MMFF for December is about to happen and they just announced the official 10 entries included in this season's festival. Noel Ferrer says "We're looking for more entries and it can be any genre, any format so we have more choices to be shown for the Filipino people." and that is exactly what they did as we saw the official entries announced.
MAGIKLAND by Brighlight Productions
Action packed fantasy adventure. They need to help each other and fix their complex lives. This is a phone based game wherein kids got to be top players and suddenly find themselves in the actual game. If you are fond of adventure, dragons, monsters, hack and slash, this is Magikland. This is partly produced by Direk Peque Gallaga(✝) and his team, and this is considered his last masterpiece. This directed by Christian Acuna. Miggs Cuaderno, Princess Aguilar, Elijah Alejo and Joshua Eugenio leads the cast. There are also big actors and actresses here including Cannes Best Actress Jaclyn Jose. This promotes empowerment for children, a good movie to show that they too can change destiny, the world around them. This is also a Christmas story.
Coming Home by Maverick Films
Included in the cast is Jinggoy Estrada, Sylvia Sanchez, Sylvia Sanchez, Martin Del Rosario, Vin Abrenica, Jake Ejercito, Smokey Manaloto, Edgar Allan Guzman, Shaira Diaz, Julian Estrada, Jana Agoncillo, Smokey Manaloto, Luis Hontiveros, Almira Muhlach, Chanel Morales, Samantha Lopez, introducing Ariella Arida. This is directed by Adolf Alix Jr.. He quips "It's nice to have a mix of actors, they worked to be able to make their characters fit the film. They interpreted it in interesting ways. Jinggoy was challenged as this was more of a drama piece and Ms. Sylvia was there to make it easy for him. This is apt for the pandemic, we were locked down for a couple of months shooting this and this reflects the Filipino family during Christmas." Ea Guzman says "This made me go back to zero because I have worked with real veterans in this film. We initially didn't talk to each other, and later on we got to talk over lunch and dinner. It was a surreal experience."
The Missing by Regal Entertainment
Set in Japan, this is a horror flick based on Japanese lore. Cast include Joseph Marco, Miles Ocampo and Ritz Azul. This is Directed by Easy Ferrer. Easy says "The Missing was shot in Saga Japan, a very old concept and when we were invited to shoot there we have had to incorporate characters that can do physical and internal horrors when they restored houses in Japan. Regal has done iconic horror films, I made sure this is different from what they have done. It's a J-Horror which has history and culture, Philippine sensibilities that meet in the middle. It's not traditional Filipino horror. It's an old concept, but I was invested in the Ampatuan massacare, things like that when I was conceptualizing the film. We fused this in a beautiful country. I was able to work with them before and the combination was not stressful, plus I knew their caliber, they prepared and they did this without me worrying about how they did it. It's a new flavor that has not been done in the Philippines, you will get to still understand it because there is Filipino flavor with it. I think they did it with real prep work, Ritz has PTSD, she had to research for that. Joseph was an antagonist and protagonist, he had different motivations. There is a thin line between the other personality.
Miles on the other hand has a different back story which you will see on the film." Ritz says "My character was pattered with my own mom who also has underwent deppression, and in this film this is not just horror for the actual location, but something internal. When we did the story conference of this, it had an element of sacrifice. This was shot November last year which is pre-pandemic, so glad to have had this be shown this December." Joseph says "I am so thankful to be part of this, my character was difficult because he had so many Japanese lines there and collaborating with the people plus the fight scenes made that experience unforgettable." Miles adds "Thank you for considering The Missing for MMFF!" and this was supposed to be a part of the Summer MMFF, but ended up in the December one because of the pandemic.
