MANILA, Philippines – In a letter addressed to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee, the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Incorporated (DGPI) condemned the disqualification of the movie Honor Thy Father from the Best Picture category of MMFF 2015.
A copy of the letter was sent to Rappler on Sunday, December 27.
“We believe the film was not given its rightful due process,” explained the DGPI.
The guild also questioned the decision of the MMFF executive committee, saying: “Since MMFF already knew of the opening film screening of CinemaOne Originals, why wasn’t it disqualified early on? Or at least given notice that they could be disqualified from MMFF if they pursued the invitational screening? And why was the disqualification declared only a day before the awards night?”
The DGPI called the decision an injustice and urged those in the film industry and those working in the festival to stand united.
“The DGPI stands against arbitrary and unfair practices in the MMFF: we demand fair play, we demand transparency, and we demand change,” the guild ended.
The letter, signed by DGPI President Mike Sandejas, was also posted on social media:
On December 26, Honor Thy Father was disqualified from the Best Picture category of the festival, according to the letter that was sent to producer Ronald “Dondon” Monteverde. The letter said that the film’s team did not let the MMFF officials know that it was screened at an earlier festival.
MMFF rules say that if entries were screened at other festivals without revenue, they will not be disqualified as long the producer submits a sworn statement attesting to the non-revenue at the time of applying.
Honor Thy Father was screened at the opening night of the Cinema One (C1) Originals Film Festival on November 8. The screening was non-commercial and by invitation only.
Monteverde and C1 Originals both sent the required statements to MMFF on November 5 and 6 respectively.
On December 27, the MMFF Executive Committee clarified Honor Thy Father‘s disqualification, saying that on October 22, Monteverde told them that Honor Thy Father complied with the festival’s rules.
Honor Thy Father was not included in the original MMFF lineup released in June, but was added after another film, Hermano Puli, pulled out in October.
The MMFF explained further that after receiving Monteverde’s letter on November 6, they had no time to deliberate on the matter, as it only gave them 2 days before the C1 Originals screening. – Rappler.com