FILM Director Erik Matti expressed his disappointment over the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) board following the resignation of its three executive committee members.
Over the weekend, Matti announced on his Facebook page that film scholar Rolando Tolentino, investigative journalist Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala and seasoned writer Ricky Lee are leaving the MMFF.
Lee explained in a Facebook post that he initially decided to stay with the promise of continuity with the reforms they started in 2016.
But he said that with what is happening now, it seems doubtful.
"Sa nagiging takbo ng mga pangyayari ngayon ay mukhang malabo na iyong mangyari. Kaya wala na ring dahilan para mag-stay pa ako," Lee wrote.
Tolentino, on his part, just confirmed that he handed his resignation letter and will "leave it at that".
The resignation of the three came after MMFF announced last Friday, June 30, the first four entries in competition for the 2017 MMFF in December.
The four films are "Ang Panday" directed and topbilled by Coco Martin, "Almost Is Not Enough" starring Jennylyn Mercado and Jericho Rosales and directed by Dan Villegas, Joyce Bernal's "The Revengers" featuring Vice Ganda, Daniel Padilla and Pia Wurtzbach, and "Love Traps #Family Goals" starring Dawn Zulueta and Vic Sotto.
In an interview with Matti on Monday, July 3, at the HOOQ Filmmakers Guild press conference, he explained that his frustrations have nothing to do with the four entries.
His problem is with how the selection process was done.
"Wala akong problem sa MMFF as a festival, it's how it is being run. I'm not judging the four films that were chosen, but I'm judging how they select it. It's the MMFF I have a problem with and not the movies," Matti pointed out.
He added: “Pag sa ibang industriya ito, somebody is answerable. But for MMFF, no one is answerable. No one touches them, no one calls them up and say, 'Hoy, anong pinaggagawa ninyo diyan'. Wala. Parang mas powerful pa sila sa pinaka-powerful.”
The "On The Job" director said that it seems the MMFF committee only considered who stars in the movie and who produces it.
"The four entries, who knows it maybe the best scripts that they've ever read among the submitted. Pero ang problema nga lang, it's the same type of films, it's the same kind of movies. I know what happened in the selection kaya andiyan nanggagaling ang galit ko," he said.
Matti also clarified that he is not against the MMFF because it is for the entertainment industry, but he is also not keeping mum when he believes the fundamental value of the festival is lost.
"Everyone is saying na stop the quibble because nasisira yung industriya pero hindi naman pwedeng pabayaan mo lang yung nangyayari kasi part naman tayo nitong lahat."
"I have no problem with having a film festival that's for commercial purposes. But change your criteria then. We only want movies that are commercial, that we feel are commercial, wala na tayong pag-uusapan. But to hide behind the vision which is artistic excellence, to push for cultural values and global appeal, (hindi tama 'yun)," he said.
Matti confirmed that he submitted the script of his movie "Buy Bust," starring Anne Curtis and Brandon Vera only because of his producers.
He said that if it were for him, after seeing the new people behind the MMFF, he's almost certain that his movie wouldn't stand a chance in the competition.
In the end, the film director asked the public to be more observant and vigilant of what is happening in the film business. (SunStar Philippines)