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How much did MMFF 2016 really make?

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JUST A THOUGHT: ‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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MMFF 2016 TOTAL INCOME: For some reason and contrary to tradition, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) executive committee has not released the official results of MMFF 2016.

A reliable insider source informed me the festival’s total gross across 10 days nationwide is close to 400 million pesos, less than half of 2015’s total gross.

Best Picture MMFF 2016

Best Picture MMFF 2016

In Metro Manila alone, the filmfest raked in 190 million pesos.

In 2015, according to the same source, the MMFF grossed 1.1 billion pesos.

The disparity in income is said to impact heavily on the financial share of the festival’s beneficiaries, among them Mowelfund. One of the filmfest’s primary goals is to provide assistance to poor workers in the local movie industry who make up the welfare foundation.

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FUTURE OF MMFF: The future of MMFF 2017 remains uncertain, considering the controversy it has spawned and the remarkable dip in its box office.

Will the executive committee maintain the high quality artistic standards set by MMFF 2016 at the end of the year? Or will they revert to the popular, commercial appeal of previous MMFF editions to ensure commercial success?

The controversy has grown far and wide that a series of senate inquiries are scheduled soon on the matter. I say let’s continue with a festival that features quality films with commercial appeal.

It can be done, certainly, with great creativity and commitment. Let that be a challenge to every filmmaker, indie or mainstream.

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CHINESE NEW YEAR HERE: How would you like your Chinese New Year celebrated? With some fireworks, a dash of cheer and good luck, why not?

We experienced Chinese New Year ahead of time at Oriental Palace in Quezon City last week  with an advanced serving of Cantonese dishes that comprise the restaurant’s new, enhanced festival menu.

The dishes, designed by Hong Kong-based chef Tsoi Chiu-Fai, formerly with Hong Kong Hilton and Mandarin Hong Kong, comes with best wishes written on the menu card much like they do it on fortune cookies.

Then again, I learned during lunch with partners Chim Namjildorj and Chris Chua that fortune cookies don’t exist in Chinese restaurants in the homeland. They were created by western businessmen cashing in on Chinese tradition towards prosperity and good luck.

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LINES OF BEST WISHES: For Steamed Lapu-Lapu, our lucky line was: May you always have more than enough.

For Peking Duck Skin with Wrapper: May you attain a high position.

Crispy Fried Pigeon: May your new year be bright as the rising sun.

Steamed Deep Sea Seabass: May you be filled with knowledge.

These lines of good fortune served as conversation pieces throughout lunch. Let me say here that my favorite was 3-Cup Chicken, a wonderful serving of diced chicken lavished with ginger and onion balls. It reminded me so of Philippine adobo.

Oriental Palace is celebrating the advent of the year of the Fire Rooster on the weekend of Jan. 27 and 28 with a new, flavorful menu.

Matteo Guidicelli and Alex Godinez

Matteo Guidicelli and Alex Godinez

FOR BETTER OR…? ‘Across the Crescent Moon,’ starring Matteo Guidicelli, Alex Godinez, Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong, opens Jan. 25. Will the Muslim-inspired action-drama tackling human trafficking in Mindanao have better chances outside MMFF?

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