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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 4, 2017

The Metro Manila Filmfest Has Not Even Officially Started Yet But It's Already Controversial Since The Chosen Four Finalists Are All Mainstream, But Don't We Already Have A Lot Of Indie Filmfests Throughout The Year?

THE DECEMBER METRO filmfest has not even started yet but it has already become controversial because three members of the selection committee who chose the first four official entries have resigned. They did so because one member said commercialism ruled in the choices of the four finalists. These films are: “Ang Panday” starring and directed by Coco Martin; “Almost is Not Enough” with Jericho Rosales and Jennylyn Mercado, directed by Dan Villegas; “#Love Traps Family Goals” with Vic Sotto, directed by Tony Reyes; and “The Revengers” with Vice Ganda, Daniel Padilla and Pia Wurtzbach, directed by Joyce Bernal.

As you can see, not one of these four movies belong to the indie films variety that usually has mostly unknown and not so bankable stars. Maybe, the slots for the next four films that will be chosen based on their submitted full length films, will be reserved for indie films. We’re not sure.

But as it is, don’t we already have so many indie film festivals being conducted throughout the year? This includes the Cinemalaya Filmfest (to be held this coming August), Cinema One Originals Filmfest (to be held in November), and we also have the QCinema Filmfest in October, Singkuwentro Filmfest, CineFilipino Filmfest, ToFarm Filmfest and the latest is Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino also to be held this August and it will be conducted nationwide. We don’t see mainstream filmmakers complaining that they are not included in these film festivals.

The sad fact is that all these indie film festivals do not make money. Majority of their entries lay big fat eggs at the box office, just like what happened in the Metro Filmfest last year where they chose to show only indie films. What indie filmmakers should really do is to try to promote their finished products better. What happens most of the time is they spend for the production, but they don’t promote their films at all. So what do you expect? Their movies come and go in the theaters without people even knowing that they are being shown.