For so many decades now, the film industry calendar always ends with the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (Philippines). If controversies marred the filmfest, the year definitely ends with a bang. If everything went smoothly and with everybody—from producers to MMDA officials to the moviegoing public—happy, the year undoubtedly ends with a bouquet of roses.
The year 2005—though the controversies spilled over to the first days of the new year—definitely ended with a bang as innuendoes, charges and counter-charges regarding the just concluded MMFFP awards night’s results snowballed and reverberated even as the filmfest officially ended on January 8.
This yearender opted to gloss over the negative vibes that the post-awards-night really stirred like a hornet’s nest and will instead dwell on the positive events and realities that transpired for the movie industry in the year just passed.
Inasmuch as we have started with the MMFFP 2005, let us glean the positive news about this event.
The gross for the 2005 filmfest is the highest on record, according to Manny Nuqui, an official of the playdate committee of the MMFFP 2005. Unofficial but reliable tallies placed this festival’s gross at P351,970,995.
This figure is higher that the total gross of 2003 (the filmfest year of Captain Barbel, Fantastic Man, Crying Ladies, Mano Po 2, Malikmata, Filipinas, Bridal Shower, Gagamboy and Homecoming) which was pegged at P328,812,507.
The third highest grossing record was for the year 2002, at P315,299,233. This was the year when the number of entries was once again raised to ten with each film getting a P4 million cash incentive from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
MMFFP 2004 grossed P300,777,532, only good for the fourth highest ranking with entries including the first Enteng Kabisote film, So Happy Together, Spirit of the Glass and Mano Po 3, as well as the critically-acclaimed Aishite Imasu and Panaghoy sa Suba.
The decision to raise the entries to nine or ten films beginning in the year 2002 of the new millennium effectively increased the gross of the MMFFP. This is easily proven if we compare these abovementioned figures with collated records from 1998 to 2001:
1998—P133,774,340 (with entries Jose Rizal, Babae sa Bintana, Puso ng Pasko, Kasal-kasalan, Sambahin ang Ngalan Mo and Hiwaga ng Panday).
1999—P160,668,374 (with entries Muro-Ami, Pepeng Agimat, Sa Piling ng Aswang, Bulaklak ng Maynila, Esperanza and Ako ang Lalagot sa Hininga Mo).
2000—P155,190,084 (with entries Tanging Yaman, Spirit Warriors 2, Death Row, Gen. Ping Lacson Story, Markova and Sugatang Puso).
2001—P147,771,964 (with entries Bagong Buwan, Bahay ni Lola, Yamashita, Hubog, Tatarin, Four Fathers and Di Kita Ma-Reach).
According to the 2005 gross records, Enteng Kabisote 2 was the top-grosser followed by Exodus, Mulawin, Ako Legal Wife (though the last two films were separated by a measly half a million peso difference), Shake, Rattle & Roll 7, Blue Moon, Kutob, Terrorist Hunter, Lagot Ka sa Kuya Ko and Mourning Girls (the last two separated by a 150,000 peso or so difference).
Now, the overall report on film production for 2005.
At first glance, film production output increased by a mere three films compared with 2004. Last year’s total was evidently bolstered by the coming of age of digital films which accounted for five films exhibited in their original digital form while five others were transferred into 35 mm. prints for their theatrical exhibition.
The digital films shown were Grupong Sinehan’s Bathhouse and Bilog, Viva Films’ Boso, Unitel Pictures’ Sa Aking Pagkakagising Mula sa Kalimutan, and White Windows Productions’ Ang Lagusan.
The digital films made into 35 mm. prints included Unitel Pictures’ Pinoy Blonde of Director Peque Gallaga, MLR Films’ Mga Pusang Gala, GEE Ent. Productions’ Masahista, Viva Films’ Ilusyon and Cinemalaya’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros.
Another encouraging development for 2005 was the fact that 15 out of 21 films submitted to the Cinema Evaluation Board of the Film Development Council of the Philippines received favorable ratings—four were rated A and 11 rated B.
The A-rated films were Unitel Pictures’ La Visa Loca of Director Mark Meily, starring Robin Padilla; the digital film Ilusyon of Viva Films; Cinemalaya’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros; and Mulawin of GMA Films and Regal Entertainment Inc.
The B-rated films were Star Cinema’s Dreamboy, Can This be Love?, Nasaan Ka Man and Dubai; Let The Love Begin of GMA Films and Regal Entertainment Inc.; Seiko Films’ Bikini Open; Unitel Pictures’ Pinoy Blonde; Exodus, Tales of the Enchanted Kingdom of Imus Productions and Reality Entertainment Inc.; Regal Entertainment Incorporated’s Ako Legal Wife; and Good Harvest’s Blue Moon.