MANILA - It's that time of the year again when international films take a backseat, and local films steal the spotlight.
The main competition of the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival will open on December 25 and will run until the first week of January 2014.
This year promises to bring something new to the table, with regular entries like "Enteng Kabisote," "Panday," and "Shake, Rattle & Roll," opting to bow out of this year's race.
Despite the lack of the film sequels, the festival still features the same level of star power, with staples Kris Aquino, Vic Sotto, Vice Ganda, and ER Ejercito topbilling entries anew.
Comedy remains to be the most represented genre, followed by the rising popularity of biopics.
The lack of a romance- and drama-themed features were glaring in this year's lineup. Instead, pulsating action and laughs are at the ready to entertain Filipinos after the recent calamities.
The Metro Manila Film Festival awards night will be on December 27 at the Meralco Theater Pasig City.
To help moviegoers decide on which movies to see this year, here's a look at the eight main entries vying for the number one spot in the box-office this holiday season:
Directed by Joyce Bernal
Produced by Viva Entertainment
Starring Robin Padilla
Also starring Michael de Mesa, Alden Richards, Bela Padilla, Mylene Dizon, Carla Humphries, Pen Medina and Joem Bascon
The action-packed thriller "10,000 Hours" follows the life of Senator Gabriel Alcaraz (Padilla), a man who has "lived by the law and for the law, but betrayed by it." The movie was inspired by events involving former Senator Ping Lacson three years ago, when he went into hiding after an arrest warrant was issued against him in connection to the November 2000 murders of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.
Boy Golden: Shoot to Kill
Directed by Chito Rono
Produced by VIVA Entertainment
Starring ER Ejercito and KC Concepcion
Also starring John Estrada, Eddie Garcia, Leo Martinez, Gloria Sevilla, Tonton Gutierrez, Baron Geisler and Joem Bascon
Set in the 1960s, the action movie is based on the life of a notorious Manila gangster, Arturo "Boy Golden" Porcuna (Ejercito). The movie was earlier excluded from the MMFF this year due to excessive violence, but was later reconsidered after the film "My Super Kap" starring Senator Bong Revilla withdrew.
Directed by Eliza Cornejo
Produced by iAct Productions
Starring Sef Cadayona and Yassi Pressman
Also starring Alma Concepcion, Mayton Eugenio, Alireza Libre, Pia Pilapil, Brylle Mondejar, Arnold Reyes, and William Angeles
The hip-hop dance musical pays tribute to the late OPM icon Francis Magalona, and shows the ups and downs in the life of a street dancer. It follows the story of a poor boy Lando (Cadayona) and a rich girl (Pressman), who meets in an audition for an international dance event. It also features performances from internationally-acclaimed dance groups, The Philippines All Stars and the UP Streetdance Club.
Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel
Directed and written by Chris Martinez
Produced by MJM Productions and Quantum Films
Starring Eugene Domingo and Sam Milby
Also starring Ariel Ureta, Miriam Quiambao, Moi Bien, Joel Torre, and Angel Aquino
The James Bond-esque comedy film is set before the events of "Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme," the first movie in the series, wherein the twins are seen disputing the ownership of the family corporation. The movie promises to be "mas masaya, mas madaming paandar at mas pinabongga!" Domingo also shared that she got her "best kiss" ever from co-star Milby.
Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy
Directed by Wenn V. Deramas
Produced by Star Cinema and Viva Films
Starring Vice Ganda, Maricel Soriano and Joey Marquez
Also starring Xyriel Manabat, JM Ibanez, Rhed Bustamante, Kiray Celis, Cristine Reyes, JC de Vera, Ejay Falcon and Ruffa Gutierrez
The comedy film tells the story of quadruplets of both sexes and different sexual orientations separated as infants. In the film, Vice Ganda will be portraying both a gay man and a lesbian in the care of their mother (Soriano), as well as a straight man and woman in the care of their father (Marquez). Hilarity ensues when all four reunites in a shopping mall mishap.
My Little Bossings
Directed by Marlon Rivera and written by Bibeth Orteza
Produced by OctoArts Films, M-Zet Productions, APT Entertainment, Kris Aquino Productions
Starring Kris Aquino, Vic Sotto, Ryzza Mae Dizon, and James "Bimby" Aquino-Yap
Also starring Jaclyn Jose, Aiza Seguerra, Jose Manalo, Paolo Ballesteros, Barbie Forteza, Neil Coleta, Neil Ryan Sese, Erika Padilla, and Nico Antonio
The comedy film follows the story of what happens when a rich boy Justin (Aquino-Yap), due to threats to his mother's (Aquino) life, is forced to live with Torky (Sotto) and a street child named Ching (Dizon). The movie kicks off when circumstances pushes the contrasting child stars to live under one roof. The movie also marks the movie debut of Aquino's son, Bimby.
Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir
Directed and written by Francis O. Villacorta
Produced by HPI Synergy Group in association with Wings Entertainment
Starring Rocco Nacino, Christian Vazquez
Also starring Christian Vazquez, Jestoni Alarcon, Ryan Eigenmann, Robert Correa, Victor Basa and Mercedes Cabral
The historical biopic film centers on the life of the young FIlipino Pedro Calungsod (Nacino), who joined the missionary Fr. Diego San Vitores (Christian Vasquez) in his mission to Guam (1668). It focues on how the Filipino saint changed the natives of Marianas Islands, how he fought for his faith, and how it led to his death.
Pagpag: Siyam na Buhay
Directed by Frasco Mortiz
Produced by Star Cinema and Regal Films
Starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla
Also starring Shaina Magdayao, Paulo Avelino, Miles Ocampo, Matet de Leon, Janus del Prado
"Pagpag: Siyan na Buhay" revolves around a group of teenagers and the consequences they face as they ignore the Filipino superstition of "shaking off" evil spirits after visiting a wake. The film marks only the second time the "Got To Believe" stars will lead a movie. Director Frasco Mortiz said that fans can expect moments of horror, comedy and a little bit of romance between the two stars.