MMFF 2017 reveals four submitted-script finalists

The 42nd edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is up to new changes with the selection divided into two categories: 4 script submissions and 4 finished films, adding up to a total of 8 official entries to be screened at the festival starting December 25.

Here are the first four official entries selected from the 26 scripts submitted this year.

  • ANG PANDAY by Rodel Nacianceno
    Lead: Coco Martin
  • ALMOST IS NOT ENOUGH by Dan Villegas
    Lead: Jennylyn Mercado & Jericho Rosales
  • THE REVENGERS by Joyce Bernal
    Lead: Vica Ganda, Daniel Padilla & Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach
  • LOVE TRAPS #FamilyGoals by Antonio Reyes
    Lead: Vic Sotto & Dawn Zulueta

The criteria in choosing these titles were as follows:

40% artistic excellence
40% commercial appeal
10% promotion of Filipino cultural and historical values
10% global appeal

The remaining 4 slots will be given to selected finished films. Announcement is on November 17.

Interested filmmakers are still encourafed to submit duly accomplished application forms and complete requirements to the MMFF Secretariat until October 2 for early birds, and until October 30 for the regular submission.

For the short film category, 8 short films will be announced on September 29. Deadline of submission is on September 1.

Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino bares 12 finalists for Aug 16-22 nationwide run

The 12 finalists of the first Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino were revealed by the Film Development Council of the Philippines through a press conference over lunch today at Sequioa Hotel.

These local films will be shown in all theaters nationwide from August 16-22.

  1. 100 Tula para kay Stella by Jason Paul Laxamana
  2. Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B by Prime Cruz
  3. AWOL by Enzo Williams
  4. Bar Boys by Kip Oebanda
  5. Birdshot by Mikhail Red
  6. Hamog by Ralston Jover
  7. Paglipay by Zig Dulay
  8. Patay Na si Hesus by Victor Villanueva
  9. Pauwi Na by Paolo Villaluna
  10. Salvage by Sherad Anthony Sanchez
  11. Star Na si Van Damme Stallone by Randolph Longjas
  12. Triptiko by Miguel Franco Michelena​

The selection committee is composed of FDCP CEO & Chair Liza Diño-Seguerra, screenwriter Ricky Lee, Erik Matti, director Jose Javier Reyes, DOP Lee Briones-Meily, Central Digital Lab CEO & President Manet A. Dayrit, film critic Oggs Cruz, and actress Iza Calzado.

Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino is a nationwide celebration of Philippine cinema in line with the Buwan ng Wika which will be shown in some 790 cinemas from all over the country.

Tony Stark mentors Peter Parker in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark takes Peter Parker (Tom Holland) under his wing in Columbia Pictures’ Spider-Man: Homecoming, the new action-adventure that brings Spider-Man of the comic books to the screen alongside Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes for the first time.

Spider-Man: Homecoming picks up the action directly following the epic battle scene of Captain America: Civil War, with Tony Stark returning “underoos” back home to Queens.

“Peter really believes he has a mentor in Tony Stark, and Tony really likes Peter, but he can’t be babysitting this kid,” producer Kevin Feige explains. “Tony gives Peter a little bit of rope to see what he can do on his own.”

Peter believes that his “internship” with Stark Industries is merely a prelude and test toward becoming a full-fledged member of the Avengers – but the spider needs to learn to crawl before it can fly, as Holland explains: “We go back in time to relive the Civil War splash panel fight from Peter’s perspective. We see him having the time of his life. He’s on a private jet with Happy, he’s staying in this crazy beautiful hotel room to suddenly him being crammed on a subway late for school. No one’s called him to give him another mission. That’s the contrast: the kid at summer camp is suddenly the kid back at school.”

“Tony becomes a kind of father figure to Peter,” says Holland. “Peter’s trying to prove himself to Tony that he is old and wise enough to take on bigger tasks, but Tony keeps putting him down and telling him he isn’t ready yet. I think that’s what really drives Peter to possibly go down the wrong path, before he figures it out and we see why Peter Parker is the most beloved and powerful super hero of the MCU.”

