MMFF goes online

I HAVE always loved films. The joy in the communal experience of laughing, crying, getting shocked, feeling kilig and many more watching a movie in a dark theater is really something I have always enjoyed.

The recent pandemic has, of course, put this love on hold. Many predicted the demise of films but there have been outliers.  Last summer, Trolls World Tour was was the first mainstream movie that was supposed to have had a theatrical release but instead of pushing back its release, the film distributors took a bold move and went directly to streaming and video-on-demand. Did that audacious move work?

Yes! In three weeks of its digital release, Trolls World Tour has made more money for Universal Pictures than the original Trolls movie did during five months in theaters. So far, it has generated around $100 million in rental fees from nearly 5 million customers.

Truly, the future of cinema has arrived.

While I am glad some giant movie chains like SM has opened its theaters in select branches and even introduced a drive-in cinema, I am still afraid to go out and have accepted the fact that streaming is the way to go. Recently, I was able to stream a lot of films and while the experience may not be the same, pwedeng pwede na s’ya actually.

So it is no surprise that the biggest, most popular and longest-running film festival in the country, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is pushing through despite moviehouses remaining locked down until the end of the year.

Covid cannot dampen the Filipino Christmas spirit, and that is why the MMFF Executive Committee has decided to bring this holiday tradition to every Filipino home across the globe.

After careful and thorough deliberation on the five proposals for online streaming, the MMDA and MMFF Executive Committee have engaged the services of Globe and Upstream to be its partner.

With this partnership, the reach of the MMFF will be expanded to include Filipinos abroad who cannot go home for the holidays but can still have a Filipino Christmas complete by watching MMFF movies.

As the MMDA/MMFF Execom Chairman Danilo Lim said in a statement: “We enjoin the public to be one with the entertainment industry and the other stakeholders including the MMFF beneficiaries who have been hit hard by the pandemic to make this online MMFF 2020 a success.”

People can access the eight entries to this year’s MMFF in digital form through Upstream while in the comfort of their homes.

Meanwhile, Atty. Romando Artes, MMFF coexecutive chairman, said regular activities such as the Parade of Stars and the Awards Night ceremony will also be done virtually and streamed online in compliance with the health and safety protocols to avoid further Covid-19 transmission.

Ernest Cu of Globe Telecom said the undertaking aims to maintain the holiday Filipino tradition of watching movies as families and bring cheer to the Filipinos. It also intends to bring Filipino audiences to a worldwide audience.

Metro Manila has been under general community quarantine and restrictions on mass gatherings remain in place. While the government is gradually opening up the economy, Metro Manila mayors have recommended keeping the National Capital Region under the general community quarantine status until the end of the year.

So, continue to support the MMFF in the comfort of your own homes. This sure beats wading through heavy holiday traffic and lining up for hours for a ticket, right?

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