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Regal Films matriarch Lily Monteverde told reporters that she is saddened by the exclusion of "Mano Po 7: Chinoy" from the list of official entries to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival.
"When I heard about it talagang umiyak ako," Monteverde admitted after announcing that the newest installment of the "Mano Po" franchise will hit theaters instead on December 14, one week ahead of the start of the annual film festival.
Monteverde added that she is worried that the poor will have no movies to look forward to this coming Christmas season, before she criticized the MMFF screening committee for filling this year's lineup with mostly independent films.
"Sana naman after this year, they [the MMFF screening committee] should understand --it's not that I'm teaching them pero all these poor people, mayroon silang mga bonus. Once they get their bonus, they bring the whole family to the movies to watch. ...Sayang lang nanghihinayang ako sa mga bata."
The veteran producer, who claimed to have arranged indie movie festivals in the past, also said: "There is a time for the indie movies. But not during the Christmas season. Christmas is for the family."
The official entries to the 2016 MMFF were announced last week, headlined by Jun Robles Lana's award-winning transgender film "Die Beautiful." The list became controversial following the exclusion of the aforementioned "Mano Po 7," Vice Ganda's "The Super Parental Guardians," and Vic Sotto's "Enteng Kabisote."
In defense of the list, Dr. Nicanor Tiongson of the University of the Philippines Film Institute, the head of this year's screening committee, said: "Let us not dumb down the audience."