Summer MMFF pushing through; 8 entries announced

A CRIME drama from Brillante Mendoza and a musical using the songs of Rey Valera are among the eight entries in the inaugural summer edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in April.

Originally meant to start three years ago, the summer edition of the annual film festival was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic which lead to nationwide lockdowns. The Summer MMFF will finally push through from April 8 to 18 in all cinemas nationwide.

The eight official entries are:

• Apag. A crime drama directed by Brillante Mendoza starring Coco Martin, Lito Lapid, Jacklyn Jose, and Gladys Reyes.

• Unravel: A Swiss Side Love Story. A romance filmed in Switzerland, it is directed by RC Delos Reyes starring Gerald Anderson and Kylie Padilla.

• Yung Libro sa Napanuod Ko. ActressBela Padilla directs and stars opposite South Korean actor Yoo Min-gon in this romance.

• Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko. A musical directed by Joven Tan featuring the music of Rey Valera. It stars RK Bagatsing and Meg Imperial.

• Singlebells. A comedy directed by Fifth Solomon starring Aljur Abrenica, Alex Gonzaga and Angeline Quinto.

• Here Come the Groom. A comedy directed by Chris Martinez and starring Enchong Dee, Kempee de Leon, Awra Briguela, Maris Racal, and Kalad Karen.

• About Us But Not About Us. A dramatic thriller directed by Jun Robles Lana and starring Romnick Sarmenta and Elijah Canlas.

• Love You Long Time. A romance directed by JP Habac and starring Carlo Aquino.

“With the success of the holiday MMFF in bringing the movie going public back to the theaters, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Romando ‘Don’ Artes thought of finally pushing through with the very first summer MMFF which should have happened three years ago if it weren’t for the pandemic,” film festival spokesperson Noel Ferrer told BusinessWorld in a message through Instagram.

The film festival is an annual project of the MMDA.

Last year’s December film festival, the first held fully onsite after the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, reached its target of P500 million in gross sales.

“We are hoping that with the built-in publicity and awareness that come with the MMFF, people can treat this as another event and chance to go back to the theaters once again,” Mr. Ferrer wrote.

Thirty-three films were submitted for consideration for the inaugural summer edition of the film festival.

Mr. Ferrer noted that film submissions for the summer edition are also eligible for the holiday edition “provided they fill up the necessary new entry forms” as there will be a separate selection.

The entries were chosen based on criteria similar to that of the annual MMFF: artistic excellence (40%), commercial appeal (40%), Filipino cultural sensibility (10%), and global appeal (10%).

The MMFF summer edition is organized by the MMDA along with the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines.

“This very first Summer MMFF is exciting because it’s all new, without any precedent or formula, nothing of the usual December film festival features and players, and a very good time for new and exciting concepts and collaborations that the Filipino audience should look forward to and support,” Mr. Ferrer said.

The Summer MMFF’s Parade of Stars will be held on April 2 from Commonwealth to Quezon City Circle, while the Awards Night is scheduled on April 18 at the New Frontier Theater in Quezon City.

Just like during the annual film festival in December, no international movie titles will be screened in regular theaters for the duration of the Summer MMFF. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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