Out of MMFF 2016, Vice Ganda and Coco Martin see bright side of exclusion

Vernise Tantuco

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Out of MMFF 2016, Vice Ganda and Coco Martin see bright side of exclusion
The two stars and director Joyce Bernal speak up about not making it to the lineup of the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival

MANILA, Philippines – Many of Vice Ganda’s fans were surprised last week, when news that the comedian and Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) regular won’t be having a movie in the festival lineup this 2016. ([READ] MMFF 2016 revamped: 10 important changes to know)

This, after 2015’s Beauty and the Bestie – directed by the late Wenn Deramas and starring Vice and his best friend Coco Martin – became the highest grossing film in the Philippines, according to ABS-CBN. Vice has also had an entry in the festival lineup every year since 2010.

This year, Coco and Vice collaborated once again on a movie with director Joyce Bernal titled The Super Parental Guardians (TSPG), which follows Arci (Vice) and Paco (Coco) as they take care of two orphaned kids (Awra Briguela and Onyok Pineda).


And though they were disappointed, the two stars and the director each reflected on the MMFF’s decision and found a silver lining to the film fest exclusion. They spoke at a press conference for the movie on Tuesday, November 22. (FULL LIST: 8 MMFF 2016 entries revealed)

Vice Ganda

Vice spoke first, saying that while he was sad when he first heard the news, the movie’s team was ready for it too.

He shared that he and his It’s Showtime co-host Vhong Navarro, whose movie didn’t make it to the festival lineup either, commiserated with each other. Vhong stars in the film Mang Kepweng Returns.

The commedian said that he looked at the #MMFF2016 hashtag on Twitter and saw that people were looking for his and Coco’s movie and were disappointed to find that their movie didn’t make it too.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

“Sobra akong na-overwhelm, naiyak ako. Iyak ako nang iyak kasi nagkaroon ako ng realization na may’ maganda pala akong naiambag sa buhay ng mga tao tuwing Pasko ngayon, na hinahanap nila ako ngayong Pasko… na naging bahagi na pala kami ng Pasko nila. Na gusto nila, ngayong Pasko, bahagi ulit kami, na malaking bagay na hindi kami magiging bahagi nung Pasko nila ngayong taong ito,” shared Vice.

(I was so overwhelmed, I cried. I kept crying because I came to the realization that I contributed something to people’s lives during Christmas, they look for me during Christmas… I’ve become a part of their Christmas. That they want, this Christmas, for us to be a part of it again, that it’s a big deal that we won’t be part of their Christmas this year.)

Kaya sobra akong na-overwhelm, sabi ko, ‘Ay, ang sarap na I was able to do something right, I was able to serve my purpose. Kasi yun yung purpose ko eh, magpasaya ng tao, magpatawa, magpangiti, magpahalikhik, magpagaan ng pakiramdam. At ‘yun yung naramdaman nila sa mga huli naming pelikula. Kaya na-serve ko yung purpose ko, I was just so happy. And itong pangyayaring ‘to na mas napaaga ng pagpapakita sa pelikula, it’s a big blessing. It’s a very big blessing.”

(So I was very overwhelmed, I said, ‘It feels so good that I was able to do something right, i was able to serve my purpose. Because that’s my purpose, to make people happy, to make them laugh, make them smile, make them burst out laughing, make them feel lighter. And that’s what they felt with our last movie. That’s why I was able to serve my purpose, I was just so happy. And this event, which made us move the movie’s release date earlier, it’s a big blessing. It’s a very big blessing.)

The MMFF movie lineup will be released, as is tradition, on December 25. TSPG will be released on November 30.


Coco Martin

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

For his part, Coco agreed with Vice, saying that he was speechless when he first heard the news, but that other opportunities and blessings will come to them despite the rejection. 

Coco said he wanted to make an MMFF movie this year, as with every year, for himself, for his fans, and for his co-stars – Awra, Onyok, and Pepe Herrera – to whom he promised to include the next time he tried for the festival.

CHILD STAR. Onyok Pineda is one of the kids who stars in 'The Super Parental Guardians' with Coco Martin and Vice Ganda. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

He added that had TSPG made it to the MMFF, it would have been a Christmas gift to the Filipinos.

“Nung binubuo namin yung pelikula, yun yung finofocus namin, yun yung pinaghahandaan namin na sa Pilipino,” said Coco. 

(When were were making the film, that was our focus, that was what were preparing for the Filipinos.)

But Coco still thinks that good things will come out of this experience: “Pero sinabi ko na lang sa sarili ko, alam ko na may magandang purpose ‘to eh, na hindi man kami nasali, alam ko may dahilan kung bakit.

(But I told myself, I know that this has a good purpose, that we weren’t able to join the festival, but I know that there’s a reason why.)

“Sabi nga nila, may kasabihan na pag may nagsaradong pinto, may bubukas na bintana. And then ang sa ‘kin ngayon, honestly, mas excited ako kasi nareject man kami, pero ngayon may nagbubukas na bago para sa ‘min. Tapos may mas nagloolook forward na parang ‘Hindi, at least ang importante, sure tayo na maganda yung pelikula namin.’ Kaya yun po, yun yung nagpapalakas ng loob ko ngayon.”

(They say that when a door closes, a window opens. And then for me, honestly, I’m more excited, because even though we were rejected, there are still new opportunities opening up for us. And now we can look forward and say, ‘No, at least what’s important is that we’re sure that our movie was good.’ So there, that’s what’s keeping me strong now.)


Joyce Bernal

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

On the other hand, Joyce was asked if she was okay with the MMFF’s decision, given that she was on the MMFF’s Board of Jurors in 2012 – the group that decides on who will receive the awards for the festival’s awards night.

Joyce first reacted to the changes in the MMFF this year, which include changes to the criteria for selection. Most notably, the MMFF decided to do away with the “commercial viability” criteria this year, which used to take up 50% of the scoring before.

“Binago nila yung submission [rules], naramdaman ko yun, binago nila yung [Executive Committee], iba yun. So parang meron silang pinaparating talaga, mayroon silang gustong sabihin, mayroon silang gustong iparating. So naramdaman ko po yun,” said Joyce. 

(They changed the submission [rules], I felt that, they changed the [Executive Committee], it’s different. So they have a message to get across, they have something to say, and they have something to get across. So I felt that.)

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

She added: “When I was part of the jury nung [2012], para ikwestiyon ka –pinag-uusapan po ‘yun, ginegradan namin ‘yun, we deliberate on it even before the grading mismo.

(When I was part of the jury in [2012], to be questioned – the decision-making is talked about, we give grades, we deliberate on it before the grading itself.)

So mayroong proseso talagang sinusunod. So sa lahat po ng jury o ano man selection commmittee, rinrespeto ko po yung ginawa nila yung trabaho nila. At anoman po yung gusto nilang gawin, irespeto ko rin po yun this coming Metro Manila Film Festival.”

(So there’s really a process that’s followed. And to all the jury or the selection committee members, I respect their work. And anything they want to do, I respect that too, this coming MMFF.)

For Joyce, this rejection isn’t the end of Vice, Coco, and herself being included in the festival: “At saka kung gusto pa rin nila Coco at saka ni Vice next year na gumawa nun, lalaban po kami next year.”

(And if Coco and Vice want to make another movie, we’ll fight next year.) – Rappler.com

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Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.