February 4, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

MMFF offers a whole range of genres

A ROMANTIC comedy, a suspense thriller drama, an action adventure comedy, a techno horror film, an action drama, a comedy and two family dramas make up this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Organized by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the film festival begins on December 25 and runs through January 7, 2023.

This year’s film festival, which is being held for the 48th time, has the motto “Balik Saya” (fun returns).

“We urge everyone to support our filmmakers and check out the MMFF series of entries across genres. Spend time with your families, friends and loved ones and watch as many movies as possible. Let’s all make this celebration a success,” said Acting MMDA Chairman and MMFF Overall Chairman Romando Artes in a press release.

The coronavirus pandemic led to a major drop in festival revenue as performances at the theater could not be held due to lockdown rules. So it turned to online screenings in 2020, then limited screenings the following year.

The 2020 online edition grossed less than P50 million, compared to P995 million in box office receipts in 2019. No official winning numbers were announced for 2021 as the film festival returned to physical screenings in select theaters nationwide. The MMFF’s box office record was in 2018 when it brought in 1.060 billion pesos.

The MMFF’s Gabi ng Parangal or Awards Ceremony will be held on December 27th at the New Frontier Theater in Quezon City.

The Metro Manila Film Festival was established in 1975 to recognize the film industry’s role in presenting stories about the country and its history, and to promote and enhance the preservation of Filipino cinema. No non-festival films may be shown in cinemas during the festival period. Except in 3D and IMAX cinemas, no foreign films may be shown during this time.

Here are the eight official MMFF 2022 entries in alphabetical order:

CLEAR
(manufactured by Viva Communications, Inc.)
Directed by Mikhail Red

The techno horror film follows Lyra (played by Nadine Lustre) as she works in a shadowy online content moderation office, where employees known as “erasers” are tasked with removing graphic uploads from social media filter platforms. Little does Lyra’s co-workers know that she is hiding deep trauma. Her attempt to erase and forget her past has forced her to be indifferent to the horrors of the world. In addition to Ms. Luster, McCoy De Leono, Louise Delos Reyes and Jeffrey Hidalgo also star.

MTRCB rating: R-13

FAMILY MATTERS
(Cineko Productions, Inc.)
Directed by Nuel Naval

Francisco (played by Noel Trinidad) and Eleanor (Liza Lorena) are an elderly couple with four children. The film follows family members as they argue over who should take care of their stroke-stricken father. The film also stars Nonie Buencamino, Mylene Dizon, Nikki Valdez and JC Santos.

MTRCB Rating: G

LABYU WITH ACCENT
(ABS-CBN film productions)
Directed by Coco Martin

Trisha (played by Jodi Sta. Maria) is a US-based businesswoman who returns to the Philippines after catching her fiancé cheating on her. At home, she meets Gabo (Coco Martin, aka Rodel Pacheco Nacianceno), who has been working various jobs to make ends meet. When Tricia returns to the US, Gabo follows her. Tricia then asks Gabo to pose as her new wealthy businessman friend to keep her ex-fiancé out of the family business.

MTRCB rating: PG

MAMASAPANO: NOW IT CAN BE TOLD
(Borracho film production)
Directed by Lester Dimaranan

The action-drama tells the story of the 44 Special Action Force officers who died in Mamasapano’s tragic clash with the MILF in 2015. The main roles are played by Edu Manzano, Aljur Abrenica, Paolo Gumabao, Alan Paule and Claudine Barretto.

MTRCB rating: R-13

MY FATHER, MYSELF
(3:16 media network)
Directed by Joel Lamangan

Robert (played by Jake Cuenca) and his wife (Dimples Romana) have a daughter (Tiffany Grey) and an adopted son, Matthew (Sean de Guzman). Matthew’s biological father is Robert’s late former lover. As the children grow up, things get complicated when Robert falls in love with his adopted son, who is also impregnating his stepsister.

MTRCB rating: R-18

NANANAHIMIK ANG GABI
(Pure entertainment productions)
Directed by Shugo Praico

The suspense thriller drama follows a woman’s undercover relationship with a corrupt cop and a sugar daddy. The main roles are played by Ian Veneracion, Heaven Peralejo and Mon Confiado.

MTRCB rating: R-13

ACCOMPLICES
(ABS-CBN film productions)
Directed by Cathy Garcia Molina

The action-adventure comedy, starring Vice Ganda and Ivana Alawi, follows two former lovers who cross paths again, but then both get caught up in a crime.

MTRCB rating: PG

THE TEACHER
(TEN17P)
Directed by Paul Soriano

A high school teacher (played by Toni Gonzaga) learns a valuable life lesson after meeting a 70-year-old student (Joey de Leon).

MTRCB rating: PG

—Michelle Anne P. Soliman