Image courtesy of www.interaksyon.com
Regal Entertainment matriarch “Mother” Lily Monteverde has raised the hackles of several people in the movie industry with her statement that independent films are not fit for the Christmas season, prompting one actress to call her an expletive.
The veteran movie producer responsible for the “Shake, Rattle & Roll” and “Mano Po” series that were staples of past editions of the MMFF admitted that she cried when she learned that her film “Mano Po 7: Chinoy” failed to make the coveted Magic 8 list of official entries for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.
The festival’s screening committee also rejected high-profile commercial films starring box office stars Vic Sotto (“Enteng Kabisote and the Abangers”) and Vice Ganda and Coco Martin (“Super Parental Guardians”) in favor of mostly small independent films.
Monteverde told media over the weekend that she felt bad for audiences, particularly children, who are used to family-oriented movies that the MMFF usually offered.
She stressed that she had nothing against indie films in general having produced movies directed by the likes of Lav Diaz and Jeffrey Jeturian and even organized her own indie film festival in the past.
Just the same, Mother Lily argued that the Yuletide season — during which the all-Filipino filmfest has a monopoly over cinemas nationwide – is not the time to show independent films.
“There is a time for the indie movies. But not during the Christmas season. Christmas is for the family,” she was quoted as saying.
Actress Mercedes Cabral, one of the lead stars of the official MMFF entry “Oro,” was outraged and did not mince words in her Facebook post on Wednesday.
“Nakaka-awa ang mga bata??? Sabihin mo lang e ang habol mo lang e kita ng pelikula mo. Saka bayaran mo ng maayos mga tao mo. Ni hindi ka nga makapag bayad ng matino sa mga taong nagtatatrabaho sayo e. At kayo lang ba ang may karapatan magpalabas ng pelikula tuwing pasko? Fucking idiot,” she wrote.
“Oro” director Alvin Yapan seconded Cabral’s sentiments but was more circumspect in his post: “‘BATA’: A much abused term in Filipino film discourse.”
Filmmaker Erik Matti, whose horror thriller “Seklusyon” was among those included in the Magic 8, cautioned against the indiscriminate comparisons between indie and mainstream films in a recent Facebook post.
“Hinay hinay sa paghamak at paginsulto ng salitang INDIE na parang ito’y may ketong na dapat layuan. Ang indie at mainstream ay parehong pelikula rin lang at wag na po ihiwalay sa isa’t isa. Ang indie, tulad ng mainstream, ay pwedeng malalim o mababaw, matalino o stupido, nakakatawa o nakakaiyak, commercial o artistic, pambata o pangmatanda o panghugot, cheap o big budget. Pareho pong pelikula yan,” Matti pointed out.
“Panoorin n’yo muna ang mga pelikulang napili sa #MMFF.Merong pagbabagong naganap sa #MMFF2016. Bigyan naman natin ng chance na umubra bago husgahan. Lalabas din naman si Vice si Vic at si Chinoy kahit di nakasali e.”
Matti is referring to the successive announcements of earlier playdates for films that failed to qualify for the MMFF including “Mano Po 7: Chinoy.”
Cebu-based indie filmmaker Ara Chawdhury, who won acclaim for her feature film debut “Miss Bulalacao” last year, also posted this rejoinder on her Facebook page:
“Became a filmmaker because of the philosophy na if you don’t see what you like, you better be prepared to make it yourself. I strive hard to create good Filipino films because I want to see good Filipino films. And now that the winds are changing in behalf of quality, dinosaurs are trying their best to hang on to our purses.”