And Iron Man himself vouches for the casting of Peter. “Tom Holland is just the perfect man for the job,” says Downey. “He’s enthusiastic, bright and gifted, a very physically talented guy by virtue of his dance and acrobatic background. He has just the right combination of elements required to bring a new take on the character.”

“The energy of Tom Holland meeting Robert Downey Jr. for the first time was exactly what we wanted out of Peter Parker meeting Tony Stark,” says Kevin Feige. “The audition scene was the bedroom scene in Captain America: Civil War, and so we wanted to continue that relationship between Peter Parker and Tony Stark that we set up in the film.”

In Spider-Man: Homecoming (in Philippine cinemas Thursday, July 6), thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter Parker returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. His moment has arrived as he is challenged to become the hero he is meant to be.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Sarah Lahbati, Shy Carlos face demons in ‘Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz’

Kamikaze Pictures, a joint venture between VIVA Films and Reality Entertainment, proudly present Sarah Lahbati and Shy Carlos in leading roles in the haunting movie coming out this June, produced by the award-winning director Erik Matti, and directed by Katski Flores.

“Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz” shows Sarah as Ruth, a reclusive police officer who moves into the hometown of a seemingly innocent young girl that is Leah, played by Shy Carlos.  Ruth is still reeling from the death of her younger brother when she witnesses Leah jump out of a balcony.  Gabriel, Leah’s childhood friend, begs Ruth for help, prompting the latter to join the investigation.

Naturally, there are suspicions as to why Leah committed such act.  Blame is put on two people.  One is Rosario, a loyal maid to the Dela Cruz household who loves Leah as her own.  She has a strong belief in superstitions.  The other is Sister Eloiza, a school guidance counselor who once belonged to a cult but became a confidant to Leah.

As Leah’s odd behavior escalates, so does the friction between her parents Oscar and Marite.  Oscar is a kind and loving father, but a domineering husband, while Marite has been an object of rumors in their small town.

Holding a secret that should be a big help to the investigation is Father Lucas, the local parish priest, but something is keeping him mum about it.  The investigation takes a darker turn when Leah’s possession is revealed and sinister connections between the people closest to her come bubbling to the surface.  Worse, the devil’s influence becomes widespread.

While this is Sarah and Shy’s first movie collaboration, this is not their first time to star in a horror movie.  Shy was seen in Chain Mail in 2015, while Sarah was seen in a 2010 supernatural film from another movie outfit.   

Prince of the Dance Floor Julian Trono playing as Gabriel, Jim Paredes as Father Lucas, and respected theater actors in supporting roles make this movie even more exciting.

From the creators of the blockbuster movie, Seklusyon, “Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz” is now showing in Philippine cinemas as distributed by VIVA Films.

WATCH: Jackman, Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya in ‘The Greatest Showman’ teaser

Prep up for the most wonderful time at the movies as 20th Century Fox teases with the initial trailer of “The Greatest Showman” starring an exciting cast of performers led by Academy Award nominee Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams and Zendaya.

“The Greatest Showman” is a bold and original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and the sense of wonder we feel when dreams come to life. Inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum, “The Greatest Showman” tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a mesmerizing spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Barnum rose from nothing to create the “Greatest Show on Earth,” the movie celebrates of his larger-than-life imagination that captivated audiences around the globe.

“The Greatest Showman” is directed by exciting new filmmaker, Michael Gracey, with powerful original music and songs by Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land”).

Opening on January 24, 2018, “The Greatest Showman” is from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. in the Philippines.

Award-winning manga ‘In This Corner of the World’ now an animated movie

Based on the award-winning manga “Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni” by Fumiyo Kono, “In this Corner of the World” revolves around a young bride named Suzu Urano who moves to small port town Kure with her husband to start a new life. Not knowing that an impending war would change things indefinitely.

