The disqualification of the film “Honor Thy Father” from the recent Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is now undergoing Congressional hearings. The film’s pull out from cinemas and disqualification for the Best Picture category even if the film’s director, Erik Matti, won Best Director has stirred somewhat an online revolution about how the MMFF runs its course. Despite this, the MMFF board remained firm on their decision.
In the recent turn of events, Moira Lang, producer of the film “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” who was present at the hearing posted an update on her Facebook Page.
Yesterday something momentous happened in the Congressional hearing on the MMFF. Beyond and more important than the issues raised about MMFF 2015, shocking discoveries were made about the MMFF organization and consequent, unanimous, and urgent recommendations and resolutions were made by the solons who attended the hearing. To wit:
1. The MMFF believes itself to be a private entity exempt from audit by government or any institution or body for that matter. Under such conviction of immunity, it has: a) committed acts constituting conflict of interest and grave abuse of power; b) operated–such as in selecting the annual festival entries, tabulating the MMFF Awards jury members’ scores, and coordinating with theater operators and bookers in deciding the fates of the entries’ life in the cinemas–with little or no regard for transparency or fair play; and c) conducted its financial dealings in a questionable, irresponsible, and less than scrupulous manner.
2. Upon ascertaining the above, the Congressional Committee that presided over the hearing unanimously passed the motion to create a technical working group that will study, revise, overhaul, and reconstitute the existing organization and by-laws of the MMFF. In other words, there is now a move in the House of Representatives to ABOLISH THE MMFF IN ITS PRESENT STATE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A NEW, IMPROVED, LAW-ABIDING FESTIVAL FOR THE FILIPINO PEOPLE.
The implications of the proceedings dawned on everyone attending the hearing and the room erupted in applause despite the sergeant-at-arms’ repeated warnings to everyone not to engage in any disruptive display of emotion.
None of this has made it to print (broadsheet dailies) or TV news yet. Maybe the mainstream media deem it inconsequential, a little too showbiz perhaps. Or the enemies of Philippine Cinema are more shrewd and powerful than we think. Or no one really cares outside the movie industry. Or maybe, hopefully, it’s just a case of delayed reaction that will be rectified in the coming days. Whatever the reason, I am sharing this as a record of what happened yesterday and in the hope that some of you will share it with your friends.
What do you think of abolishing MMFF for a new, improved, and law-abiding festival? Share your thoughts with us.