Cebuano movie enthusiasts are in for a treat as the first Summer Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is set to take place from April 8 to 18. After receiving a total of 33 film submissions, the festival organizers have finally chosen the entries that will make up the “Magic 8” for the event.
Among the films included in the festival lineup are “Unravel: A Swiss Side Love Story,” an aching romance story filmed in Switzerland and starring Gerald Anderson and Kylie Padilla, directed by RC de los Reyes; “Singlebells,” a comedy film directed by Fifth Solomon and starring Aljur Abrenica, Alex Gonzaga and Angeline Quinto; “About Us But Not About Us,” a dramatic thriller directed by Jun Robles Lana and starring Romnick Sarmenta and Elijah Canlas; and “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko,” a musical directed by Joven Tan featuring the music of Rey Valera and starring RK Bagatsing and Meg Imperial.
Other films in the lineup include “Love You Long Time,” a romance directed by JP Habac and starring Carlo Aquino; “Here Comes the Groom,” another comedic romp directed by Chris Martinez and starring Enchong Dee, Kempee de Leon, Awra Briguela, Maris Racal and Kalad Karen; “Yung Libro Sa Napanood Ko,” written and directed by Bela Padilla, who stars in the film as well, with special participation of South Korean actor Yoo Min-gon; and “Apag,” a crime drama directed by Brillante Mendoza and starring Coco Martin, Lito Lapid, Jacklyn Jose and Gladys Reyes.
The films were selected based on the festival’s criteria of artistic excellence (40 percent), commercial appeal (40 percent), Filipino cultural values (10 percent), and global appeal (10 percent). Out of the 33 submissions, 23 were new films while 10 were resubmissions from the December 2022 MMFF.
The Summer MMFF will run in all cinemas nationwide, coinciding with the Holy Week break. The festival will also feature a parade of stars on April 2 in Quezon City and an awards night on April 11 at the New Frontier Theater.
Needless to say, the first summer MMFF will surely be exciting not only in the stories they’re about to tell, but also in how the awards competition shapes up with all the talented storytellers taking part of the festival.
According to the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) acting chairman and MMFF overall chairman Romando “Don” Artes, the first Summer MMFF is “historic” as it received the highest number of film submissions since the MMFF started. Artes expressed pride in the quality of the eight official entries and hopes that the festival will receive the same warm support from moviegoers as the December 2022 MMFF.