The Metro Manila Film Festival of 2009 is besieged with minor problems involving the official entries.
As per the initial announcement, the official entries are:
1. JUAN – starring Dolphy and Willie Revillame, directed by Eric Quizon for RVQ Productions.
2. ANG PANDAY – starring Bong Revilla, Iza Calzado, Rhian Ramos, Geoff Eigenmann and Phillip Salvador, directed by Mac Alejandre and Rico Gutierrez for GMA Films and Imus Productions.
3. MANO PO 6: MY MOTHER – starring Sharon Cuneta, directed by Joel Lamangan for Regal Entertainment Inc.
4. ANG DARLING KONG ASWANG – starring Vic Sotto and Cristine Reyes, directed by Tony Y. Reyes for Octo Arts and M-Zet Productions.
5. IKAW NA NGA – starring Kris Aquino, Kim Chiu and Eugene Domingo, directed by Wenn Deramas for Star Cinema.
6. NIEVES: THE ENGKANTO SLAYER – starring Marian Rivera, directed by Mike Tuviera for Regal Films and APT Productions.
7. WAPAKMAN – starring Manny Pacquiao, Nicole Scherzinger and Batista, the wrestler, directed by Toppel Lee forand to be produced Solar Films
8. SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL XI – starring Ruffa Gutierrez and to be produced by Regal Films.
Customary to the selection of the Metro Manila festival entries, submissions of scripts is required for screening. Since it’s like a contest of sorts, declared entries are like winners already especially considering that no foreign movie will be shown during the 2-week festival period.
From the former 10 entries, the number was reduced to 8 so as to further boost their (entries’) chances of earning. However, last year’s box office result showed that only 5 entries had made a profit.
Biggest earner was Ang Tanging Ina which grossed P171 million followed by Iskul Bukol then Shake, Rattle & Roll X and followed by Desperadas and Baler which earned P35.8 million. But considering that Baler is a period film, it may not really have earned at all.
Three entries for last year definitely failed to recoup their investment. Biggest loser was Magkaibigan with only P2.1 million as gross, Dayo with P5.6 million and One Night Only with P10.5 million. Producers of Dayo said their budget exceeded P50 million because of the expensive animation.
For this year, a minor problem arose when one of the official entries backed out. Ikaw na Nga of Star Cinema had to be shelved upon the request of Kris Aquino who is the main cast of the movie.
That was the time when former president Cory Aquino was in the hospital and Kris had wanted more time for her mother. Replacing Ikaw Na Nga is I Love You, Goodbye, another Star Cinema entry.
After the 8 entries have been confirmed, another one was withdrawn. Nieves, the solo-starrer of Marian Rivera is out of the list. As per the report, health problems of director Mike Tuviera caused the snag.
Aside from Marian, also losing the opportunity for Nieves were Carla Abellana, Jake Cuenca and AJ Dee. Carla, of Rosalinda fame, is all out to pursue her career, from the television into the movies.
The MMFF committee decided to forego with replacing Nieves and to just proceed with the 7 official entries for this year’s festival.
But lately, another problem is surfacing. The entries of Bong Revilla and Manny Pacquiao are both in danger of being disqualified due to Comelec regulations because the festival period is already covered by the Comelec prohibition period for movies and television.
Both stars of Ang Panday and Wapakman have openly declared their participation in the 2010 elections. Bong Revilla is either running for reelection in the senate or he may jump to be a vice presidential candidate. Manny Pacquiao is running for a congressional seat in Sarangani, the province of his wife Jinkee.
Bong Revilla immediately issued an appeal to the Comelec to override the ban. Bong emphasized that he had been a regular participant in the festival as his way of helping the movie industry.
For their part, the MMFF Executive Committee submitted their own appeal to the Comelec and reasoned that if ever the two movies are banned and therefore excluded in the festival, the expected box office gross of P500 million will be greatly affected.
The rationale for the Comelec ban on political candidates is the undue advantage they would get for the exposure in the movie or tv show. Not counting the campaign spiel or any indirect gesture for that purpose, the mere showing of the candidate’s face is already a campaign act.
For the side of the producers, showing their movies in the festival is so different than showing it in regular runs. Definitely, the festival period is the best time for a movie since the moviegoers have the time and money.
But if the Comelec accedes to the exemption of Bong Revilla and Manny Pacquiao, it will be a precedent that could be cultivated in future elections.
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