Mauna si Spider-Man? MMFF producer appeals to Pinoy moviegoers to support local

Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 28 2021 02:26 AM

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ will be shown in Philippine cinemas on January 8, once the MMFF concludes. Sony Pictures/ MMFF
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ will be shown in Philippine cinemas on January 8, once the MMFF concludes. Sony Pictures/ MMFF

MANILA—A public appeal with the mention of the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man was met with loud applause at the awards venue for the 47th edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) on Monday.

Spider-Man wasn’t the rescuer sought in this case, but the Filipino moviegoers. Save local cinema, film producer Atty. Joji Alonso urged.

“Para po sa nagsasabi na, ‘Sana hindi na natuloy ang MMFF at mauna na po si Spider-Man,’ pakihintay na lang po sa January 8, please,” she said.

Alonso made the appeal as she accepted the trophy on behalf of the team behind “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon,” which won 2nd Best Picture.

“In the meantime, tangkilikin naman po natin ang pelikulang Pilipino,” she added, to loud applause at the Samsung Hall in Taguig City.

The 2021 iteration of the MMFF saw its return to physical cinemas, following the easing of lockdown measures which had shuttered mass-gathering venues for over a year.

Reports of low turnout of moviegoers on Christmas Day, when the 8 competing entries are traditionally released, have been attributed to different factors, from fear of exposure to COVID-19, ticket prices, to lack of awareness that cinemas have reopened.

Online, some have argued that if blockbuster titles — particularly the billion-dollar-making “Spider-Man: No Way Home” — had been released during the holidays like most of the world, cinemas would see long lines and packed screenings.

The Marvel flick was released as early as December 15 in other countries, but will only be released in the Philippines on January 8, once the MMFF concludes, as Alonso mentioned in her speech.

“Sobra-sobra po naming pinaghirapan lahat ang paggawa ng mga pelikulang ito. Sana naman po huwag niyo naman kaming pabayaan,” she said.

“This is for everybody. Paano na lang po tayo ‘pag wala nang gagawa ng pelikula? Please support Filipino films.”

Aside from 2nd Best Picture, the Yolanda-set “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon” won six other awards Monday — and those are aside from its trophy haul from international film festivals early this year.

Similarly, Best Picture winner “Big Night,” about a beautician accused of being a drug user, competed internationally prior to its Philippine release. It scored a total of eight trophies at the MMFF.

“Hindi biro gumawa ng pelikula ngayong panahon na ‘to,” said “Big Night” producer Perci Intalan in his speech accepting the Best Picture award.

“Sa mga kapawa namin producer, hindi talaga biro itong ginagawa natin. But, thank you, dahil magkakasama tayo dito, ginagahanan kami na magtuloy pa rin. Laban lang tayo nang laban.”

The MMFF committee similarly urged support for local cinema, with spokesperson Noel Ferrer saying that just resuming the annual event in physical cinemas this year is already an accomplishment.

“The fact na nakapag MMFF tayo despite the pandemic ay isang malaking achievement na at magandang unang hakbang sa pagbabalik ng kumpiyansa ng mga tao at producers na nandito tayo na nakasuporta sa industriyang naipatigil, naisantabi at hindi itinuring na ‘essential’ ng halos dalawang taon,” Ferrer said prior to the awards ceremony.

“Sa Hollywood ganito rin, hindi maiaalis ang takot at pangamba. Kahit saan na nag re-open ang sinehan ay ganito. The important thing is we took the challenge, and we really had to take that painful first step, because we really have to start somewhere.”