Brillante Mendoza plans to submit 'Ma' Rosa' to MMFF

MANILA, Philippines – Fresh off Jaclyn Jose's Best Actress win at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival, acclaimed filmmaker Brillante Mendoza said that Ma' Rosa will get a commercial run. He announced this to members of the press at their homecoming dinner on Wednesday, May 25.

However, he said that it may not be shown until December as he intends to submit the film to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), which starts annually on Christmas Day.

When asked if there are rules that would bar them from entering the festival, considering that the film had its world premiere at Cannes, Mendoza said that he consulted about this matter with the festival committee.

"I already asked the committee. It's possible. Sabi nila [na] okay lang, basta huwag lang magkaroon ng (They said that it's okay, as long as there is no) commercial screening before [the] Metro Manila Film Festival," the filmmaker said.

The Cannes Film Festival, according to the website, does not sell tickets and is invitational: "an event reserved for film industry professionals who need an accreditation to gain access to the Palais des Festivals."

"Invitations are personal and non-transferable and legal action may be taken against persons transferring tickets even when no monetary exchange is involved."

Ma' Rosa was in the official selection, where it competed for the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize, which Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake won.

Mendoza also previously told InterAksyon that his decision was spurred by a new MMFF rule that only allows completed films to enter the competition.

MMFF and MMDA Chairman Atty Emerson Carlos reiterated in a press conference last April that only films that have not had a commercial run are allowed to compete in the festival, InterAksyon reported.

In a text message to Rappler, Carlos clarified that a film that has previously competed at an international film festival may be entered into the MMFF as long as there would be no local screenings prior to it.

He also said, "We are in fact excited with his intention to field his [movie] at the MMFF this year."

The MMFF's new rules come after the 2015 edition was marred by a controversy that disqualified Erik Matti's Honor Thy Father for the Best Picture category. It cited the non-disclosure of the film's previous inclusion in the Cinema One Originals festival, where it was the opening film.

The executive committee's decision to disqualify Honor Thy Father cited the rule which says, "An entry film shall not have been, in any way, commercially exhibited here and/or abroad." (READ: MMFF 2015 clarifies 'Honor Thy Father' disqualification)

According to MMFF Chairman Carlos, this rule has been changed, saying that only prior local screenings would disqualify a film from competing at the festival in December.

There will also be no need to submit a sworn statement "attesting to the non-revenue and promotional nature," as the previous rule states.

Mendoza's Thy Womb, which had shown at the Venice International Film Festival in 2012, among others, was also entered in the MMFF in the same year. It won several awards, including Best Director for Mendoza and Best Actress for Nora Aunor. – with reports from Paolo Abad/