Dear Tito Sotto,
For once, watching movies this Christmas wasn’t so bad. There weren’t any cheesy fantasy films or overdone horror franchises at the Metro Manila Film Festival. Independent cinema was given a chance to shine. And you know what? We are #blessedt for that. The MMDA opened up a whole new world to the local movie-going public and it’s safe to say that it’s a change that everyone needed.
So now we don’t understand why you had to file a resolution in Senate that would create a separate film festival for indie films. Your reason is that you’re just doing it for the kids, whose holidays were wrecked because they couldn’t get their one wish from Santa: to watch Enteng Kabisote for the millionth time.
As the young people you so passionately champion, allow us to say that we don’t need you. Please stop being the tito we try avoid at family reunions, Tito Sotto. This change at the MMFF is a good thing. Don’t ruin it.
We don’t even know why you want to create a separate indie festival, as though we are sorely lacking in them. Were you just hurt about not getting an invite? Did you need someone to put it on your calendar? Here’s a short guide for your reference: we have Cinemalaya, Cinema One Originals, and ToFarm Film Festival, just to name a few. Just this year, they have brought us amazing films with breathtaking stories (i.e. Paolo Villaluna’s Pauwi Na from ToFarm Film Festival, Eduardo Roy Jr.’s Pamilya Ordinaryo from Cinemalaya, and Petersen Vargas’ 2Cool 2Be 4Gotten from Cinema One Originals).
Believe us, the quality of their filmmaking is at par — or sometimes even better — than the mainstream films you so staunchly champion. Directors, screenwriters, and producers put in as much work, passion, and love in the films they create as the bigger studios. To suggest that they don’t is an insult to their work. Imagine someone accusing you of being a terrible public servant, like you fight for the wrong causes or plagiarize speeches. Oh, wait…
You’ll have to forgive us, Tito S., for being suspicious of your motives once again. Is it really us that you are fighting for here? Is it a total coincidence that your brother Vic Sotto stands to gain the most from having the old system back at the MMFF? His last film for the MMFF, with the love team AlDub, grossed P385 million. Despite your bungled up term in the Senate, you were the third most voted senator at the 2016 elections. (That subtle Eat Bulaga endorsement surely didn’t hurt.)
Whatever your intentions may be, just know that you are most certainly not championing the interests of the youth when you push for your resolutions. The MMFF that we got last year was the MMFF that we want. And as you see in the ticket sales once word of mouth got around, the rest of the movie-going public feels the same way. People will flock to see stories that they can connect with. And while they connect with films that have the title #MyBebeLove, they can also connect to the real stories of OFW’s in Hong Kong, of the friendship among transwomen, and an animated tale of a guy who proves himself to the woman he loves.
So don’t worry about us, Tito Sotto. At any other time of the year, feel free to put up more fantasy and horror franchises. But on Christmas, at the MMFF, let us watch the stories that we’ve always needed to watch. It’s time for real change in the industry, and we look forward to more of it.