‘Mano Po 7’ director rues MMFF snub, but says their ‘ultimate goal is to make a good film’

In Photo: Mano Po 7: Chinoy stars Richard Yap, Jean Garcia, Enchong Dee and Janella Salvador. Some scenes of the movie from the established film franchise were shot in Taiwan.

DIRECTOR Ian Lorenos admitted he was saddened his film Mano Po 7: Chinoy was among the cuts from this year’s revamped Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). However, he maintained all is not lost for the latest instalment in the 14-year-old film franchise.

“More on panghihinayang,” Lorenos said at the movie’s recent press conference on how he felt about being snubbed from the annual filmfest. “Ginawa namin ’yung best namin para ma-appreciate ito ng audience. Pero ang ultimate goal namin talaga is to make a good film—something that when people watch it, they will learn something.”

The movie is now slated for a December 14 opening, just 10 days before the MMFF entries make their premiere on Christmas Day. “We just have to make do our best para gawing blockbuster pa rin,” Lorenos added.

It was announced that this year’s MMFF lineup will be comprised of mostly indie films, as the screening committee shunned out festival fixtures, such as Mano Po and entries that star Vice Ganda and Vic Sotto. In light of the decision, MMFF 2016 Screening Committee Chairman Dr. Nicanor Tiongson said, “Let us not dumb down the audience.”

Regal Entertainment Inc. founder Lily Monteverde confessed that she cried after learning her movie was left out of the festival, and called for a change in the system next year. “The poor people from the classes C, D, E, once they get their [Christmas] bonus, they’ll bring their whole family to the movies. Nanghihinayang ako sa mga bata.”

The producer added she’s not against indie films, as she claimed to be one of the original supporters of the genre, but ruled the Christmas season is not the time for it. “There’s a time for indie movies, but not the Christmas season. Christmas is for the family.”

Mano Po 7: Chinoy tells the story of a Chinese-Filipino family starring Richard Yap as a business tycoon who struggles to allot time for his family. Jean Garcia plays the role of his cheating wife, while Enchong Dee and Janella Salvador suit-up as their children. Jake Cuenca, Jessy Mendiola, Mario Mortel, Rebecca Chuaunsu and Eric Quizon are also part of the ensemble.

All of the cast members are new to the Mano Po franchise, except for Quizon, who appeared on the first one in 2002 and Chuaunsu, who had a minimal role in Mano Po 3.

According to the movie’s headliner Yap, “It’s such an honor to be part of Regal. It’s my first time with them and with Mano Po.” Yap is the first male lead of the franchise that previously featured showbiz titans Sharon Cuneta, Vilma Santos and Maricel Soriano.

The movie, which features scenes shot in Taiwan, is also a first for Lorenos, as it marks his mainstream directorial debut. He has done several indie projects that include The Leaving and Alagwa, which netted LJ Reyes and Jericho Rosales acting recognitions, respectively.

According to Regal Entertainment Inc. COO Roselle Monteverde, she chose Lorenos because she’s open to “new directors, new ideas and new techniques.” “I’ve seen his work, plus, because he’s Chinese, I felt he could deliver more the sensitivity of the Chinese characters in the movie.”

Mano Po 7: Chinoy is the seventh instalment in Regal Entertainment Inc.’s 14-year-old film franchise, and comes six years after 2009’s Mano Po 6: A Mother’s Tale.

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