Home The Metro Manila Film Festival: A Celebration of Filipino Cinema

The Metro Manila Film Festival: A Celebration of Filipino Cinema

the metro manila film festival a celebration of filipino cinema

The annual celebration of the country’s cinema industry and a tradition for Filipinos to watch a lineup of outstanding movies, the 49th MMFF will be showing 10 films instead of the usual eight. So, what does MMFF stand for? The acronym stands for Metro Manila Film Festival. Since 1966, the festival begins on December 25 and ends on January 7 of the following year which will feature movies exclusively shown in cinemas.

Where is the Metro Manila Film Festival?

As the name suggests, the MMFF is usually held in Manila but screened in cinemas across the Philippines. The festival originated during former Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas’ term with the goal of allocating a specific time period for cinemas in the city to play Filipino movies. During that time, Filipino movies were labeled “second class” and foreign movies were preferred and Filipino films were only shown in smaller cinemas. The film festival originally began on the country’s Independence Day, June 12 until June 24, making it a twelve-day event. 

A significant event in Philippine history is former President Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in 1973 which resulted in the film festival hitting pause. However, it was reinstated in 1974 by former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos and was named the “1975 Metropolitan Film Festival.”

According to Festival Scape, “the festival became an annual Filipino film competition organized through Metro Manila Commission Executive Order No. 86-09, and Presidential Proclamation Nos. 1459, 1485, 1533, 1533-A, and 1647. Its aim is to stimulate the domestic film industry, encourage Filipino filmmakers to create cinematic works of art, and motivate audiences to watch films in theaters to support and patronize Filipino films. Entries are exhibited during the Christmas season, lasting for two weeks from December 25 to January 7. During this period, only films that are entries to the festival are allowed to be screened in movie theaters nationwide.”

Where can I watch MMFF 2023?

All entries for the Metro Manila Film Festival 2023 will be shown in cinemas throughout the country. Movie schedules are typically available online, and customers can purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines during the festival.

Ticket sales for this year’s festival have significantly increased compared to last year’s. The Metro Manila Film Festival 2023 features ten movie entries. However, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman, who also serves as the MMFF chairman, Don Artes, has chosen not to disclose this year’s gross ticket sales. He said this is a strategy to encourage viewers to support specific films without impacting others negatively. As Artes stated, “the MMFF does not release or publish any kind of rankings or earnings of each film to prevent trends that could influence or impact moviegoers’ decisions.”

Who won MMFF 2023?

In its forty-ninth year since reinstatement in 1974, the Metro Manila Film Festival marked another successful year, presenting awards for its best films on Wednesday, December 27. The historical film “Gomburza” led the pack, securing seven festival titles.

The Best Child Performer trophy was awarded to Euwenn Mikaell for “Firefly” which also won Best Screenplay. For the film “Gomburza” they were awarded Second Best Picture, Best Actor for Cedrick Juan, Pepe Diokno for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound, and the highly-esteemed Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award.

Here is the list of the film festival’s film winners in chronological order:

  • Firefly
  • Gomburza
  • Mallari
  • When I Met You in Tokyo

Other awards included but are not limited to:

  • Best Actor: Cedrick Juan “Gomburza”
  • Best Actress: Vilma Santos “When I Met You in Tokyo”
  • Best Supporting Actor: JC Santos “Mallari”
  • Best Supporting Actress: Miles Ocampo “Family of Two”
  • Best Director: Pepe Diokno “Gomburza”
  • Best Screenplay: Angeli Atienza “Firefly”
  • Best Child Performer: Euwann Mikaell “Firefly”
  • Best Cinematography: Carlos Canlas Mendonza “Gomburza”
  • Best Editing: Benjamin Tolentino “(K)ampon”
  • Best Production Design: Ericson Navarro “Gomburza”
  • Best Original Theme Song: Finggah Lickin’ “Becky and Badette”
  • Best Visual Effects: Gaspar Mangarin “Mallari”
  • Best Musical Score: Von de Guzman “Mallari”
  • Best Sound: Melvin Q. Rivera and Louie Boy Bauson “Gomburza”

Sources: (1), (2), (3), (4)

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