Film critic Philbert Dy says he’s skipping this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival 

Poster for MMFF 2018 entry ‘Fantastica.’ (Photo: ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc. Facebook page)
Poster for MMFF 2018 entry ‘Fantastica.’ (Photo: ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc. Facebook page)

This year’s Metro Manila Manila Film Festival (MMFF) started yesterday but at least one well-known Filipino film critic doesn’t plan on catching any of this year’s entries.

In a Twitter thread posted on Sunday, top film critic Philbert Dy explained his decision to skip the festival, saying that it isn’t an “act of defiance” but “an admission of defeat.”

The MMFF is an annual film festival organized by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. Although it’s arguably the biggest film festival in the country and rakes in millions in the box office every year, it’s been criticized for prioritizing sub-par movies from mainstream studios that pander to the tastes of the masses.

Dy first said in his thread that he actually used to defend the MMFF.

“Through most of my career as a film critic, I found myself in the odd position of defending the MMFF. A lot of my readers dismissed the festival offhand, thinking nothing good could come of it. But I thought different,” he tweeted.

“Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but I figured that just having that many Filipino films in cinemas meant that something interesting had to sneak through. I assumed that the festival was making a good faith effort to balance things, at least,” he continued.

During the MMFF, which always starts on Christmas Day, all cinemas in the metro are required to only screen films from the festival. Many of the eight full-length features being showcased this year are from big studios.

Dy then recalled how he was invited to join the festival’s selection committee in 2015, which was when he learned that the MMFF will not “get better.”

“There was no way the MMFF was going to get better, because the people who control it don’t care,” he said.

“They don’t think that Filipino audiences deserve anything better than the same formulaic stuff year after year,” Dy wrote.

He also alleged that the festival’s organizers avoid smaller films.

Dy said that this experience “destroyed” him.

He said he again got excited about the festival in 2016, the year of the event’s infamous revamp.

That year, the line-up wasn’t filled with overdone franchises and instead had films from independent companies. There was even an animated feature and a documentary.

However, the MMFF selection committee that year was criticized for allegedly snubbing mainstream movies.

This, it turns out, ended up being the last straw for Dy.

“But the same people who got thrown out the year prior sabotaged the whole thing. They took control of the narrative and made the festival out to be a failure, even though the numbers don’t bear that out,” he wrote.

“Last year, things were pretty much back to the way they were. And sure, on paper it reads like some sort of compromise was struck. But no, not really. We tried to move forward, but the powers-that-be dragged us back to the start,” he continued.

In the end, Dy said that he’s skipping this year’s festival because he feels “defeated.”

“And now we have this year. I look at this lineup, and I just feel defeated. That’s it, really. My skipping the MMFF isn’t an act of defiance. It’s an admission of defeat. They won, I lost. I just don’t think it’s going to get any better anymore. There’s nothing else to do,” he wrote.

Dy ends his thread by asking his followers to let him know if they end up liking any of the showcased films.

“Anyway, if you do go out and see the MMFF films, I genuinely hope you find something you love. Do tell me if you do. Happy holidays, everyone,” he said.

Dy’s first tweet had close to 7,000 likes, 3,000 retweets, and 59 replies as of this article’s posting.

The thread was also shared by Facebook user Goldmon Iporac on Monday and now has 1,156 shares, more than 933 reactions, and 64 comments on the social media platform.

Are you planning to watch this year’s MMFF films? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.

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