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November 10, 2022

‘Mamasapano’ producer slams early pullout of some MMFF movies

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio

The annual Metro Manila Film Festival has not officially started but this early, lawyer-producer Ferdinand Topacio slammed the continued system of early pullout of some MMFF movies from the line-up.

During the press conference for his official MMFF entry “Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told” held at Pandan Restaurant in Morato, Quezon City recently, Topacio criticized the “first-day last-day” system of the MMFF.

“Sana ayusin natin ang film festival natin with due respect to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Metro Manila Film Festival. Kasi kenkoy,” Topacio said.

“We have the talent, we have the people but we just don’t have the system,” he said. “Huwag sanang i-pullout. Give them a choice. ‘Yung Zurich film festival lahat pinapalabas, walang pinu-pullout. At saka hindi ba talaga ito puwedeng ma-subsidize? Hello!

“The problem is bakit laging nasa gross ang emphasis? Kung walo ang napili, ibig sabihin yan ang mga pinakamagaling. Pero after two days, bakit dalawa na lang? Parang kenkoy. Magagaling naman yung mga namamahala pero minsan may sablay. Sana palitan na yung first-day, last-day system. Then gawin nating international ang flavor.

“Pero bakit ganun pa rin ang rule natin? Kung ganun wala talagang mangyayari sa mga movies natin. The aim of the film festival is to showcase the best movies of a region to an international audience. Paano ka mag-iimbita kung pagdating nung mga inimbita mo, dalawa o tatlong movies na lang ang showing.

“Hindi naman kailangan ako pa ang magsabi eh. All they have to do is emulate yung mga film festivals abroad. Sa buong mundo, there are five well-known film festivals: Cannes, Venice, Berlinale, Sundance and Toronto. Yan ang big five. Tignan nyo lang ang style doon. Huwag na tignan yung gross kasi festival naman ito eh.

“Lahat ng genre ay may katuwang sa industriya. Pag festival, it should be a cut above para ma-showcase natin ang mga movies natin sa iba. Gusto ko sanang makita ang mga pelikula natin at par with the world kasi kaya naman natin eh.

Atty. Topacio (holding a microphone) with actor Paolo Gumabao (right)

“Bakit hindi tayo makasabay? Kasi nga yung governmental policy na pataasan ng gross. May powerplay ng major studios. Wag ganun. I-subsidize na sana ng government kapag festival. Saka na tayo mag-free market,” Topacio added.

Topacio recalled when he became an observer in film festivals in Switzerland and Spain where the movies or entries were not being pulled out early.

“Doon, pag sinabing festival, festival. Maraming movies at walang first-day last-day. Nakaschedule na ang showing for 20 days. Hindi na binabago yun dahil naka-schedule na yun. May manood man o wala, hindi babaguhin yun. Bakit? It’s because they are showcasing to the world yung movies mo,” he explained.

Topacio said that “Mamasapano” tells the tragic story of the 44 elite Special Action Force (SAF) troopers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who sacrificed their lives to neutralize international terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.

The film is based on the reports of the Board of Inquiry of the Philippines National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Senate committee in public order, and actual interviews and eyewitnesses.

Topacio is hopeful that the case of the Mamasapano victims will progress once the movie is shown.

“Ako po yung abogado ng mga magulang ng SAF 44. Hanggang ngayan po wala pa ring closure ang kaso ng SAF 44. If justice in the court is slow or elusive, baka sa pamamagitan ng pelikulang ito ay mabigtan ng katarungan ang SAF 44. Sabi nga eh ‘the dead cannot cry for justice. It’s time for the living to cry out for them.’ So tayong mga nabububuhay, yan ang ating tribute sa SAF 44,” he said.

In the movie, Edu Manzano stars as Gen. Benjamin Magalong. Other stars in the film are Paolo Gumabao, Aljur Abrenica, Allan Paule, Rey Abellana, Gerald Santos, Ritz Azul, Myrtle Sarrosa and more. Produced by Borracho Films, the movie is directed by Lester Dimaranan.

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