You might think of watching films during the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) as a Christmas tradition. After all, cinemas nationwide only screen the eight films (called the Magic Eight) from December 25 up until the first week of January. The annual festival rakes in mixed reviews from critics and casual moviegoers alike, but there's no denying that many still look forward to the screenings.
Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go is one of the members of the executive committee of 2019's MMFF, and has previously expressed his desire for a summer edition of the film festival in order to invigorate Philippine cinema. Now, it's officially pushing through: The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority announced on March 2 that the Metro Manila Summer Film Festival will take place on April 11 to 21, with eight films in the roster.
The films were selected based on the following criteria: 40 percent for artistic excellence, 40 percent for commercial appeal, 10 percent for Filipino cultural sensibility, and 10 percent for global appeal. Unlike the December Metro Manila Film Festival which accepts scripts as official entries, the eight entries selected for the summer film festival are already in complete film formats.
If you're not sure what movies to look forward to for the first summer edition of the festival, we've got you covered! Here's a rundown of the entries:
1. A Hard Day
Director: Lawrence Fajardo
Based on the South Korean blockbuster film of the same name, action thriller A Hard Day from VIVA Films stars Dingdong Dantes as Villon and John Arcilla as a sinister cop. Villon encounters an accident before saying goodbye to his dead mother, and must live with the consequences of his actions.
Director: Mac Alejandre
Not much is known yet about this entry from Alternative Visions, but it will star Alfred Vargas as Allan, Shaina Magdayao as Tanya, and Iza Calzado. If Alfred's Instagram post is anything to go by, it looks like the romance film was shot in Manila, Hong Kong, and New York.
3. Love The Way U Lie
Director: RC Delos Reyes
What if you had a bridge to the person you love? Nathan (Xian Lim) meets Stacey (Alex Gonzaga) halfway on Jones Bridge and asks if she brought Sara (Kylie Verzosa) with her. It seems like Sara is no longer part of this world, and Stacey is Nathan's only means to reach his lover. This fantasy-romance entry is a collaboration among Tincan Films, Ten17P, and VIVA Films.
4. Isa Pang Bahaghari
Director: Joel Lamangan
This entry from Heaven's Best Entertainment stars Philip Salvador as Dom, a man who abandoned his family. Years later, he returns to his wife Lumen (Nora Aunor) and family in order to reconcile with them. Things get complicated when their gay best friend (played by Michael De Mesa) attempts to bridge the rift between them. The film also stars Zanjoe Marudo, Joseph Marco, Sanya Lopez, Maris Racal, and Albie Casiño.
5. Love Or Money
Director: Mae Czarina Cruz-Alviar
Coco Martin and Angelica Panganiban star in this rom-com entry from Star Cinema. Though not much is known about the film's premise yet, the two actors have previously expressed their desire to work with each other, and are happy they finally got the chance.
6. Coming Home
Director: Adolfo Alix, Jr.
This family drama from Maverick Films stars Jinggoy Estrada, Sylvia Sanchez, Martin Del Rosario, Ara Arida, Edgar Allan, Shaira Diaz. It explores the Filipino family dynamic, and highlights conflict, reconciliation, and forgiveness.
7. Ngayon Kaya
Director: Prime Cruz
College buddies Harold (Paulo Avelino) and AM (Janine Gutierrez) are more than friends, but less than lovers in Ngayon Kaya. The two reunite again after five years of being apart, and they begin to explore the possibility of getting into a relationship. This T-Rex Entertainment film also stars John James Uy, Rio Locsin, Alwin Uytingco, and Donna Cariaga.
8. The Missing
Director: Easy Ferrer
This horror film from Regal Entertainment explores the secret behind the stability of Japanese structures. Ritz Azul, Joseph Marco, and Miles Ocampo play characters that must restore an ancestral home in Karatsu, Japan. They come across myths of the Japanese offering human sacrifices to lend stability to their structures, and fear for the safety of Aki, the only resident of the house. As they dive deeper into the project, the house slowly begins to reveal its story and secrets.