the banning of all foreign competition. In other words, they held the whole of Metro Manila captive! That surely explains the “box-office hits” that such irritatingly repetitious atrocities as “Praybet Benjamin,” “My Big Bossing,” “Feng Shui,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” etc., were. Needless to say, it was a cheap conspiracy between the MMFF organizers and the profiteering nabobs of the film industry! (Did anyone also notice how they kept those movies off-limits to free-loading senior citizens in all of Quezon City for two whole weeks running?) Worst of all, Metro Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino’s acting as their principal promoter and poster boy was an unmitigated abomination in light of his total neglect to manage the chaotic traffic all over Metro Manila during that time.


The MMFF has truly become an insufferable annual annoyance to those who also wish to enjoy the Yuletide going to the malls and watching good movies, local or foreign. Why deny them the choice during the best time of the year to have fun? Truth to tell, nothing can test our local filmmakers’ mettle better than to force them to run the gauntlet with the foreign filmmakers. If pitting talents with them would put ours on a sticky wicket, so be it. Let the public be the judge. But eliminating the competition outright is pathetic, and inflicting inanities on movie-goers for two whole weeks is just murder! There ought to be a law against such insult to the common intelligence. And seriously, who wants to be adjudged “top of the heap” (read: garbage)?—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, [email protected]


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