Officials of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) committee took note on Tuesday that there will be no distinction between independent films and mainstream films at this year's movie festival.
"Sa rules wala nang distinction ng mainstream at independent films. It has to come with artistic merit and it has to come with a certain kind of popular appeal," said Rolando Tolentino of the MMFF Rules Committee in a press conference.
Tolentino, however, emphasized the need for independent film producers to have a "marketing plan" to sell their movies to the audience.
"Independent films have to cater to the audience na hindi pinoproblema dati ng independent filmmakers. Pero ngayon, if they want to participate in the MMFF, kailangan silang may marketing plan din," he said.
This was echoed by Noel Ferrer, a writer and multi-media practitioner.
"Last year we had really good quality films pero ang nangyari, the Execom [Executive Committee] had to help sell everyone kasi nga kapag tinitingnan namin 'yung plano para i-promote 'yung pelikula, 'yung iba wala na talagang resources to promote. We came to the rescue," Ferrer said.
"While this year, ang major consideration pa rin talaga is quality. Dito tinitingnan talaga paano bawat isang filmmaker, meron ding plano paano i-market 'yung pelikula kasi kung itatapon mo lang 'yan, kahit saang film fest... mahihirapan talaga tayo," Ferrer added.
Tolentino said that the objective of the MMFF is "to pursue both artistic excellence and audience appeal."
"Okay pa rin ang Vic Sotto, AiAi delas Alas film... pero kailangan quality films. It cannot be the same formula films na tried and tested. It has to be a kind of upgrade sa nagawa na nilang pelikula," Tolentino said.
"Kailangan may commercial viability. Kailangan siya ay may audience appeal at consequently may profitabilty potential. Kasi nga, kailangang i-harness 'yung viewership," he added.
He also cited the importance of movies that have "global appeal."
"The film should have a kind of interest na pwede siyang dalhin pa sa Filipino diaspora o sa iba pang markets sa ibang bansa o popular cinemas sa ibang bansa," Tolentino said.
Two ways to enter the 2017 MMFF
For this year's application for the film festival, applicants have two ways to submit their entries for full-length feature: script submission and finished film.
For the script submission, 12 copies of the script, a duly accomplished application form and other requirements must be submitted to the Metro Manila Film Festival Secretariat on or before June 15. The application fee is P30,000.
On the other hand, the deadline for submission of finished films, duly accomplished application form, and other requirements is on October 2. Early birds will pay P30,000.
The regular finished film submissions, moreover, will be until October 30 with a fee of P50,000.
The letter of intention to join the 2017 MMFF must be submitted on or before May 10. — BM, GMA News