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MANILA, Philippines – Honor Thy Father director Erik Matti was not present at the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival Awards Night following the festival executive committee disqualifying his film from the Best Picture category.
Matti won Best Director, and Honor Thy Father‘s team bagged many other awards, including Best Original Theme Song, Best Makeup Artist, Best Festival Child Performer, and Best Supporting Actor.
Instead of accepting his award onstage, a representative read a message from Matti instead.
Erik said that his dissatisfaction with the MMFF isn’t just about his film being disqualified from the Best Picture category: “Kahit kailan po hindi ako gumawa ng pelikula para magka-award. At kung may mga reklamo man ako sa MMFF, hindi yun tungkol sa pagdisqualify ng Honor Thy Father sa Best Picture category. Naglabas na ng statement ang producer namin na si Dondon Monteverde. Sang-ayon ako sa mga sinabi niya doon. Mas malalim kaysa diyan ang disappointment ko sa MMFF.”
(I never made a film to get an award. And if I have any complaints about the MMFF, it’s not about the disqualification of Honor Thy Father in the Best Picture category. Our producer, Dondon Monteverde, released a statement about it already. I agree with what he said. My disappointment in the MMFF runs deeper than that.)
Matti continued, saying that as a die-hard movie fan, he doesn’t recognize anymore the festival he looked up to and respected before.
He then thanked the MMFF for bringing to light issues in the festival that nobody spoke about before, saying, “Maraming salamat po sa libreng publicity, at higit sa lahat, ang pagbukas ng pinto para pag-usapan na sa wakas ng lahat ng filmmakers, pati ng moviegoers, ang mga hinangad nilang pagbabago para sa MMFF.”
(Thank you for the free publicity, and most of all, for opening the door for filmmakers and moviegoers to finally talk about the the changes they sought for the MMFF.)
He called Filipino moviegoers to action: “Sa lahat ng mga Filipino naman na hindi pa nagsasawa sa mga gawa namin dito, salamat po sa inyo. You deserve better. Kaya tulungan niyo naman po kami. Demand for better films. Demand for more choices in the cinemas. Kaya pa natin baguhin ‘to. Hindi ako titigil kung hindi kayo titigil.”
(To all the Filipinos who haven’t gotten tired of what we’ve been doing, thank you. You deserve better. Which is why you should help us. Demand for better films. Demand for more choices in the cinemas. We can still change this. I won’t stop if you won’t stop.)
“Hindi na ito tungkol sa Honor Thy Father,” Matti finished. “Buong industriya ng paggawa at panonood ng pelikulang Pilipino ang usapang ito. Kaya salamat na rin sa inyo MMFF. Binuhay niyo ang pag-asa ko para sa pagbabago. Inaalay namin ni Michiko (Yamamoto) ang award na ‘to para sa pelikulang Pilipino.”
(This is not about Honor Thy Father anymore. We’re talking about the whole Filipino filmmaking industry now. So thank you MMFF. You brought back to life my hope for change. Michiko (Yamamoto) and I offer this award to Filipino films.)
Michiko Yamamoto is the screenwriter of Honor Thy Father.
On Twitter later that night, Matti sent out the following tweets saying that he won’t be swayed by an award and that the winners of the MMFF awards won unfairly.
The Best Picture award was given to the movie Walang Forever, directed by Dan Villegas.
Villegas invited the people present at the awards to watch Matti’s film when he accepted his award for Best Original Story with Antoinette Jadaone.
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 in October, when Honor Thy Father was included in the festival, 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 Pule, 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 two days before the C1 Originals screening. – Rappler.com