A new entity has joined the drama surrounding the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), a few days after three Executive Committee members resigned over internal differences regarding the balancing of the organization’s commercial and artistic interests.
This time, the group working on the Citizen Jake film shared their thoughts on the MMFF controversy. In an open letter posted on Facebook, they revealed that they didn’t actually send their script for the annual event.
“For two reasons: One, a Film Festival entry should ALWAYS be a film, not a script. This is just common sense and Two, aside from a handful of names the identities of the 24 or so members of the Selection Committee were never revealed to the public,” the statement read.
They also questioned the qualifications of some of the members of the committee.
“Who are they? What are their credentials? They may be qualified (or not) to solve Manila’s traffic nightmare but does this qualify them to pass judgment on film scripts and finished films?” they added.
The latter part seemed to be referring to newly minted transportation undersecretary for roads, Tim Orbos, who is also the MMFF Executive Committee Chairman.
In an interview with GMA News Online, Orbos said he respects others’ opinion on the issue but explained that the MMFF can’t only be done for artistic purposes since they also need to earn for their beneficiaries.
“Ang MMFF is not an ordinary festival compared to Cannes, or any festival outside. We have another mission, objective. Aside from pursuing artistic excellence, you're supposed to raise revenues for our sector, their sector indeed na kailangan bigyan ng benepisyo,” he said starting at the 8:20 mark.
Despite all this, “Citizen Jake” lead actor and real-life reporter Atom Araullo, who takes on the role of a 34-year-old journalist, hopes that their film can still make it to the MMFF.
“Citizen Jake” is created by award-winning director Mike de Leon, and also stars Cherie Gil, Dina Bonnevie, Luis Alandy, Gabby Eigenmann and Max Collins, to name a few.