THE Covid-19 pandemic changed everything including hopes, plans and visions set in the previous year.
All of the Guerrilla Film Festival (2003-2005) Mindanao Film Festival (2006-present) annual screenings were held at Gaisano Mall Cinema 5 (or 6) but this 2020 with current health protocols, a moviehouse screening is no longer feasible.
Instead of just canceling this year's festival, the Mindanao Film and Television Development Foundation Inc., led by president Dax Cañedo and the festival manager of the Mindanao Film Festival (MFF) Ivan Tadena, decided to adapt to the new normal by holding the film festival virtually via the YouTube platform.
There were 84 films that were screened online during the 18th Mindanao Film Festival, which ran from December 7 to 13. Of the 84 films, around 37 were competition, while 47 were exhibition screenings.
The short film "Mael" produced by Bangsamoro filmmaker Prince Nor Anzarrih Matalam was the biggest winner in the festival awards night.
The film that tells the story of a former Bangsamoro fighter got the awards for Best Sound, Best Original Song (for O Papanok Ako Bo by Datu Khomine Bansuan), Best Musical Score, Best Editing, Best Actor for Mohamad Bolkiah Mamadra, Best Director and Best Film.
Premiering in the Film Festival was the full-length film "Oligase: Demon of Fear" produced by CBN Asia about a Matigsalog lass who battles superstitious beliefs that shackles them in ignorance. Oligase won the Best Marketing and Promotion Award and a Special Recognition Citation.
"Bullet-Laced Dreams" a documentary about displaced lumad schoolchildren won the Best Documentary award. Dabawenyo filmmaker Conrad dela Cruz tale of macabre "Noche Buena" won the awards for Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Special Jury Recognition for Direction and Special Jury Award.
Student filmmaker Francis Arrocena was also one of the big winners as he won Best Student Film and Best Screenplay for his pandemic short drama "Replay" Maria Pelayo his lead actress in "Replay" won Best Actress Award while his other film the 24-hour shot "Unsaved Changes" won the Best Filmathon Film.
The short animation "Mist in the Desert" created by University of Mindanao students was honored with a Special Jury Recognition for Animated Film.
Film and Television actor Paolo Paraiso, Cagayan de Oro filmmaker Joe Bacus and film and television director Richard Somes were the jurors of the 18th MFF.
The festival registered more than 60,000 views on its online platform, the highest ever viewership for the festival, the virtual screenings brought MFF screenings to a much wider global audience.
The 18th MFF online edition was organized by the Mindanao Film and Television Development Foundation Inc. (MFTDFI) in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines and sponsored by Japan Foundation, Globe/Touch Mobile, Alchemy of Vision and Light and Southspot.