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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.

Nov 24, 2020




THE METRO MANILA FILMFEST officially announced in a zoom presscon the 10 entries in this year's festival coming in December. 

MMDA Chairman Danny Lim and Globe VP Chris Cheng said it will not be shown in theaters but through the platform of digital streaming in cooperation with Globe Studios. 

You can now watch it right in the comfort of your own homes for only P250 per movie and your whole family can watch it. Even viewers abroad can access it through the G Movies app. And here are the entries: 

“Magikland” - Produced by Lore Reyes and the late Peque Gallaga with Brightlight Productions of Cong. Albee Benitez whose "Magikland" theme park in Silay City inspired the movie. An action-adventure fantasy directed by Christian Acuna, this stars four kids, Miggs Cuaderno, Elijah Alejo, Joshua Eugenio and Princess Aguilar, who get into the video game called Magikland. Supporting them are Jaclyn Jose, Rowell Santiago, Maricel Laxa, Paolo Contis, Katrina Halili, Agot Isidro, Gabby Eigenmann and Luis Alandy.

“Coming Home” - Produced by Maverick Films, written and directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. This is a family drama about an OFW dad who comes home to his family with Sylvia Sanchez as the mother, plus Edgar Allan Guzman, Martin del Rosario, Shaira Diaz, Vin Abrenica, Julian Estrada and Jake Ejercito. 

“The Missing” - A horror drama produced by Regal Entertainment, filmed on location in Saga, Japan, written and directed by Easy Ferrer. It stars Ritz Azul, Joseph Marco and Miles Ocampo in a story of a haunted house that echoes the now classic Japanese horror flick “The Grudge”.

“Tagpuan” - Drama from Alternative Vision Cinema, written by Ricky Lee and directed by Mac Alejandre. This is a love triangle movie shot in Hongkong and New York, starring Alfred Vargas, Iza Calzado and Shaina Magdayao.

“Suarez, The Healing Priest” - A true story based on the life of the late Fr. Fernando Suarez, who died while playing tennis last February 4 at the age of 52. Directed by Joven Tan, it stars John Arcilla in the title role, supported by Dante Rivero. 

“Isa Pang Bahaghari” - Produced by Heaven’s Best Entertainment and directed by Joel Lamangan, this is another family drama about an OFW father who returns home to his hostile family. It stars Nora Aunor and Philip Salvador as the estranged couple, Michael de Mesa as their gay best friend, with Zanjoe Marudo, Joseph Marco and Sanya Lopez as their three kids. 

“Mang Kepweng, Ang Lihim ng Bandang Itim” - Produced by Cineko Productions and directed by Topel Lee, it’s an action-horror-comedy. It stars Vhong Navarro in the title role, supported by Ritz Azul, Benjie Paras, Joross Gamboa, Ryan Bang and Ion Perez. 

“Pakboys, Takusa” - A sex-comedy produced by Viva Productions, directed by Al Tantay. It stars comedians Janno Gibbs, Andrew E, Dencio Padilla and Jerald Napoles as four married men who cheat on their wives. They are supported by Natalie Hart, Angelu de Leon, Maui Taylor, Ana Roces, Marissa Sanchez and Leo Martinez. 

“The Boy Foretold by the Stars” - Originally accepted as an entry in the CineFilipino Filmfest which didn’t push through because of the pandemic, this is the first BL (Boys Love) movie after so many TV series. Produced by Derrick Cabrido of Clever Minds Inc. and directed by Dolly Dulu, it stars Adrian Lindayag (of “Oh My God”) as a gay high school boy secretly in love with his high school friend, Keann Johnson. 

“Fangirl” - Produced by Dan Villegas, written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone, it stars newcomer Charlie Dizon in the role of a young girl who’s so enamoured with her idol, an actor played by Paulo Avelino, that she’d do everything to meet him in person. This has been shown and has gained raves in international film festivals in Tokyo and Estonia.

In summary, the ten entries are a mixture of drama, comedy, action, horror flicks. There are five drama films. Two dramas are about an OFW father who returns home to his family with his kids alienated from him, “Homecoming” and “Isa Pang Bahaghari”. 

Another drama is a biographical film, “Suarez, The Healing Priest”, while the other one is about the unusual story of a fan and her favorite actor, “Fangirl”. The last one is a love triangle story filmed in Hongkong and New York, “Tagpuan”.

Two action-adventure fantasy flicks intended for kiddie viewers both make heavy use of CGI special effects, “Magikland” and “Mang Kepweng”. Then there’s a sex comedy, “Pakboys”, and a gay romantic comedy, “The Boy Foretold by the Stars”. Only one movie is an out and out horror flick, “Missing”, filmed in Japan. 

The question now is: will the Metro filmfest be as successful as the annual festival held in actual theaters? The streaming platform is something new for local films. One movie tried it last Halloween, the horror fick “U-Turn” starring Kim Chiu. and the result is not very encouraging. 

Streaming is quite successful here only if it’s for free, like in iWant. But if they’re required to pay, PInoy viewers are obviously very reluctant, even with Netflix. In the whole Asian region, it’s said we have the fewest viewers compared to our neighbor countries. 

But who knows, with the lineup of entries in the Metro-Manila Filmfest, they might finally be enticed to watch new local films online.