MANILA -- Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson Liza Diño on Monday assured that she will stay on and continue serving the movie industry after the resignation of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) executive committee members Roland Tolentino, Kara Alikpala and Ricky Lee.
Diño said she had been talking to Lee, Alikpala and Tolentino before they resigned and is "aware of how conflicted they have been feeling about the opposing views among the committee members."
"As artists, we operate differently especially kung passion at creativity ang tanging puhunan at pinaghuhugutan. But there are things that are beyond our control, especially in a committee of 24 members na may kani-kanyang pinanggagalingan. Since execom is a collegial body, majority wins and that's what was followed," Diño wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.
"I know it's always going to be a question of integrity so for that, I salute sir Ricky, sir Roland and Miss Kara," Diño said.
"But this is bigger than myself. As head, I have a duty to serve the entire industry. Hindi natin puwedeng idamay ang mga pelikulang nakasali. At the end of the day, pelikulang Pilipino pa rin ang kalahok dito."
Lee, Tolentino and Alikpala resigned their positions last Friday, on the same day that the first four entries for this year were announced based on script submissions.
Included in the so-called "Magic 8" were 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 making the cut 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 entries, 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."
Lee, an award-winning scriptwriter and book author, explained that he only agreed to join the MMFF Executive Committee "kung ipagpapatuloy nito ang nasimulan nang reforms ng 2016.”
But in a statement on Sunday, he admitted he doesn’t see this happening.
“Sa nagiging takbo ng mga pangyayari ngayon ay mukhang malabo na iyong mangyari. Kaya wala na ring dahilan para mag-stay pa ako,” he said.
Diño admitted that she herself is "not happy with how MMFF is shaping up this year."
"But I do understand where each sector is coming from," she said. "Filmmaking is a business as much as it is an art. The hardest part is to find the balance so we can serve both of its purpose. Last year, nagtagumpay ang MMFF dahil nakapagbigay tayo ng lineup ng mga pelikulang kakaiba sa karaniwang panlasa ng mga manonood. Artistically, it was a big achievement for Philippine cinema," she added.
Last year's MMFF featured mostly independently produced films with the documentary "Sunday Beauty Queen" about overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, taking the best picture prize.
"But we have to consider that unfortunately, the numbers didn't support that," Diño said, noting that the estimated P400 million in box-office earnings generated by the 2016 MMFF is "not enough to sustain" the industry.
"In a country where we only have an annual average of 20% audience viewership, they need that Christmas revenue in order to recoup their losses. Mahalaga ang audience turnout when we talk about the business side and a P1-billion loss is no joke kahit saang sektor," she said.
Diño promised that for this year, the MMFF will try to "marry the artistic success of 2016 and commercial successes of the past provided a huge promise of creating a more sustainable model without losing the reforms that were introduced last year."