Liza Diño clarifies Cinema Evaluation Board’s zero grade on 2 movies

Alexa Villano
Liza Diño clarifies Cinema Evaluation Board’s zero grade on 2 movies
The chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines speaks up after 'Balangiga: Howling Wilderness' and 'Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus' got zero grade from the board

MANILA, Philippines – Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson Liza Diño Seguerra spoke up about critcisms thrown at the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB), after they gave a zero grade to two movies: Balangiga: Howling Wilderness and Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus

Balangiga director Khavn De La Cruz, Gusto Kita With All My Hyptohalamus producer Perci Intalan, and director Dwein Baltazar took to social media to air their disappointment at the CEB’s decision to give no grade to their movies. The grades A or B would have given them incentives.

Other film reviewers and noted film professionals were also surprised by the decision. (Why ‘Balangiga,’ ‘Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus’ got zero grade from CEB)

In an interview with Rappler at the Film Industry Conference on Friday, August 17, Liza said about the rating system: “I’d like to clarify, there’s no such thing as a zero [rating]. Because there’s only A and B. But before you get to the A and B, you have to go through a pre-qualification procedure. “

Explaining further, Liza said in a mix of English and Filipino: “What happened with the pre-qualification is, [there are] 9 reviewers and 5 voted ‘no,’ and 4 voted ‘yes.’ So it’s not zero, because 4 said ‘yes, let us grade this film.’ And some of them even gave it a grade of A. But there are 5 individuals who felt ‘no, it’s not qualified for incentives.’ That’s what happened.”

“So I guess it’s a matter of different tastes, and I think that’s what happens when you leave [the] grading in terms of incentives to the hands of people that have personal opinions about films. I mean, film criticism here is not yet that advanced. We have our critics but the understanding of it, there’s still needs to be a full understanding of film criticism,” she added.

Liza said that she personally understands why there were strong opinions on the grading, especially with Balangiga, which won Best Picture in 3 different awards. (FULL LIST: Winners, Gawad Urian Awards 2018)

“Because you have two top award giving bodies (Urian and FAMAS) na nagsabi na ito ‘yung isa [sa] mga best films sa Pilipinas (who said this is one of the best films in the Philippines). Does it mean you’re invalidating the credibility or the decision of the award giving bodies? That’s why I understand na (that) we have very strong opinions about the CEB decision.”

She said following the criticism, she met with members of CEB over the matter. In fact, the people behind Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus have written to them already about the decision, and the CEB will convene again for it.

As for Balangiga, Liza said they’re just waiting for a letter from them. She emphasized this is a step that must be done, because they cannot just react to messages posted on social media.

The CEB, chaired by Christine Dayrit, is composed of 20 people from the arts, the academe, business, and other sectors identified by the council. (READ: Poppert Bernadas appointed to Film Development Council)


Liza also clarified reports posted by Khavn De La Cruz  on what happened during the first day of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

According to Khavn, some of the cinemas did not show their films or any of the 5 films under the Special Feature Presentation.

“I want to clear, I want to put on record that I have been working with them. In other words, we’re supposed to be partners, right? If you’re partners, you try to fix things internally, there’s coordination. Nothing is pefect. There are technical issues that need to be discussed. I think it was really unnecessary to go to social media immediately,” Liza said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

For example, Liza said there was a technical error on the part of one of the cinemas that were called out by the people behind Balangiga. The error was eventually fixed by the parties concerned.

She said other films such as Kiko Boksingero also encountered problems but were ironed out immediately.

Liza also clarified about the permits from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

“FDCP issues FDCP ratings only. Kumbaga (That means) if the film went through us, that’s the only time when we can produce these FDCP ratings to be distributed in cinemas. Kung nagpa-MTRCB ka, kailangan ikaw ang kumuha sa MTRCB because they will not release it to any producer ‘yung MTRCB rating mo na dadalhin din sa sinehan.”

(If you went to the MTRCB, you have to be the one to go to MTRCB, because they will not release it to any producer, the MTRCB rating which you will have to bring to the cinemas.)

She said in a mix of English and Filipino: “I guess the FDCP’s fault was we were not able to inform them that they should be the ones to bring the form from MTRCB permits, because the MTRCB did not allow us to sign on their behalf, so they have to secure it themselves.” –

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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.