Director pleads as theaters pull out 'Thy Womb'
| 12/27/2012 5:27 PM
Nora Aunor-starrer deserves full run, says filmmaker
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- The Cannes award-winning director of the internationally acclaimed film "Thy Womb" is appealing to Filipino audiences to support the film, a day after it ranked last in the list of the highest-earning film entries to the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival.
In a text message sent to members of the press, director Brillante Mendoza reported that theaters are planning to pull out "Thy Womb" because "[there is] no audience."
"Please watch, support and endorse 'Thy Womb'... before it's too late," said Mendoza, who was recently recognized by the 6th Asia Pacific Screen Awards with the Achievement in Directing for the Nora Aunor-starrer.
In an interview with radio dzMM on Thursday, Mendoza said he only hopes the Tawi-Tawi-set film would have a full run. "Hindi kami nakikipag-compete, hindi [kailangan] maging No. 1," he said.
"Thy Womb," along with seven other entries to the annual MMFF, opened in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day. The film festival runs until January 8, 2013.
"Actually ang point lang naman natin dito, sana huwag matanggal 'yung pelikula, na ma-sustain siya hanggang sa matapos 'yung festival," he said.
"Kasi syempre nagbabawas ng sinehan kaya kokonti ang nanonood, kaya nananawagan din ako sa ating mga kababayan natin na sana suportahan ang pelikula," Mendoza added.
The "Captive" director also appealed to the film fest organizers, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), to extend their authority to ensure the full run of "Thy Womb" in theaters.
"Sa namumuno ng festival, [umaapela kami] na bigyan naman kami ng pagkakataon hanggang sa matapos ang pelikula na maipalabas ang pelikula, na huwag naman tanggalin," Mendoza said.
According to MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino, MMFF requires participating theaters in Metro Manila to give equal screening opportunities to all film entries at the start of the film fest. The number of screenings per film, however, may be subject to "sliding" or adjustment based on the earnings of each movie.
Tolentino, in an earlier interview, also said provincial theaters are not within the jurisdiction of the MMFF. Thus, equal screening opportunities for the film entries may not be ensured at opening day and in subsequent screenings.
In his dzMM interview on Friday, Mendoza said "Thy Womb" opened with 44 theaters but this number has dwindled to 27 cinemas, as of Thursday.
After initially failing to earn a slot in the local film fest, "Thy Womb" went on to reap recognition from international award-giving bodies, including the Toronto International Film Festival and its counterpart in Venice, Italy.
Although the film is widely expected to reap even more awards at the MMFF, it has had relatively poor box-office performance as of its first-day screening in the Philippines.
"Thy Womb" only grossed P908,859.00 on Christmas Day from its Metro Manila screenings, according to data based on reports from participating theaters.
Star Cinema's "Sisterakas" topped the list with a nationwide single-day gross of P39,194,312.65.
Due to its poor box-office performance so far, "Thy Womb" reportedly now has limited screenings in a number of theaters in Metro Manila.
Responding to some participating theaters' decision to "pull out" the film, filmmaker Amable "Tikoy" Aguiluz took to social networking site Facebook to call for support behind "Thy Womb."
"To all lovers of Filipino cinema, occupy Meralco Theater tonight and demand the return of 'Thy Womb' to the theaters! This will be a test for all Filipinos who value good cinema, ones we will be proud of," said Aguiluz, who founded the Cinemanila International Film Festival.
The awards night of the 38th MMFF will be held on Thursday at the Meralco Theater in Ortigas.
"This is a festival and the film deserves a full run," Aguiluz added. "The box-office should be irrelevant. The MMFF is our trade-off to the absence of the quota system."
"Let the MMFF show its balls and stop the theaters from pulling out Thy Womb.' Do not like this. [Aksyon] tayong lahat," he said.