Montano criticizes MMFF distribution system

Posted at 01/02/13 3:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran actor and director Cesar Montano has joined the chorus of critics in lambasting the current Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) set up of assigning theaters for entries in the annual film fest, saying it does not encourage new filmmakers.

 Actor Cesar Montano

Speaking to reporters before the MMFF awards night last week, Montano said he does not know how the current system of distribution actually works, but stressed that cinemas should be equally divided to be fair to all the entries.

“Ang alam ko po ay dapat equally divided ang mga sinehan sa mga kasali sa MMFF. It’s a big question in my mind dahil bakit hindi equally divided? Hindi ko po alam 'yan. Kailangan masagot,” he said.

“Hindi magandang ehemplo para doon sa mga maliliit na pelikula na gusto sumali sa MMFF and for all the mga baguhang filmmakers. Hindi magandang sign for them,” Montano added.

The 2012 MMFF Best Supporting Actor for his performance in "El Presidente" even hinted of corruption in the current system.

“[Hindi maganda na may katiwalian] since this is during Christmas, and bigayan, and we have to show love to one another. Kung mayroong hindi magandang katiwalian na nangyayari dito, it’s not good. It’s not good for everyone,” he said.

In an interview with ANC’s “Headstart” last Wednesday, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino explained some films are showing in more theaters than others because provincial theaters choose the films they want to show.

“Beyond Metro Manila, we allow the theater owners to decide kung ano 'yung pick nila. Sila ang nagde-decide. Otherwise they won't be joining the film fest. They were chosen by the theater owners,” he explained.

“Yung na-raffle natin, lock-in period 'yun for two weeks, but outside Metro Manila, for one week they can change,” Tolentino added.

Meanwhile, Montano praised actor-producer ER Ejercito for making historical movies such as “El Presidente.”

“Ang sa akin lang, I want to support the film and I’m happy that there is one producer katulad ni ER na gumagawa ng makasaysayang pelikula hindi para sa sarili niya kundi para sa bayan,” he said.

It was Ejercito who first raised the issue of "unfair" distribution of theaters during the MMFF.