Four years in film school and this thought will come to mind: did I just witness history? Maybe that’s not the case for every film student. Maybe luck has something to do with it, or maybe it’s just the timing. During our lectures with the veteran thespian Sir Bernardo Bernardo (Manila By Night, Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis), he said that this might be the new golden age of Philippine Cinema. This was when he was fresh from Berlin with Lav Diaz. Hele had just won the Silver Bear. That Hele buzz could’ve fueled him to make his pronouncement. But he’s not wrong. The lineup of MMFF is solid proof of that.
The first words that came out of my mouth, and I think the whole nation, was: “T—–, seryoso ba ‘to?!” People might’ve said that with a thrill or with disappointment, but we all could agree that there was a moment of disbelief. No Vice Ganda, no Enteng Kabisote, and no infidelity film in sight. Did the Honor Thy Father incident from last year take a toll on them? Probably. Regardless, the decision of the MMFF committee was groundbreaking. For us up-and-comers and those from the indie scene, it sparks hope for new and innovative storylines to be heard. Filipinos are so rich in culture and possess vast imaginations. Widening the platform and giving new breath to the industry is just what we all need. But after a couple of days, the commercial veterans made the line in the sand clear. Vic Sotto, Vice Ganda, and Mother Lily wouldn’t stand for it. “Christmas is not the time for indie films,” they said. “Paano ang mga bata?” they said. The last one was weird because it doesn’t take a film student to know that indie films aren’t perverts that’ll molest your children.