Holding film fest amid pandemic an achievement — MMFF spokesperson

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 27) — Despite earlier reports of low turnout during its opening day, organizers of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) said holding the event amid a pandemic is already an achievement. 

“The fact na nakapag MMFF tayo despite the pandemic ay isang malaking achievement na at magandang unang hakbang sa pagbabalik ng kumpiyansa ng mga tao at producers na nandito tayo na nakasuporta sa industriyang naipatigil, naisantabi at hindi itinuring na ‘essential’ ng halos dalawang taon,” said MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer in a Facebook post on Sunday.

[Translation: The fact that we were able to have an MMFF despite a pandemic is already an achievement itself and it’s the first step to encourage the public and producers that there is support for an industry that was halted, disregarded, and not considered ‘essential’ for almost two years.]

This year marked the return of MMFF to the big screen after the government allowed movie houses to reopen after more than a year. Last year’s film festival was done via an online streaming platform.

Ferrer said cinema operators said the MMFF opening on Dec. 25 was their highest grossing day so far since cinemas reopened.

“Not even the big Hollywood films (like Eternals) are able to approximate the gross that MMFF 2021 has generated so far,” he said.

“In fact, the first day gross alone this year covered one-third of the total MMFF online gross (in its entire run) last year. With more people going to the cinemas by the day, sa first three to four days pa lang, puwede nang malampasan ang total gross last year. Wala pang major sakit ng ulong problema sa piracy,” Ferrer added.

[Translation: In fact, the first day gross alone this year covered 1/3 of the total MMFF Online gross (in its entire run) last year. With more people going to the cinemas by the day, the first three to four days of the festival could surpass the total gross last year. We don’t even have to worry about movie piracy.]

With the switch to digital streaming due to the pandemic, it was reported that MMFF only earned less than ₱50 million compared to the ₱955 million in 2019.

Ferrer asked the public to support the movie industry amid the ongoing health crisis.

“Ang industriya ng pelikula ay binagyo at dumapa rin. Ang hinihinging suporta ay ang pagbabalik sa mga sinehan para panoorin ang mga likhang sariling atin. Ito ang tulong/ayuda na inaasahan sa bawa’t isa,” he said.

[Translation: The movie industry also slumped. The support it needs is the return to cinemas so that many people could watch our very own films. This is the assistance we are seeking for.]

“Hindi lang ito para sa kabuhayan ng mga tao kundi ang patuloy na paglikha ng sining - sa gitna ng pandemya,” he added.

[Translation: This is not just about livelihood but the continuity of making art in the middle of pandemic.]

MMFF will run from Dec. 25 to Jan. 7, 2022. There are eight movie entries this year.