The sad truth about the Christmas filmfest

December 28, 2018
Joel Lamangan
Joel Lamangan

“SANA naman, huwag lang komersyo ang kanilang isipin. Irespeto rin sana ng mga sinehan ang sining at industriya," Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2018 best director awardee, Joel Lamangan called out on certain sectors in the industry as he delivered his acceptance speech during the awarding ceremonies Thursday night at the Solaire Resorts Hotel and Casino.

His film entry, Rainbow’s Sunset won 11 awards, including best picture, best actress, best screenplay, best director, among others.

But sadly, the film is on the tail-end as far as box office returns is concerned.

Direk Joel, along with the film producer, Harlene Bautista, laments the fact that most theatre owners have pulled out the project which centers on the story of an octogenarian, played by Eddie Garcia, who has come out of the closet in his twilight years.

The story may draw interest from the LGBTQ community and its supporters, but they’re not enough to make it strong box office wise. While some people are saying the Filipino audience is already open to this cinema fare, the truth of the matter is viewers still shy away from this kind of material, unless they make it some kind of comedy. The gayness and flambouyance offered by some of the same fares in the past have what drew curiosity to make viewers flock inside the dark venue, but maybe not this kind. And it’s Christmas time when mostly everyone is trying to find something jolly and bright. Just stating a fact.

So most viewers especially children would pull some skirts to watch a non-sensical comedy, with a gay lead star who pretends to be a funny woman all along. We wonder if kids aren’t confused.

Honestly, we’d recommend Coco Martin and Vic Sotto’s Jack Em Popoy, even if they’re not totally credible. It has a fluid story to follow, and despite some over the top acting from the three main (including Maine Mendoza) characters, the visuals and the direction aren’t hard to convince the Cinema Evaluation Board to give it an A.

And most filmmakers (for the Christmas filmfest) have forgotten to even associate their stories with Christmas (even not as theme), unlike in the past when even the Shake, Rattle and Roll horror series have a scene or two depicting the season.

When it comes to box-office, it really depends on the choice of the majority. The judges’ choices in the awards night for this film festival simply don’t work as box-office bait anymore, especially that people have realized that some who wore the ‘cloak’ as film connoisseurs are actually persons from business and politics who want to gain premium points for their own individual interest.