“It’s very obvious that they just discriminated against mainstream films,” she says. “I have nothing against indie films and I admit that mainstream films need to improve, but some of the indie films they made, matagal nang tapos, wala lang makuhang playdate. At hindi rin naman lahat, of real quality. As a result, isang choice nila, ni hindi nakakuha ng any grade from the Cinema Evaluation Board. Buti pa yung ibang ni-reject nila, nakakuha ng B. May naging controversial pa dahil pinalampas nila yung eksena where an animal was killed.”
She’s concerned local films might lose the Christmas playdate. “Ang tagal naming ipinaglaban ang playdate na yan kasi before, puro big Hollywood movies ang pinalalabas diyan. Sa ngayon, theatre owners are disgruntled because they lost a lot of money in the last filmfest. They spent billions to digitized their theaters, so how can you deprive them of movies that will make money. Like I always say, this is a business, kaya nga tinawag na film industry, because it gives jobs to a lot of people.
Ngayon, kung mawawala yung na-establish nating habit ng local viewers of watching big local films during the Christmas holiday, I wouldn’t be surprised if theater owners would revert to showing Hollywood films kapag Pasko, na mas maraming bata talaga ang nanonood ng sine. E, sa last filmfest, wala sila kahit isang movie for kids. Do you know how much the last filmfest really earned? Only P373 million, compared to the P1 billion plus earned in 2014 and 2015. During those festivals, we were able to give as much as P9 million to the beneficiaries na umaasa ng pondo from the proceeds of the filmfest, including the Mowelfund, Film Academy, Optical Media Board, Film Development Council, Anti-Piracy Council. Nakapagbigay pa kami ng donation sa Tacloban victims. E, ngayon, anong makukuha nila?”
Someone says that these agencies complain they don’t really get anything from the filmfest. “Ay, hindi naman totoo yan. Paninira na yan. Iharap mo sa’kin kung sino ang nagsabi niyan. Parang yung nagsasabing hindi sila gumagawa ng pelikula para kumita kundi for cultural upliftment lang. Sige nga, magharap ka sa’kin ng sinumang producer na magsasabing gumagawa sila ng movie para malugi.”
What does she think will happen in the 2017 filmfest? “I don’t really know. But ang gusto ko, mabalik yung commercial viability ng festival during the holiday season. Kasi kung hindi, I’m afraid the theater owners will demand na Hollywood releases na lang ang ipalabas nila.”