METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Acting Chairman Atty. Don Artes believes that Filipino-made films can make it abroad and be watched by an international audience if given enough exposure.
Artes made the statement during the pre-launch press conference of the first-ever Manila International Film Festival (MIFF) in Los Angeles, California.
“We believe in the talent of our filmmakers and we know that our local film industry just needs exposure and more opportunities to showcase them. This is the primary reason why we are expanding the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) to show these films not just in local cinemas but also to the international audience,” he said.
Artes, who is also the MMFF overall chairman, said that the MIFF, which will have its premiere November 2, is the first step towards recognition of Philippine movies and talent.
Three Filipino films that were part of the inaugural Summer Metro Manila Film Festival this year will take the spotlight in the first-ever MIFF.
“We want the MIFF to be part of the Christmas tradition of Filipinos living abroad,” he added.
Artes is also hopeful that through the MIFF, the country can get a local film to vie for a nomination at the Academy Awards or “Oscars,” presented every year in the US recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements in the United States and across the globe.
The three films that are part of the MIFF are “About Us But Not About Us,” which stars Romnick Sarmenta, who was adjudged Summer MMFF Best Actor, and Elijah Canlas. The movie, directed by acclaimed writer and director Jun Lana, also bagged the Summer MMFF 2023 Best Picture award.
There’s also “Here Comes The Groom” starring Enchong Dee, Miles Ocampo, and Kaladkaren, and directed by Chris Martinez, and “Love You Long Time” starring Carlo Aquino and Eisel Serrano, and directed by JP Habac.
The three movies’ directors, actors, and actresses all expressed their gratitude for giving them a platform to tell Filipino stories through movies, which can be enjoyed by Filipinos and other moviegoers alike.
“It is in the way we tell our stories that we educate people of who we are and that in itself is what makes us unique and worthy of seeing,” says Sarmenta, who was also present at the launch.
For the local filmmaking industry, it’s a bounce back from the effects of the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic for the past over three years.
Also set to be screened in LA from January 30 to February 2, 2024 are the ten official entries of the 49th edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival.