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Sunday, December 27, 2015

MMFF 2015: Honor Thy Father Best Picture DQ Scandal

Wazzup Pilipinas!

There was disturbing news lately that went viral on social media. And we're not talking about the tiket swapping issue between the Aldub movie "My Bebe Love" and Vice Ganda's "Beauty and the Bestie," this was about the disqualification  issue about the only sane movie from the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2015.

Apparently, it was disqualified from the Best Picture category due to its participation in an earlier showing of the film, specifically at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival.

The MMFF Executive Committee says that it violated an ordinance in the MMFF 2015.

The letter of Atty Emerson Carlos, Chairman of the MMFF, says there was a non-disclosure of their participation as the opening film of the Cinema One Originals Film Festival and thus the MMFF Executive Committee has disqualified Honor Thy Father from the Best Picture category.

However, Stacy Bascon, the Associate Producer of Honor Thy Father (Conman) from Reality entertainment, and Ronald Arguelles, Festival Director of the Cinema One Originals Festival, both sent a letter indicating that their film's participation as the opening movie had no ticket sales and was strictly by invitation only.

Below is a repost of the letter of Dondon Monteverde demanding an answer and an investigation. Plus other scans of the letters and emails sent to the MMFF organizers which will clearly shed a ight to this disappointing issue.

"When Reality Entertainment partnered with John Lloyd Cruz in producing “Honor Thy Father” we agreed to make a movie that would capture a small portion of the struggle of the Filipino as he tried to transcend the back-breaking realities and limitations of his life. We wanted to tell the story of Edgar, a Filipino who finally fights back. After putting up with so much oppression, he confronts the people that have made his life hell, people motivated by greed for money and lust for power.

Little did I know then that this same narrative would find its way to the movie’s own history.

Today I received a letter from the Metro Manila Film Festival informing me that their Executive Committee had disqualified our movie from the Best Picture Category of the 2015 MMFF Awards. The reason for this, the letter said, was our “non-disclosure” of our participation in the CinemaOne Originals Film Festival as the Opening Film.

Let me refute this allegation of non-disclosure. If you will recall, Honor Thy Father was a late addition to the MMFF 2015 lineup. It had been rejected by their selection committee when the lineup was announced in June. On October 23 our film was officially offered a slot after an entry pulled out. By then we had already accepted CinemaOne’s invitation to screen as Opening Film. We informed the MMFF Secretariat, both by email and by phone, about this. We complied with their request for a letter from CinemaOne head Ronald Arguelles attesting that the screening was non-revenue generating and by invitation only. We have all of this on record.

Secondly, each MMFF entry is allowed a maximum of two premieres. Our CinemaOne screening would be our premiere.

Let me repeat: we complied with all the MMFF’s requirements; we did not commit any non-disclosure of any kind; no MMFF rule was ever violated by Honor Thy Father.

I am questioning the reasons, the timing, and the means employed in enforcing this decision by the MMFF Executive Committee. Where is due process in all of this? We were merely informed of their decision, not given any opportunity to air our side. They sent the letter today. The awarding ceremony is tomorrow. Are they merely being good scouts and sticklers for the rules, even when no rule was broken? Or is there some other reason? Why disqualify the movie only from the Best Picture category and not all categories? Whose interests are being protected by this last-minute decision?

Together with my director Erik Matti, co-executive producer and actor John Lloyd Cruz, and everyone behind Honor Thy Father, I demand answers. We demand an investigation. But if no one would care or bother to investigate, then we simply wish that the moviegoers, the Filipino people would start to question and be more critical of what, year in and year out, is passed off to them as good and true.

They can have their Best Picture and all the other awards. We just want to keep making movies that people will care about, MMFF or no MMFF.

Today is a sad day for the industry I was born into and love dearly. But it doesn’t have to stay this way.

Let’s do something about it. Let’s end the silence.

Dondon Monteverde
Reality Entertainment Inc."

From the letters presented here, it seems there would be a reinstatement to again include the John Lloyd Cruz movie in the Best Picture category. For obvious reasons aside form being the only movie that really has a story that's worthy to be called a Best Picture. None of the remaining 7 movies are of the same level as Honor Thy Father. They all pale in comparison with it.

If I were the MMFF Executive Committee, I would immediately take action before the netizens get furious with this DQ issue.

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