It is October, the tenth month of the year 2021. And Filipinos still cannot go to cinemas to watch a newly-premiered movie. This has been especially debilitating for followers of foreign franchises like the MCU, which released two movies already. True, there is the streaming option, and in fact some local and especially indie productions have resorted to putting their content on digital platforms. This was also the path taken by the Metro Manila Film Festival last year. Apparently the virtual edition was deemed wanting by the MMFF committee that they are gathering support to make the 2021 version live.
Inquirer.net reports that the MMFF organizers are pondering the possibility of holding an in-theater Metro Manila Film Festival 2021 throughout the country this coming December. The bombshell was dropped by Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Rachel Arenas. Arenas cited the minimal revenue generated by the online-only MMFF 2020, much to the chagrin of the Philippine entertainment industry that has been laid low by the pandemic. As COVID-19 goes into its second year of enforcing the new normal on society, showbiz leaders are proposing a daring possibility of reopening the cinemas for the festival, for the benefit of movie-starved audiences who probably do not have streaming access.
According to Arenas, movie studios want theaters to screen the films they make so that these businesses can recoup operational losses due to the long-lasting pandemic. In addition, the public that has been sapped by COVID restrictions could be reinvigorated by a cinematic screening. In a recent budget hearing for the MMFF Sen. Grace Poe, who sat as chair, put the question of reasonable max safe capacity for theatergoers to the MTRCB. Depending on whether the IATF could accept the seating cap estimate and possible equipment cinemas need to enforce COVID safety, it may be a slim possibility that a live Film Fest could be held during this year’s Holidays. The deliberations are still ongoing.
Image from The Summer Express