MANILA, Philippines – Following the release of the 8 Metro Manila Film Festival entries on Friday, December 25, some films have already been pulled out of cinemas, according to Nilalang director Pedring Lopez and co-producer Wesley Villarica.
On Saturday, December 26, Rappler spoke to Lopez and Villarica about the issue through Facebook chat.
“In less than a day [of screening] we started getting pulled out of a few cinemas, and when today’s screening started, from 36 theaters in Manila and 7 provincial theatres we were down to less than 20 [in total],” said Villarica.
He added that the MMFF committee has not explained why their movies were being pulled out, and the same happened to Honor Thy Father: “As far as we all know, it was Honor Thy Father and Nilalang who got the most theaters canceled.”
On Facebook, Honor Thy Father writer Michiko Yamamoto said that the movie was pulled out of 10 theaters after the first day of the festival. (READ: MMFF 2015: 5 things to know about ‘Honor Thy Father’)
Lopez and Villarica said that most theaters were filled with two of the bigger productions among the 8 entries: My Bebe Love and Beauty and the Bestie.
Later in the interview, Lopez said, “We expected the two big movies to really dominate the box-office but all our cinemas [are screening] either [the] AlDub or Vice [Ganda] movie. Even direk (director) Erik Matti’s movie has the same problem, and now disqualified pa [sila] (it’s disqualified too).”
My Bebe Love stars the popular tandem of Alden Richards and Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza, also known as AlDub. Among the film’s producers are Antonio P Tuviera Entertainment and GMA Films, a subsidiary of GMA Network.
On the other hand, Beauty and the Bestie starring Coco Martin and Vice Ganda was produced by ABS-CBN Films, and distributed by its subsidiary, Star Cinema. Both are under ABS-CBN Corporation.
Both GMA and ABS-CBN are the biggest media companies in the Philippines.
“My friends and I were supposed to book the whole director’s club [cinema] today in SM Aura to watch the film but when I woke up today it was already replaced by AlDub,” shared Villarica.
Lopez said his friends were supposed to watch on December 26 as well, but they found that the film was already pulled out. “I feel lang [that] the MMFF should at least protect the small indie [productions],” he added.
Villarica also said that their film should have at least gotten 3 days of screening, especially given that the bigger productions were being screened at more cinemas.
“[Because] we were given nga only 40 plus cinemas compared to the big studios who got more than 60 to 70, then this morning Vice’s movie is already [at] 150 plus. It’s crazy. Not everybody wants to go out on Christmas day and line up for a movie,” said Villarica.
Lopez also said that you don’t get to choose which cinemas your movies will screen at – they had to draw lots. “Some cinemas, I was told, we were only given 2 screenings, nung gabi pinalitan na kami (at night, we got replaced).”
When asked what they had to say to the MMFF committee in light of the issue, Villarica responded, “We would like to appeal to the MMFF committee to help support local cinema by ensuring that all entries get ample screening time, and that we believe that we can offer the viewing public an alternative movie that can honestly be at par with international productions. One day is not a gauge of how many people would want to see the movie.”
Meanwhile, on December 26, the MMFF executive committee disqualified Honor Thy Father from the Best Picture category in the festival’s awards.
In a statement, producer Dondon Monteverde said that they were disqualified because the committee claimed that they were not informed that the movie was screened at the Cinema One (C1) Originals Film Festival in November.
Monteverde fought back, saying that both his production company, Reality Entertainment, and C1 Originals sent letters informing the MMFF that about the private, non-commercial screening.
The MMFF has yet to release a statement regarding both both issues.
Have you seen Honor Thy Father or Nilalang in theaters? What do you think of the issue? Let us know in the comments! – Rappler.com