Here’s What You Need To Know About 2023 MMFF Entries

Here’s your guide to the movies included in the annual Christmas film festival!

Part of the yearly Christmas tradition of Filipinos is going to theaters. The Pinoy family’s love for cinema is actualized by the annual commencement of the Metro Manila Film Festival which offers a roster of films—from drama to horror—as year-ender visual treats. 

For 2023, the MMFF selection committee has decided to expand the entries to 10 instead of the initial 8, now with more selections to choose from and more films to bond over. 

Since the annual film festival is fast approaching, here are some of the details you need to know about the entries before buying cinema tickets. 


Reel-and-real-life couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes banner “Rewind,” a family drama film helmed by Director Mae Cruz-Alviar under the production of Star Cinema, APT Entertainment, and Agosto Dos Media. 

The story taps on the concept of time and regrets, as it focuses the narrative on a family embattled with typical marital problems. One of the more evident struggles is Dingdong’s seeming indifference towards Marian and their kid, which would also serve as a major turning point according to the first teaser. 

In a media conference held on December 4, an elated Marian teases that the film will exceed expectations beyond what the audience have watched. 

More than the promise of entertainment, she says that movie-goers will leave the theater “inspired,” “loved,” and at the same time, “magiging maganda ang paggawa mo ng New Year’s resolution mo.” 

“Rewind” serves as Marian and Dingdong’s reunion movie, 13 years after their last film “You To Me Are Everything” was shown in 2010. 



Matteo Guidicelli banners “Penduko,” the latest remake of the classic Filipino fantasy comics “Pedro Penduko.”The fantasy-action film was written and directed by Director Jason Paul Laxamana and was produced under Sari Sari Network and VIVA Films. 

Matteo was announced to take on the role in 2019 in replacement for James Reid. At that time, the actor says that committing to the role came off overwhelming since the titular character “is a big, big name in Philippine cinema and Philippine culture.”

Nonetheless, he says that “it’s such an honor to hopefully carry it out with justice and credibility.” 

The ensemble cast of “Penduko” includes Albert Martinez, John Arcilla, Kylie Versoza, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Candy Pangilinan, Andrea Del Rosario, Marissa Sanchez, Aaron Villafor, and many others. 



“(K)ampon” is a horror-thriller film born from the minds of director King Palisoc and scriptwriter Dodo Dayao. It was one of the first four films to be announced as an official MMFF 2023 entry.

(K)ampon one of the 2023 MMFF Entries

The film was supposed to be an entry for the MMFF 2019, with Kris Aquino in the lead. However, at that time, Quantum Films was not able to meet the request to change the lead actor from Derek Ramsay to Gabby Concepcion, hence resulting in disqualification. 

Four years later, the film made it well as part of the 2023 roster, with Derek still playing the leading man, this time with Beauty Gonzalez as his female lead.

(K)ampon follows the story of Clark (Derek Ramsay) and Eileen (Beauty Gonzales)—a married couple who were compelled to house a child under their care. The child, who appeared at their door on a particular day, claimed to be Clark’s daughter. 

As they take in the child while figuring out the next steps, Eileen sort of develops an odd connection with their adopted daughter, while Clark investigates further about the child’s history. 

In the course of that, Clark and Eileen were met with malevolent apparitions that rattle their household. 

“Family of Two (A Mother and Son’s Story)”

Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Asia’s Multimedia Star Alden Richards combine their acting prowess in the film “Family Of Two (A Mother and Son’s Story).”

Produced by Cineko Productions, penned by Mel Mendoza-del Rosario, and directed by Nuel Naval, Sharon and Alden explore the drama genre as a doting mother and a son in pursuit of his dreams. 

As Sharon’s character builds her life around Alden’s character, a conflict comes just when Alden is about to leave the country in hopes of landing a decent employment and pursuing his love life. 

In an interview with Manila Times, Sharon likens the film to her first film “Dear Heart.” The reason behind this is because “Family Of Two” has “truth, beauty, and simplicity” in the storyline. 

Sharon further teases, “I’m certain that when you watch this movie, there are parts when you’re smiling without knowing that you’re already in tears. That’s the effect it has on me.”


“Broken Heart’s Trip” 

“Broken Heart’s Trip” is an LGBTQ-oriented comedy film headlined by Christian Bables and Jaclyn Jose. Lemuel Lorca ferried the ship as its director under the production of BMC Films. 

The film is Christian’s second entry to MMFF following his film “Big Night,” which raked him the best actor award in the Metro Manila Film Festival 2021.

"Broken Heart's Trip" one of the 2023 MMFF Entries

During the movie’s press conference, Christian says that the film revolves around the concept of “healing,” which he elaborates as “letting yourself heal from the thing or person that holds you back from being happy. “ 

“I think people can, somehow, relate and they can identify with the pain to each and every character in this film,” he adds while highlighting the importance of “self-love” and “making peace with yourself.”