Adolescent Suzu shows life in Japan in the early days leading to the second world war. Her life is put into turmoil and chaos when her small town is bombed during the war but with her courage, perseverance and faith she tries to live her life normally. Her values were further tested when her husband left to join the army to protect the country.

The heartwarming and inspirational story shows how the Japanese people face the challenges of a violent and war-torn country, showing how citizens are victims of nations at war. The film being set in the 1940’s does not lose its hold towards the new generation. War is again imbued in other nations and what happened to her back in the past is again happening to people around the world.

The film is written and directed by Sunao Katabuchi “In this corner of the world.” has received critical acclaim, winning Best Japanese Movie of 2016, garnering a best director award for Katabuchi and the Japanese movie award of excellence at the 71st Mainichi Film Awards.

“In this Corner of the World” is now showing in cinemas nationwide from Rafaella Films to be distributed by Axinite Digicinema.

QCinema 2017 reveals eight QC Shorts finalists

Here are the eight shorts films competing under the QC Shorts Competition of the 5th QCinema International Film Festival.

  • Anya Iti Nagan Mo? (What is Your Name?) by Ice Idanan
  • Astri Aka Tambulah (Astri and Tambulah) by Xeph Suarez
  • Babylon by Keith Deligero
  • Kun’diman by Phyllis Grae Grande
  • Link by Mike Esteves
  • Love Bites by Carl Joseph Papa
  • Pixel Paranoia by Epoy Deyto
  • Sa Ngitngit Nga Kinailadman (From the Dark Depths) by Kiri Dalena

Each short will receive a film production grant of P100,000 and will be eligible to compete for the Pylon Awards with cash prizes at stake.

Read More: QCinema 2017 Full-Length Feature Finalists

QCinema was created by the Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) organized by Quezon City Mayor Herbert. QCinema 2017 will run from October 19 to 28, 2017 in select cinemas.

Family-oriented comedy film ‘Ang Sikreto ng Piso,’ hopeful for MMFF 2017

‘ANG SIKRETO NG PISO’ (The Secret of the Philippine Peso Coin) is a family-oriented comedy and historical film inspired by actual events on the smuggle of the Philippine peso coin in 2006.

The film is a wholesome, charming, and interesting story for the Filipino family during Christmas season, and thus, it is humbly intended for submission to the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival.

The main plot is about love of family and supporting one another whenever trials in life happen.

“Ang Sikreto Ng Piso” is written and directed by stage, TV and film actor-turned-director Perry Escaño, who is also one of the nine finalists of the main competition of full-length films for the 13th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival for his “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa.”

Topbilled by Quezon City Congressman and actor Alfred Vargas (fresh from the success of Encantadia of GMA), the film is Alfred’s second collaboration with Direk Perry since the former is also the lead actor of the said Cinemalaya action-drama entry, slated this August 2017.

Having been in the business for more than 15 years, Alfred has done a number of lead roles in GMA teleseryes and various independent films.

“It’s a breather for me as actor to do a family comedy film this time.

“We are hopeful to get a slot to this year’s MMFF with this comedy movie. It’s our gift for all Filipino families during Christmas season,” says Alfred.

With major roles in the film are multi-talented ace comedian Joey Marquez (regular cast of My Dear Heart of ABS-CBN), the still debonair and handsome Wendell Ramos, and the cute child actor and Downy commercial model Yuan Francisco.

Also in the cast are funny comedians Paul Sy (mainstay of Home Sweetie Home of ABS-CBN as John Lloyd Cruz’s buddy, and a winner of Showtime’s “Look A Like” as Wally Walley), Long Mejia (a regular cast of FPJ’s “Ang Probinsiyano” of ABS-CBN), Beverly Salviejo (a veteran comedienne and singer).

