The MMFF is finally returning to cinemas after missing out on Christmas last year.
The pandemic might have postponed all our Christmas plans last year, but the holiday season this year is starting to shape up to be what we were once used to, because the Metro Manila Film Festival will be in full swing once again!
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) released on Saturday the official list of entries to the 47th Metro Manila Film Festival, which begins on December 25.
“It has been our desire for our theater partners to bounce back to business once again, and we are helping them build the confidence in the movie audiences and encourage them to go back to watching films where they should be enjoyed to the fullest – the cinemas,” said MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. during a virtual presser. “Thus, this year’s MMFF will be back in the cinemas where they initially and rightfully belong.”
From the nineteen finished film submissions from various production companies, members of the film festival’s Selection Committee, led by Boots Anson Roa-Rodrigo, selected the eight finalists based on criteria such as artistic excellence, commercial and global appeal, and Filipino cultural sensibility.
Here are the eight finalists to this year’s MMFF, in no particular order:
A Hard Day (dir. Lawrence Fajardo)
Based on the South Korean blockbuster hit of the same title, A Hard Day follows a homicide detective who tries to hide the body of a man he accidentally killed inside his mother’s coffin on the day of her funeral. The Filipino adaptation of the action-thriller stars Dingdong Dantes alongside John Arcilla.
The film debuted last April 2020 and was an official entry to the first-ever Metro Manila Summer Film Festival.
Big Night! (dir. Jun Robles Lana)
A dark comedy written and directed by multi-awarded Jun Robles Lana, Big Night! is a dark comedy that deep-dives into the country’s drug war. When a gay beautician finds out he is put on the infamous “tokhang” drug watchlist, he tries everything to clear his name.
The film boasts a star-studded ensemble in Christian Bables, Eugene Domingo, Gina Alajar, Janice de Belen, Ricky Davao, Gina Pareño, Alan Paule, Soliman Cruz, and John Arcilla. It just recently made its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, which runs from November 12 to 28.
Love at First Stream (dir. Cathy Garcia-Molina)
Helmed by renowned romantic-comedy director Cathy Garcia-Molina, Love at First Stream follows the misadventures of a streamer, a student, a breadwinner, and a heartthrob who logs online in search of love and friendships to escape their realities offline.
Daniela Stranner, Anthony Jennings, Kaori Oinuma, and Rhys Miguel comprise the cast of this film from Star Cinema and Kumu.
Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Whether the Weather is Fine) (dir. Carlos Francisco Manatad)
Kun Maupay Man It Panahon has already screened in several international film festivals, even winning the Best Director Award and the prestigious Cinema e Gioventù Prize, but this time, it’s the local audience’s turn to watch this film from Carlos Francisco Manatad.
Daniel Padilla, Charo Santos-Concio, and Rans Rifol star in this film set during the aftermath of the devastating Yolanda super-typhoon, where they struggle for survival as they are forced to deal with destruction, loss, and the dwindling hope of finding a new home.
Nelia (dir. Lester Dimaranan)
A suspense-thriller film from up-and-coming film company A and Q Film Productions, Nelia tackles the story of a nurse whose womanly instincts and gut feel are aroused because of the mysterious cases happening in the hospital where she works.
Leading the film’s cast is beauty queen Winwyn Marquez, who is joined by stars Ali Forbes, Juan Carlos Galano, Raymond Bagatsing, Dexter Doria, and Dan Alvaro.
Huwag Kang Lalabas (dir. Adolfo Alix, Jr.)
Huwag Kang Lalabas is a horror trilogy film whose episodes are set after the war, during the height of Martial Law, and the persisting global pandemic, each exploring a grisly tale of terror.
The cast includes Kim Chiu, Jameson Blake, Beauty Gonzalez, and Aiko Melendez.
The Exorsis (dir. Fifth Solomon)
Previously marketed as The Exorcism of My Siszums when it was supposed to debut at last year’s film festival, Fifth Solomon’s horror-comedy The Exorsis will finally see light in this year’s edition of the MMFF.
Starring celebrity siblings Alex and Toni Gonzaga, the film is a parody of the classic horror film The Exorcist and stands to be the lone comedy entry in this year’s film festival.
Huling Ulan sa Tag-Araw (dir. Louie Ignacio)
#RitKen fans will surely rejoice in this romantic-comedy from Louie Ignacio: Huling Ulan sa Tag-Araw follows a sexy dancer who falls in love with her best friend, who so happens to be aspiring to be a priest.
It stars the love team of Rita Daniela and Ken Chan, whose chemistry on the small screen through shows such as “One of the Baes” and “Ang Dalawang Ikaw” will now be tested on the big screen.
The Metro Manila Film Festival 2021 is set to run from December 25 to January 7, 2022.