Tagpuan by Alternative Vision Cinema
This is shot in Hong Kong, three characters had their paths cross. Shaina Magdayao, Alfred Vargas, Iza Calzado. It's a very heavy drama. This is Directed by Mac Alejandre. Direk says "I am thankful that there are new platforms to release this other than theatrical ones because of the pandemic, this needs an audience. Tagpuan will now have that with the streaming audience, we are in the season where we need to say something and this calls for a love story that will traverse Binondo, Hong Kong and Chinatown. It's a very adult movie that tells a story of romance. The script gives a lot, denial of love, do you justify wrong things, second chances, true love, it is being tackled here. This also talks about immigrants, OFW's in Hong Kong, other forces that shape who you are and purposely shot in these places because these are melting pots like HK and New York, you cans still find silence in a place where they want to find happiness. This has emotional gravity, to make them feel more than what they feel. Binondo, New York and Hong Kong in a different light." Alfred Vargas who also produced this film says "We love films, we love the art, I love being an actor and a producer. We went through a lot to do this, and we are very happy and excited to be part of MMFF this December. This was written by Ricky Lee and I was able to work with two of the greatest actresses in the country." Iza adds "I'm very grateful to be part of this year's December MMFF, we were supposed to promote already but it sort of just happened that there was a pandemic. I realized that we have had so many projects together aside from impostora and engkantadya, all of those wherein we were in a generation 10 years ago. Now we have a more mature material, the skill of Direk Mac guiding us and this was made by sir Ricky Lee. This breathes life to the character of Agnes. This might not be experienced yet by young ones, but they will have a better understanding of it when they experience it later on with their lives." This will be streamed exclusively on Upstream.
Isa Pang Bahaghari by Heaven's Best Entertainment
Former seaman asks his gay best friend to help him reconnect with his past. Cast include Philip Salvador, Nora Aunor, Michael De Mesa, Joseph Marco, Zanjoe Marudo, Sanya Lopez, directed by Joel Lamangan. Superstar Nora Aunor plays a wife who didn't see his husband for 20 years, still loves him but finds it hard to forgive after almost not seeing him for 2 decades. Direk Joel says "This is not BL, but Tito Love. The process of finding love of one woman he loves, and the gay man he loved too. This is somewhat another line from Rainbow Sunset. Homosexuals can do true love." The movie has seasoned veteran artists and the formula is different. Direk added "This talks about family too, the Filipino family who experienced troubles of Mothers, Fathers, and they will identify with that. This also talks about importance of friendship, the importance of love so people will connect with the characters. The superstar Nora Aunor is not going to tarnish, she is like wine, she gets so good at her craft. Philip was under Lino Brocka and you will see how good they are as actors. They will also be showcasing a new generation of actors, an ensemble acting. This is interesting to have on the screen since this is a very powerful cast. I don't know if I'm going to be happy not seeing this in the usual theater, but I am looking forward to it. I hope we still go back to the dark corners of a movie house soon." Ms. Harlene Bautista says "We are so excited to see this be shown, we might have not been able to do it last year but now, you have the chance to see it on the December MMFF. This film is nicer to enjoy in a movie theater ambiance, but since this is digital, this would be good to be seen by the fans of the superstar globally without waiting for it on cable or other mediums. Everybody put in their best including writer Enrique Ramos." Sanya Lopez adds "We prepared for this because we got the chance to work with Ms. Nora and Direk Joel who are very serious about their craft. When I read the script, this really would break hearts. You will find how to forgive, how to love and how to accept."
Fernando Suarez, true to live story of a Catholic Priest who did miracles. He had issues with the church, the religious, this is directed by Joven Tan. Main character is John Arcilla. Direk says "We shot this one healing session before he passed, and they claim they have been healed. In this pandemic, our faith will save us. There are 10 entries and we have choices. Even after all the other entries, we need something that holds our faith dearly. This might be a different experience, but we have to be really safe in order to watch these entries. This is a huge thing that Upstream and MMFF is doing. John Arcilla adds "Heneral Luna was heavily promoted online, and it became a box office success in 2015. We now have a global audience, he has a lot of followers and I hope they come with us to see this film. This validates faith, we have hope, I believe this has significance even at these times. As an actor, it was easy in a subjective way because he has a backbone of being a real person. You have something to base your character in, his faith, his social and psychological ways in seeing life. It is easy to justify a fictional character, but this one you just have to act and put his essence in my ways. I didn't completely copy him, just his demeanor. This is produced by Edith Feder.
Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim by Cineko Productions
This is a fantasy, horror-comedy-adventure flick starring Vhong Navarro. It introduces Filipino folklore in a different light of a character that is pretty familiar to us since Mang Kepweng has been in the movies since olden times. This is directed by Topel Lee. He says "This is my first time working with them and surprisingly I felt a little sad to see the filming end because we were a happy bunch. Vhong is a very talented actor and he interjects stuff with his character. We collaborated with the comedians and we included these fun elements in this film. FumiYam was able to finish their scenes even if one of them had some issues in Japan. Ion was okay and he had Vhong and Ryan to make him a guinea pig. I wasn't able to find the first one, but our line producer was part of that film. The difference was just the twists of the story, it now has a lot of locations, set design and computer graphics added to this." Ritz Azul says "I was shocked that I got to be in two entries this year. It was a riot to film this, I needed to be serious for most of this movie but I wanted to have fun with them when they were in character. I play the queen of Encantadia who had to fight for the black bandana."
PAKBOYS Takusa by Viva
4 guys, already married, but still fancies women. Will they get in trouble? Well, their adventure starts as they meet women, and yes, once a playboy, always a playboy. Unfortunately, they will undergo an intervention. This film is directed by Al Tantay. This stars Janno Gibbs, Andrew E, Dennis Padilla and Jerald Napoles. June Rufino says "We had to work in the new normal and we are so glad to be part of the MMFF." Dennis says "We are excited, we need to make the Filipino audience laugh and for sure they will see that because we have a very naughty Director. The film is fun because we are inspired to work with the ladies too. The people at home who don't have anything to do, you have 1 hour and a half of fun with us." Direk Al adds "Our set is fun, we have already worked together, a serious film, and our intention is to lighten the mood. I'm glad to see there are several comedy films this season and we have a lot of people to entertain during the pandemic. The film will help. If you watch the film, it isn't that sexy, we stimulate the brain to make it look sexy. The artists are all conservative (he kids)."
The Boy Foretold by the Stars by Cleverminds Inc.
This is the BL film that I was waiting for. It has something to do with ones fortune, homosexuality, and how they become soulmates. This is directed by Dolly Dulu and produced by Jodi Sta. Maria. This is the first BL film to be included in the MMFF. Producer Derick Cabrido says "The material has promise, and the message is different when we got this sent for MMFF. Jodi is so nice doing this, she is very supportive of the material and she really likes the product. It was a very personal connection for her and Dolly to do this." Dolly Dulu adds "Getting in MMFF was a hope and we are so thankful we got in. I don't think there is a competition with other gay films, this is younger, and people can appreciate both films. Both have quality. Adrian and Keann has awesome chemistry. One comes from theater and the other comes from Commercials. Our priority was about how they did the characters, Adrian plays an effeminate character. Keann was a confused straight guy, and if you watch this you will see their chemistry on screen. When we did the previous project on iWant, I told her about this film, she really did it with us. She was the angel for this project. The peg is romcom, you have to require that, and we can't spoil things but you will see elements of it there. You have to watch it. They did it so nicely."
Adrian Lindayag says "Kian and I have worked together but when we were casted here, we had familiarity and comfortable even off screen." Kian adds "Yes it did affect our chemistry, Adrian was part of why I did my character efficiently. Throughout the story I will fall in love with him." They hope you see the film on December 25.
Fan Girl by Epic Media
Written and Directed by Direk Antonette Jadaone, she did this film and with Paolo Avelino. This tells a story of a fan girl, played by Charlie Dizon as she braves to meet her hero Paulo Avelino. This was done 4 years after being shown in Tokyo.
Paulo says "Actually I asked for the script, I think I was the last choice because this material was floating around. I fell in love with it, it talks about our current fandom culture, not just here but abroad. It is very Filipino, very crazy, like an obsession. I appreciate the reviews, the people behind the movie. It's a reason that affirms that my decision was the right one. For the first time, you will see a different Antonette Jadaone." Direk says "I needed an artist who understood the script. The actor needs to be a little smart because he needed to play his own character. His only question was who was the fan girl. Charlie was picked from among 180 girls. We needed to find a new face, one who didn't had a lead role yet. We had one person who played the role once but she backed out because of contracts. He wanted to tackle something that goes in fantasy and reality."
So make sure you get your apps downloaded as this will all be shown on the Upstream app on December 25 worldwide!