Then there’s Lou Velsoso (versatile and award-winning actor), Andoy Ranay (stage, television, and theater actor and director), Ernie Garcia (a seasoned actor who has done more than 50 films and is also the Supervising Producer of “Ang Sikreto ng Piso”), and more.

The production is also aiming for McCoy de Leon as Alfred’s brother in the story, and Elisse Joson as the beautiful daughter of Joey in the film.

As of press time, the production team is now negotiating with award- winning actress Judy Ann Santos for the role of the wife of Ronnie (Alfred) in the story.

“Ang Sikreto Ng Piso” is produced by MPJ Entertainment Productions and JPP Entertainment, owned by beauty queen and fashion designer Joyce Peña Pilarsky, who also portrays Joey’s strict wife in the movie.

To start filming this July, other cast members of the movie include Dexter Doria, Garry Lim, Joanna Marie Tan, and Akihiro Blanco.


In order to build wealth effectively, we have to watch out on our spending. Ronnie (Alfred Vargas) has to make sacrifices to save up for the future of his wife (to be announced) and only son Taballero (Yuan Francisco).

Ronnie is forced to accept an odd job that promises higher income — one that requires him to gather as much one-peso coins has he could.

It is only a matter of time when he discovers why these coins are being smuggled abroad. What secrets do these coins hold? Can these coins help Ronnie save the life of his son who lies in agony in the hospital?


RONNIE BIGLANG-AWA (Alfred Vargas) – A kind man and loving father who lives in a frugal way. Worries about the future of his son Taballero. He gathers Philippine peso coins for a Chinese businessman to earn extra money. Discovers the rampant smuggling of coins from the Philippines to other countries.

JUANA BIGLANG-AWA (To be announced; production is negotiating with Judy Ann Santos) – wife of Ronnie who owns a money changer shop.

BABE GUEVARRA (Joey Marquez) — A funny and sweet businessman, owner of a junkshop and one of the main competitors of the Biglang- Awa family

TABALLERO BIGLANG-AWA (Yuan Francisco) – A 9-year-old son of Ronnie and Juana. Chubby and cute, loves to eat fatty food, keeps his money in a piggy bank, importunate but interesting kid.

RODRIGO SANTOS (Wendell Ramos) — A handsome conman who pretends to be a rich businessman, and the head of a crime syndicate. A frequent client at Juana’s money changer shop.

TATANG TANO BIGLANG-AWA (Lou Veloso) — in his early 70’s. Foster father of Ronnie who owns a plastic-metal-scrap business in the town of Balbago. Has a large collection of vintage one peso coins.

DONG MARCOS (Ernie Garcia) — father of Juana Marcos Biglang-Awa (lead actress)

ANDAY (Andoy Ranay) — Juana’s gay co-worker and closest friend who has a big crush on Rodrigo. He imagines that he is a real transgender and is planning to undergo vaginal transplant.

CHRIS SINGSON (Paul Sy) — Extremely fat, looks funny but is a serious person. Behaves and talks like a military man, a classmate and good friend of Taballero in Grade 2.

PANDAY CARMONA (Long Mejia) — Helper of Tatang Tano, thin, fond of wearing dark eyeglasses. Speaks in a loud voice and always startles people.

MANANG CHE (Beverly Salviejo) — A sari-sari store owner in Balbago, knows all the gossips about the people living in the community.

LIST: Gawad Urian 2017 nominees revealed

The nominees of the 40th Gawad Urian have been revealed at the press conference held today at the ELJ Communication Center of ABS-CBN.


Here is the complete list of nominees.

