Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 review

January 14, 2017 01:18 AM

Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 review

By: Jason Gordon

IN 2016, Metro Manila’s annual film festival received a major creative overhaul. Compared to previous years, the event was modified to the point of almost being unrecognizable. With a stricter criteria for allowing movies into the festival, as well as an even more distinguished panel of judges to review the entries, the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival was both very ambitious and very successful.

Of the twenty-seven official entries that were selected, only eight were actually deemed worthy to screen at the festival. This stricter criteria made sure that only the very best was to be shown to audiences at the festival. The main reason for this is because the Metro Manila Film Festival is currently trying to become one of the world’s most renowned movie events. In order to compete with other better known international competitions, the films shown at the Manila festival had to be of the highest quality. They may not be Oscar buzz worthy, but they are still some great films worth checking out.

In addition to the eight accepted feature films, eight short films were also screened at the festival. This list included titles like Birds (directed by Christian Paolo Lat), Momo (directed by Avid Liongoren), and Manilla Scream (directed by Roque Lee and Blair Camilo).

Previous editions of the Metro Manila Film Festival all had a parade of stars. This was an event held near the beginning of the festival where many of the accepted movies’ stars would parade down to festival on floats. Having been very grand in the past, the event was still present at the 2016 festival, however it was drastically downsized. Normal vehicles were used to transport the stars this time around, instead of giant floats. The reason for all of this was because the festival coordinators felt that the attention should be focused mainly on the films themselves, as opposed to the actors and actresses.

Although the event would carry on for some time, all of the awards winners were announced fairly early on. Of the short films, the one that won best picture was a short named EJK. It was directed by Bor Ocampo. The feature film that won best picture was a movie named Sunday Beauty Queen, directed by Baby Ruth Villarama. Best actor went to Paolo Ballesteros from Die Beautiful, and Irma Adlawan from Oro won the award for best actress.

As for some of the technical achievement awards, best cinematography went to Neil Bion for his camerawork on Seclusion, best editing went to Chuck Gutierrez for Sunday Beauty Queen, and best production design went to Ericson Navarro who also worked on Seclusion.

The top earners for the festival were Seclusion, Die Beautiful, and Vince & Kath & James. Those numbers were provided by the studios responsible for making the films, as opposed to the Metro Manila Film Festival itself.


All in all, the festival was a huge success. The next one should be even bigger, and it is only a matter of time before Manila’s own film festival is one of the most renowned in the world.


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