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MMFF chair assesses recent fest, more bullish on next one

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Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) chair Thomas ‘Tim’ Orbos admitted the recently concluded festival earned much less than in previous years but they’re not in anyway “ashamed” of it.

MMDA Chair Tim Orbos (mb.com.ph)

MMDA Chair Tim Orbos

“At this point in time ang estimate ay we’re hitting siguro half of what they earned in the previous year,” he said.

MMFF 2015 reportedly earned at least 1 billion. Last year’s festival committee said they put more value on quality over commercial viability in selecting the entries.

“But I believe there’s nothing to be ashamed of naman kasi sa akin alam natin ang pinasukan natin eh. It was a risk that we all took. Actually we were even expecting less,” Orbos added.

Despite the drastic drop in earnings, Orbos is adamant in continuing with the changes, saying it is “the right way.”

“Hindi pa nila (detractors) nakikita ’yung talagang pagbabago na nangyari pero siguro kasama ’yun para lumakas pa tayo. So okay lang ’yun, we moved forward.”

In any case, he admitted, “May problema tayo kung mangyari ulit ito next year (kasi) ibig sabihin problema na talaga ’yun.”

For now, they are looking at other platforms for the 2016 Magic 8 including screenings abroad, online or via cable.

“Hindi lang naman ’yung festival ang pwedeng source of revenues. Tinitingnan din namin ’yung mga new marketing properties, pwede ding merchandising,” he said.

“Definitely it is a challenge and I’m accepting it. Nandito na ang pagbabago. I provided for it and pushed for it and I will stand by it.”

Orbos assured all the earnings from the 2016 MMFF would reach its intended beneficiaries including the Optical Media Board, the Film Academy of the Philippines, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

As to the ongoing debate comparing indie with more commercial fare, he said, “Hindi ko nakikita kung ano ’yung deperensiya ng indie at what they call commercial film. In fact merong panukala si Sen. Sotto na mag-create ng separate festival for indies and I agree pero ang angal ko kasi diyan, sa amin sa MMFF there is no distinction between indie or commercial.

“If you would notice ang indie at commercial films, pareho ’yan kumikita. Mas matagal nga lang kumita ang indie pero kumikita. Why?
Probably because it has to rely on the story rather than on big name stars. They also have less marketing budget, so therefore, kumbaga sa kotse, parang ang indie it’s running on diesel, pang-matagalan.”

In the case of “Oro” and its producers, he said, “It’s a good lesson for us pero ’yung batas kasi dapat maamyendahan din kasi it does not cover ’yung depiction eh. It should be a good lesson for congress to amend and better the law.

“Ang sa amin naman, we should be more thorough (reviewing the entries). We relied so much on the word of the producers na I think it’s a good lesson for us na we should go one step beyond that.”

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