Metro Manila Film Festival Off To A Slow Start

In 2020, the Metro Manila Film Festival, commonly known as MMFF, pivoted to online screenings as movie theaters were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because cinemas in the country have finally opened their doors to the public last November, this year’s edition went back to its traditional format.

As per usual, the MMFF, which features exclusively locally made films, premiered worldwide on Christmas. Unfortunately, the annual film festival has gotten off to a slow start. 

According to ABS-CBN News, unlike previous Christmases, not a lot of people have gone to the cinemas in order to watch films from the MMFF lineup. Staff and customers said this may be attributed to the fact there aren’t children-friendly movies in the MMFF this year. Plus, the fact one cannot bring food or drinks to the cinema can ruin the experience for some. To add to this, the sporadic rainfall throughout the country may have prevented Pinoys from heading to the movies. 

In an interview with, director Joey Reyes gave his two cents as to why Filipinos have been hesitant to watch MMFF films. He listed the following reasons that contributed to the MMFF’s poor performance this year:

  1. Expensive movie tickets
  2. People would rather eat out and go sight-seeing than go to the cinemas
  3. A lot of Filipinos are scared to watch movies in the cinemas 
  4. Christmas is all about family for Filipinos
  5. Pinoys have grown fond of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Viu, Vivamax, Upstream, KTX
  6. The past one year and 10 months have altered Filipinos’ habits dramatically 

In case you’re wondering, there are 8 films at this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. Two of which are headlined by John Arcilla of Heneral Luna. Most films in the line-up are not hailed as family-friendly. Here’s the full list for your reference:

  • A Hard Day, directed by Lawrence Fajardo and starring Dingdong Dantes and John Arcilla
  • Big Night, directed by Jun Robles Lana and starring Christian Bables, John Arcilla, Eugene Domingo, and Martin del Rosario
  • Love at First Stream, directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and starring Daniela Stranner, Anthony Jennings, Kaori Oinuma, and Jeremiah Lisbo
  • Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Whether the Weather is Fine), directed by Carlo Francisco Manatad and starring Daniel Padilla and Charo Santos
  • Nelia, directed by Lester Dimaranan and starring Raymond Bagatsing and Winwyn Marquez
  • Huwag Kang Lalabas, directed by Adolf Alix Jr and starring Kim Chiu, Joaquin Domagoso, Beauty Gonzalez, Aiko Melendez, and Jameson Blake
  • The ExorSis, directed by Fifth Solomon, starring Toni Gonzaga and Alex Gonzaga
  • Huling Araw sa Tag-Ulan, directed by Louie Ignacio and starring Ken Chan and Rita Daniela

The MMFF runs from December 25, 2021, to January 7, 2022, so if you’re interested in helping boost ticket sales for MMFF, you should consider watching sooner than later.

Art Daniella Sison

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