Christian and Jaclyn are joined by other cast members, including Teejay Marquez, Andoy Ranay, Marvin Yap, Petite, and Iyah Mina.  


“Becky & Badette” 

It was in April 2023 when the director of “Becky and Badette,” Jun Robles Lana announced that a Eugene Domingo and Pokwang comedy film was in the works. And just months after the teaser, the film became one of the entries to MMFF. 

"Becky and Badette" one of the 2023 MMFF Entries

On top of the comedic duo, viewers may also expect the plot to tickle them a bit with Agot Isidro and Romnick Sarmienta’s acting chops and humor. 

The storyline centers around two close friends, Becky played by Eugene Domingo and Badette played by Pokwang, whose lives changed because of one slander. From a lie that went viral, their lives were catapulted from the gutter to greater heights until their only problem was who would date Romnick Sarmenta’s character. 

But other than what was revealed in the teaser, the comedy films promised a whole lot more, since it would be a reunion movie of the two veteran comedians, who worked together on projects such as “Apat Dapat, Dapat Apat” and “‘D Lucky Ones.”


“When I Met You In Tokyo”

“Star for All Seasons” Vilma Santos-Recto and “King of Philippine Drama” Christopher De Leon have reunited after 48 years to headline this romance-oriented film directed by Rado Peru and Rommel Penza. 

The film by JG Productions, Inc., focuses on a blossoming romance between two Filipino overseas workers in Japan. It was the typical friends-to-lovers trope, but what sets it apart from the many similar stories is Vilma and Christopher’s maturity in portraying the characters.

"When I Met You In Tokyo" one of the 2023 MMFF Entries

In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Vilma reveals accepting the role quickly because of Christopher. As for her, she is very excited to banner the film since she knows Christopher wil guide and motivate her. 

The on-screen tandem first bannered “Tag-ulan Sa Tag-araw” in 1975 followed by other multiple pairings such as “Relasyon,” “Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal,” “Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan ang Nakaraan,” “Sinasamba Kita,” and “Dekada ‘70.” 



“GomBurZa,” as Filipino people know, is the shortened, collective name for the three martyred Catholic priests—Mariano Gomes, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora— who were executed by garotte during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines. 

Reimagining that atrocity to a period-piece film, “GomBurZa” then borne out of the creative juices of JesCom Films, MQuest Ventures, and CMB Films. 

"GomBurZa" one of the 2023 MMFF Entries

Dante Rivero plays Padre Mariano Gomez, Cedrick Juan portrays the life of Jose Burgos, while Enchong Dee takes Jacinto Zamora as his character. Aside from them, Piolo Pascual will also play as Padre Pedro Pelaez who used to mentor Padre Burgos. 

In a media conference held on November 13, Enchong reveals that they made sure that the film remains true to history, and that was possible by onboarding and consulting historians and members of the Jesuit community during the entire filming process. 


Another mother-and-son film that audiences have to check out is “Firefly,” headlined by Alessandra De Rossi and Euwenn Mikaell. 

Apart from its family-oriented touch, its main theme focuses on magical realism from the point of view of a child (Euwenn) in search of a mythical place told and retold by her mother (Alessandra) during bedtime.

In an interview of 24 Oras with Alessandra, she wishes that people put the movie on top of their watch list this Christmas since the youthfulness of this film is something that has not graced the screen for a very long time already.  

Directed by Zig Dulay, “Firefly” is GMA Public Affairs and GMA Pictures’ official entry to the film festival. It will also feature some renowned actors and actresses, including Yayo Aguila, Cherry Pie Picache, Miguel Tanfelix, Ysabel Ortega, Max Collins, Epy Quizon, with the special participation of Dingdong Dantes. 



Piolo Pascual banners “Mallari,” a suspense-horror film that draws inspiration from a true story of a parish priest, Father Juan Severino Mallari, notorious for his serial killing in the 1800s. 

It was also believed that the series of killings executed by Mallari has antedated the more famous Jack the Ripper of England by six decades. 

"Mallari" one of the 2023 MMFF Entries

Coming off as eerie and exciting, of course, is Piolo’s portrayal of three different personas—the titular Father Mallari, in the 1800s, John Rey in the 1940s, and Jonathan in 2023. 

Also included in the cast are Janella Salvador, Ron Angeles, JC Santos, and Gloria Diaz.

Under the direction of Derick Cabrido and script by Enrico Santos, the film produced by Mentorque Productions is already off to a good start as global production giant Warner Bros. Pictures has agreed to distribute the film. 


MMFF 2023 schedule

The 49th edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival will run from December 25, 2023 to January 7, 2023. 

The Parade of Stars will be held in CaMaNaVa on December 16, while the Gabi Ng Parangal will commence on December 27, 2023. 

Banner Art Dani Sison

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