Director Dan Villegas weighs in on ‘Honor Thy Father’ controversy

Alexa Villano
Director Dan Villegas weighs in on ‘Honor Thy Father’ controversy

Rob Reyes

The 'Walang Forever' director says he feels the sentiments of director Erik Matti

MANILA, Philippines – Walang Forever director Dan Villegas said he understands the sentiments of director Erik Matti, following the disqualification of Honor Thy Father from the Best Picture category in the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival awards.

In an interview with reporters after the program Sunday, December 27, Dan said that he had seen the film and highly recommends that everyone watch it. 

“Honestly, I saw Honor Thy Father and it was an excellent film. Kumbaga, tamang-tama lang na siya yung best direk in my opinion kasi ganun ko ka-love yung pelikula niya. So  siyempre nafifeel ko siya na kung ako man sumali ako, and the day before the awards night, ma-didisqualify eh madaming tanong diba? Ang winiwish ko lang eh sana ma-explain nang maayos kung ano  yung nangyari. Not only for Honor Thy Father but for everyone joining the MMFF,” he said.

(In other words, it was just right he won best director in my opinion – that’s how much I love his film. So of course, I feel for him because if you joined the festival and the day before the awards night, you find out you’re disqualified, you’ll have questions right? I just wish that they would explain what happened. Not only for Honor Thy Father but for everyone joining the MMFF.)

According to Dan, like everyone else, he wants the MMFF to clarify its system. Asked if there was a possibility that Honor Thy Father could have won, Dan said: “Definitely. Hindi ako isa sa mga jury pero nung napanood ko yung Honor Thy Father, it was one of the best films na napanood ko this 2015 – not local but one of the best films I saw this year. And I really liked it so dapat, definitely kasama siya sa Best Film [category].”

(Definitely. I’m not part of the jury but I watched Honor Thy Father, and it was one of the best films that I’ve watched this 2015, not only among local flims one of the best films I saw this year. And I really liked it so of course, definitely it should be part of the Best Film [category].)

Erik, who won as Best Director for the movie, was unable to attend the awards, but Shiel Calde, a representative from Reality Entertainment, read his speech to the audience. (READ: ‘Honor Thy Father’ director Erik Matti no-show at MMFF 2015 Awards Night)

The Directors’ Guild of the Philippines also condemned the disqualification of the movie, saying “the film was not given its rightful due process.” 

During the awards night, producers, artists, and those present at the audience called on everyone to support the movie by watching it. Lawyer Joji Alonso, producer of Walang Forever and Buy Now, Die Later, also appealed to the audience to support all films. (READ: ‘Honor Thy Father’ receives thunderous applause as it wins 5 awards at 2015 MMFF awards)

Walang Forever

Meanwhile, Dan said he was very happy for his Walang Forever stars Jennylyn Mercado and Jericho Rosales, who won the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. This is the second straight Best Actress win for Jennylyn, after last year’s English Only, Please. Walang Forever also took the Best Picture plum.

“Super happy ako na nanalo yung dalawa. ‘Yun nga ‘yung sabi ko kanina, lumabas si Jen at si Echo sa mga comfort zones nila. Tapos ‘yun nga, nagpapasalamat ako kay Echo kasi si Echo first time ko maka-work na kumbaga, bro, you have to trust me, gawin mo ito.

(I’m so happy that those two won. As I said earlier Jen and Echo really went out of their comfort zones. And I want to thank Echo because this is the first time I worked with Echo. It’s like, bro you have to trust me, do this.)

“‘Pag nandoon ka kasi sa set, may mga things na hindi ka nakikita na makikita mo na pag-edited na or pinapalabas na. So parang nagpapasalamat ako kay Echo at kay Jen sa tiwala. Kasi si Jen nakawork ko na before ‘di ba?” he said. (If you’re on the set, there are things that you’ll just see when it’s edited or when it comes out. So I’m really thankful to Echo and Jen for the trust. Because I’ve worked with Jen before.)

The director was also asked what he thinks attracts the audience to his films.

Sa totoo lang I try to be as honest as I can in the material; kung paano ko siya nafifeel. Nagpapasalamat ako sa audience, sa inyo na nagugustuhan n’yo yung flavor na binibigay ko sa pelikula (The truth is I try to be as honest as possible with the material; how I feel it. I  want to thank the audience, to all of you, that you like the flavor I put in the movie),” he said. –

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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.