Best Picture

Pamilya Ordinaryo
Ang Babaeng Humayo
Women of the Weeping River
Baboy Halas

Best Director

Brilliante Mendoza, Ma Rosa
Eduardo W. Roy, Jr., Pamilya Ordinaryo
Zig Madamba Dulay, Paglipay
Lav Diaz, Ang Babaeng Humayo
Bagane Fiola, Baboy Halas
Paolo Villaluna, Pauwi Na
Avid Liongoren, Saving Sally
Sheron Dayoc, Women of the Weeping River
Lemuel Lorca, Ned’s Project

Best Actor

Tommy Abuel, Dagsin
Bembol Roco, Pauwi Na
Garry Cabalic, Paglipay
Khalil Ramos, 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten
Paolo Ballesteros, Die Beautiful
Ronwald Martin, Pamilya Ordinaryo
Pepe Smith, Singing in Graveyards

Best Actress

Nora Aunor, Hinulid
Laila Ulao, Women of the Weeping River
Jaclyn Jose, Ma Rosa
Cherry Pie Picache, Pauwi Na
Ai Ai delas Alas, Area
Charo Santos, Ang Babaeng Humayo
Elizabeth Oropesa, MRS
Irma Adlawan, ORO
Hasmine Kilip, Pamilya Ordinaryo
Angeli Bayani, Ned’s Project

Best Supporting Actor

Taha Daranda, Women of the Weeping River
Christian Bables, Die Beautiful
Jess Mendoza, Hinulid
John Lloyd Curz, Ang Babaeng Humayo
Nonie Buencamino, Ang Babaeng Humayo
Julio Diaz, Ma Rosa

Supporting Actress

Rhed Bustamante, Seklusyon
Barbie Forteza, Tuos
Sharifa Pearlsia Ali-Dans, Women of the Weeping River
Anna Luna, Paglipay
Joan Dela Cruz, Paglipay
Lui Manansala, Ned’s Project
Lotlot de Leon, MRS
Meryll Soriano, Pauwi Na
Janine Gutierrez, Dagsin

BEST Screenplay

Ned’s Project, Lemuel Lorca & John Paul Bedia
Pauwi Na, Paolo Villaluna & Ellen Ramos
Women of the Weeping River, Sheron Dayoc
Paglipay, Zig Madamba Dulay
Ma Rosa, Troy Espiritu
Patay na si Jesus, Fatrick Tabada
Ang Babaeng Humayo, Lav Diaz
Pamilya Ordinaryo, Eduardo Roy, Jr.

BEST Cinematography

Women of the Weeping River, Rommel Sales
Ang Babaeng Humayo, Lav Diaz
Ma Rosa, Odyssey Flores
Paglipay, Albert Banzon
Pamilya Ordinaryo, Albert Banzon
Baboy Halas, Raphael Meting & Mark Limbaga
Tuos, Mycko David

BEST Production Design

Ma Rosa, Dante Mendoza
Die Beautiful, Angel Diesta
Ned’s Project, John Paul Sapitula
Women of the Weeping River, Harley Alcasid
Pamilya Ordinaryo, Harley Alcasid
Paglipay, Aped Santos
Saving Sally, Erik Manalo & Rommel Laquian
Hinulid, Ryan Cuatrona & Celine Belino
Baboy Halas, Joel Geolamen

BEST Editing

Women of the Weeping River, Carlo Francisco Manatad
Ma Rosa, Diego Marx Dobles
Pauwi Na, Ellen Ramo & Paolo Villaluna
Ang Babaeng Humayo, Lav Diaz
Pamilya Ordinaryo, Carlo Francisco Manatad
Paglipay, Zig Madamba Dulay
Die Beautiful, Benjamin Gonzales Tolentino

BEST Music

Paglipay, Gian Gianan
Women of the Weeping River, Kit Mendoza
Saving Sally, Pablo Pico
Pauwi Na, Pike Ramirez, Paolo Villaluna & Veena Ramirez
Tuos, Jema Pamintuan

BEST Sound

Hinulid, Mark Laccay
Women of the Weeping River, Albert Michael Idioma & Immanuel Verona
Ang Babaeng Humayo, Corinne De San Jose, Mark Locsin & Che Villanueva
Pamilya Ordinaryo, Albert Michael Idioma & Emmanuel Verona
Ma Rosa, Albert Michael Idioma
Paglipay, Andrew Milallos
Baboy Halas, Willie Apa, Jr. & Charlie Daclan

Natatanging Gawad Urian: Vilma Santos-Recto

‘Cars 3’ races to the screen for Lightning McQueen’s biggest adventure yet

Lightning McQueen is back on the big screen in Disney-Pixar’s Cars 3 — but he’s not a rookie anymore. Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Piston-Cup champion finds himself suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves.

