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Will indies dominate Metro Manila filmfest?

charo-copyMOSTLY INDIES – Christmas is sooner than you think. Which means the annual Metro Manila Film Festival is also just around the corner as the cinema event opens on Dec. 25, extended up to first week of January.

Now, will indies dominate this year’s MMFF?

Very valid question as in selecting the eight official entries, there’s no more distinction between mainstream and indie movies.

Heard that as of this writing, more than 50 titles have been submitted for consideration, most of them indies.

As you very well know, commercial consideration is no longer the top criterion. It’s quality…and the quality of indies has improved considerably.

FEW MAINSTREAM – As of this writing, only four of five mainstream film are being shot, mostly from Star Cinema, Regal, and the joint production companies of Tony Tuviera, Vic Sotto, and Orly Ilacad.

Seems that Viva isn’t keen on joining the filmfest.

The tandem of director Gil Portes and scriptwriter Eric Ramos, with Rex Tiri as producer, is definitely joining. Their entry is almost in the can (meaning finished), “Moonlight Over Baler,” a timeless love story with an impressive cast: Elizabeth Oropesa, Vin Abrenica, Ellen Adarna, Sophie Albert, Daria Ramirez.

It’s independently produced but, Gil points out, with topnotch production, story, star values. “Yes, artistic,” says Gil, as required by the MMFF screening committee this year.

SEASON OF – Yes, indies, which are showing all over the world, in international filmfests, both major and minor.

Look, the Charo Santos starrer, “Ang Babae sa Humayo,” directed by Lav Diaz, is in Venice. Ditto “Pamilya Ordinaryo,” directed by Roy Jr. and topbilled by Ronwaldo Martin (Coco’s brother). It’s been invited to several filmfests, including Bangladesh.

Louie Ignacio has two: “Laut” and “Area.”

“Laut” competes in India, starring Barbie Forteza, Ronwaldo Martin, Gabbi Garcia, Jak Roberto, and mostly young actors.

“Area,” the first indie of Ai-Ai de las Alas, is in Kazakhstan. Also starring Allen Dizon.

Mel Chionglo’s “Iadya Mo Kami” is in Salento, Italy. Playing the lead role (a priest with a sweetheart and child) is indie king Allen Dizon.
Joseph Israel Laban’s “The Sister” is in New York. Starring Sue Prado and Isadora Vasquez.