MMFF reinstates movie script submissions for 2017 entries

The MMFF has revised their rules yet again.


( Although December is a long way from now, the Metro Manila Film Festival is already gearing up for this year's slate—but with a big change yet again.


According to the MMFF's official Facebook page, they've revised their rules of submission after "months of thorough and careful evaluation and deliberations" and "dialogues with the different industry stakeholders."


This year, there will be two ways to join the full-length category: script submission (four official entries will be selected and will be announced on June 30) and finished films (four official entries will also be selected, and will be announced on November 17).


In their statement, the MMFF assured moviegoers that they are "encouraging the submission of excellent films that would connect to a broader Filipino audience" but the change is already drawing flak from several Facebook commenters. "Somehow one gets the feeling that they're trying to accomodate those who were left out on last year's film festival," wrote one. Another user wrote, "Finished scripts meaning they're accomodating again the likes of Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda films. I can't believe after the long fight we pushed through, we're back at square one again."




A previous interview with filmmaker Erik Matti (who famously rallied against the MMFF in 2015) sums up their concern nicely:


"[Only accepting finished films as entries] helps the industry. Because that's the only way you can judge a film. When it's just a script, it leaves your work open to interpretation. What you like on paper may not be the same when it's shot. A film can only be judged when you see a film, not the script."


It's worth noting, however, that the inclusion of only finished films may not have entirely led to the 2016 lineup of mostly indie movies, as the Enteng Kabisote, Mano Po, and Super Parental Guardians films were completed in time for the deadline. For instance, the 2016 criteria was also changed from a 50% "commercial viability" and 40% "story creativity, writing excellence, innovativeness, and thematic values" to 40% "story, audience appeal, overall impact" and 40% "cinematic attributes and technical excellence."

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At the time, the official 2016 movie lineup was met by praise by audiences and filmmakers who were rallying for change, as well as criticism from MMFF staples like Vice Ganda, Vic Sotto, Tito Sotto, and Mother Lily Monteverde.


As of writing, the MMFF has yet to release a statement on the reaction to the new submission rules. It is also still unclear if they will be retaining 2016's criteria for choosing entries.


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