How goes the Metro Manila Film Festival?
The Philippines' most pop-oriented film festival is winging it like an art film

FESTIVAL IN FLUX. 'Be Careful's' film version might have been the highlight. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN

MANILA, Philippines – About 3 months before it begins, preparations for the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival remain in flux, to say the least.

First to back out from the festival was Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s “My Super Kap,” wherein he was supposed to be paired with Ai-Ai delas Alas (replacing Toni Gonzaga, who couldn’t commit herself to the project).

Revilla pulled himself out of the festival in July, as he was being dragged into the now-epic Napoles-PDAF scandal.

Friends had dissuaded the actor-senator from taking part in the festival because the scandal might sink his film in the box office, even if the festival was still several months away.

And, indeed, up until this time, the controversy over Janet Lim-Napoles gets wider and deeper.

Taping schedules

Another project that was recently pulled out of the festival was the planned film version of the hit noontime teleserye, “Be Careful With My Heart.”

The serye’s stars, Richard Yap and Jodi Sta. Maria, could not commit themselves to the project, owing to their tight schedules.

Even their director, Jeffrey Jeturian, has been tied up with taping the series that is still scheduled to run until early 2014.

Direk Jeffrey also had to cancel his planned participation at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he was invited to screen his film “Ekstra.”

All because of the hectic taping schedules. If it’s any consolation to the acclaimed indie and serye filmmaker, he has fulfilled his dream project to direct a movie starring Vilma Santos.

READ: ‘Ekstra’ to go abroad

Replacing the withdrawn projects are “Boy Golden,” to be directed by Chito Roño and starring ER Ejercito, and Regal Entertainment’s “Let’s Take A Chance,” to be directed by Jun Lana and starring Carla Abellana, JC de Vera, and Tom Rodriguez.

Carla of “My Husband’s Lover” has described this project which she co-stars with Tom as “a love story [with a little] kilig”  – this time, with no character in the way like Dennis Trillo’s.

But no one is more thrilled than Regal matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde because she finally has an official entry to the MMFF – in which she usually presents one or two films every year.

So, who knows how things will turn out for the festival? Improvisation has always been the true spirit behind making a movie. –

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