MANILA – “Citizen Jake” will no longer join this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
Acclaimed director Mike de Leon made the announcement himself through a statement posted in the movie’s official Facebook page.
“Ever since the anomalous selection process that occurred months ago that resulted in 4 films being selected based on scripts, I realized that any reforms well-intentioned filmmakers may clamor for are only doomed to failure,” he said.
He added: “Corruption has returned in full force to this festival that purports to make children happy during the holiday season, a euphemism for profit and greed.”
While acknowledging that “Citizen Jake” is far from perfect, de Leon called it "a good and honest film" that should be seen by moviegoers in its original version without cuts and compromise.
“My film may be fiction but it is based on truths we ignore at our own risk,” he said.
He then appealed to moviegoers to support “Citizen Jake.”
“Citizen Jake” stars Atom Araullo, who plays the enigmatic lead character Jake Herrera, a journalist who appears to hold a vile perception towards local politics.
Joining Araullo in the film is a star-studded cast that includes Cherie Gil, Dina Bonnevie, Gabby Eigenmann, Luis Alandy, Max Collins, Teroy Guzman, and Nonie Buencamino.
"Citizen Jake" is also the comeback film of de Leon. This is his first movie in 17 years.
Based on script submissions, the MMFF Executive Committee announced the first half of the so-called "Magic 8" back in July.
It includes Coco Martin's adaptation of "Ang Panday," and Star Cinema's superhero flick "The Revengers," which stars Vice Ganda, Daniel Padilla, and Pia Wurtzbach.
Also part of the "Magic 8" are "Almost is Not Enough" directed by Dan Villegas and starring Jennylyn Mercado and Jericho Rosales; and Antonio Reyes' "Love Traps #FamilyGoals" top-billed by Vic Sotto and Dawn Zulueta.
The other four, which will be picked from finished film submissions, will be announced at a later date.
The executive committee said that the new rule in choosing entries is in pursuit of "both artistic excellence and audience appeal that can equate to more benefits to its target industry beneficiaries."
In July, MMFF executive committee members Ricky Lee, Rolando Tolentino and Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala resigned from their posts after expressing their disappointment that this year's festival "took a different direction, by putting too much emphasis on commerce over art."