“The next-gen racers are cool,” says Cars 3 director Brian Fee. “You can see instantly that cars like Jackson Storm are effortlessly fast. We designed these younger, faster cars to be sleek and aerodynamic—and they’re a sharp contrast to Lightning McQueen.”

Producer Kevin Reher says the story is reflective of real-life champions. “Lightning McQueen has been racing for more than a decade,” says Reher. “He’s struggling with the kind of issues a lot of athletes face later in their careers. Do you go out on top or fight till the end?”

While Lightning is still the same self-assured, determined and fun-loving race car audiences fell in love with, his confidence is being tested by the new cars on the track. “When we first met Lightning McQueen, he was a young rookie—a superhero,” says Fee. “He had his whole life ahead of him. And while he’s done well since we last saw him, he’s not a young hotshot racer anymore. We kept circling the idea of what happens when an athlete like Lightning is in the twilight of his career.”

Enter Cruz Ramirez. Tasked with getting Lightning McQueen back on track after a devastating setback, Cruz isn’t shy. Her training style is high-tech, enthusiastic and steadfast—she’s not afraid to apply a little tough love. But there’s more to Cruz than meets the eye. “I love Cruz’s story,” says co-producer Andrea Warren. “She’s such an admirable, likable character. She’s so passionate about racing and her role to create champions. The movie isn’t just about Lightning McQueen—it’s Cruz’s story, in many ways.”

“Cars 3” features Owen Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums)as the voice of Lightning McQueen. Cristela Alonzo (The Angry Birds Movie) voices tech-savvy trainer Cruz Ramirez, who tries to help #95 return to greatness, and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) lends his voice to next-gen racer Jackson Storm, whose high-tech speed leaves Lightning McQueen behind. Kerry Washington (ABC’s Scandal) was called on to voice statistical analyst Natalie Certain, Nathan Fillion (ABC’s Castle) provides the voice of brilliant business car Sterling, Lea DeLaria (Netflix’s Orange is the New Black) lends her voice to formidable school bus Miss Fritter, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton helps bring voice command assistant Hamilton to life.

Cars 3 pays homage to NASCAR with four characters based on real-life stock car racing legends. Chris Cooper (American Beauty) voices Doc Hudson’s crew chief Smokey; team owner and NASCAR racing legend Junior Johnson lends his voice to Junior “Midnight” Moon; three-time Emmy® winner Margo Martindale (FX’s The Americans) provides the voice of Louise “Barnstormer” Nash; and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (HBO’s The Wire) is the voice of River Scott. The film also features NASCAR drivers and the voices behind the sport, as well as a host of returning characters from Radiator Springs and the Cars racing world.

Directed by Fee (storyboard artist Cars, Cars 2), produced by Reher (A Bug’s Life, La Luna short) and co-produced by Warren (LAVA short), Cars 3 is executive produced by John Lasseter, who directed the first two films in the franchise. With a story by Fee, Ben Queen (TV’s Powerless), Eyal Podell (actor Code Black ) & Jonathon E. Stewart (Doing Time short), the screenplay was penned by Kiel Murray (Cars), Bob Peterson (Up, Finding Nemo) and Mike Rich (Secretariat, The Rookie).

Featuring a score by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman (Toy Story 3, Cars), instrumental cues composed by Brad Paisley, and original songs by ZZ Ward and Grammy® winner Dan Auerbach.

Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3 cruises into Philippine theaters on July 26, 2017.