MANILA -- The campaign to persuade theater owners to keep screening the entries to this year's Metro Manila Film Festival past the law-mandated 10 days has received the backing of Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson Liza Dino.
On her Facebook account, Diño shared a statement from the MMFF executive committee, which called on theater owners to have the festival run until January 7, four days past the law-mandated schedule.
The appeal pointed out the "overwhelmingly positive reviews from moviegoers" regarding the entries.
The brief statement added that this translated to "long queues at the cineplexes and led to full-house screenings punctuated by heartfelt applause from the audience."
"The Filipino moviegoers have spoken, and their passion for cinema and for good stories told well has made all the difference," MMFF officials wrote. "We therefore make this appeal to our partners, the theater owners, to celebrate this resounding success with us by allowing the extension of the duration of the festival by four days, so that it completes a 14-day run that will end on January 7, 2017."
Traditionally, the MMFF runs for two weeks. For this edition of the all-Filipino film festival, however, theater owners, according to several MMFF officials, were wary of doing the same as the entries are comprised of mostly independently produced films, which have not been traditionally huge box-office draws.
Due to this, theater owners have drawn many criticisms online, including some that claimed that they have not been fairly allocating sufficient cinemas to the official entries, opting for more profitable movies that are not part of the so-called "Magic 8."
But Diño was quick to defend the theater owners, saying that they have been "very open and cooperative." She said: "So please let's not be too hard on them. May mga films lang talaga na sobrang baba na ng sales, kaya no choice but for them to change into a film na wala pa sa line up nila."
According to the MMFF, the top grossing entries of this year's festival based on ticket sales on the first two days are (in no particular order): "Die Beautiful," "Vince & Kath & James," "Seklusyon," and " 'Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough."
The other entries are "Kabisera," "Sunday Beauty Queen," "Saving Sally," and "Oro."