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In exactly two weeks, on Christmas Day, the Metro Manila Film Festival will take place. Instead of the usual Enteng Kabisotes and Mano Pos that have become MMFF mainstays, audiences this year will be treated to eight films, seven of which are independently produced. No more never-ending sequels, old unfunny jokes or tired names, thank God.

Below is a quick guide to the upcoming film fest, one that will hopefully excite you to watch a film or four.

Four of the eight competing films
Four of the eight competing films

1. Star Cinema’s Vince & Kath & James is the only film to have come out of a big studio. The Julia Barretto-starrer is an updated romcom, which is adapted from an online series, turned into a book, before taking on the film incarnation. It has an MTRCB rating of G. Watch the trailer below:

2. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: Forever is not Enough is the only sequel this year. It stars Eugene Domingo, and was directed by Chris Martinez. It has an MTRCB rating of PG. Watch the trailer below:

3. It took Saving Sally 10 long years before it was finally completed. The movie is directed by by Avid Liongoren and stars Rhian Ramos. The movie actually has three—three!—trailers, but the official one? It carries the song called “Everything Refuses to Move” by Hannah + Gabi. It has an MTRCB rating of PG. Watch the trailer below:

4. There will be a festival pass this year! In a CNN Philippines interview, MMFF execom member Moira Lang said there will be something like a “super ticket” that will allow holders to see four films at a huge discount. “It’s going to be sold at a very big discount but you can avail of it only from the 16th to the 24th so you have to make a commitment that you’re really going to buy it. But ang pay off sayo ‘nun is ang laki ng discount, parang almost 40 percent,” she says. Announcements will be made as soon as the MMFF execom gets the agreement of cinemas and producers.

5. Nora Aunor spearheads the star power in this year’s MMFF! The Superstar headlines Kabisera, a family drama almost in the tradition of Mano Po. Ricky Davao is with her in this one. The movie has an MTRCB rating of R13. Watch the trailer below:

6. Die Beautiful, the Paolo Ballesteros-starrer, competed—and won—in the recently-concluded Tokyo International Film Festival. The movie won the Audience Choice Award, and it won for Paolo the best actor award. Die Beautiful has an MTRCB rating of R13. Check out the trailer below:

7. This year’s festival features a documentary! From the makers of Heneral Luna comes Babyruth Villarama’s Sunday Beauty Queen, a documentary that takes a look at Filipina overseas workers in Hong Kong who join beauty pageants to find fulfillment. The movie looks at the lives of five women in four years, a small representation of the 190,000 Filpinas working there. It has an MTRCB rating of G. Check out the trailer below:

8. There is a a horror movie in the lineup too. Its name is Seklusyon and Director Erik Matti is at the helm. Set in 1947, Seklusyon tells the story of a a young deacon sent to a holy sanctuary to hide them from the devil. It’s pretty cool to see Matti come back this year—remember last year when he and his cast and crew raised hell when Honor Thy Father wasn’t allowed to compete last minute? Seklusyon has an MTRCB rating of R13. Anyway, the trailer is below:

9. The heaviest film in this year’s lineup has got to be the most indie, too. We mean, check out Oro’s billing: Mercedes Cabral, Irma Adlawan, and Joem Bascon. It is directed by Alvin Yapan and with the film showcasing the tension in a community of miners after an armed group appears, Oro is pretty hella heavy. Oro is rated PG by the MTRCB. Below, the trailer:

10. The 2016 MMFF will have its awarding ceremony night after the festival proper. In previous years, the awards night usually happens on the third day of the fest, when the festival is in full swing. For 2016 MMFF however, it will happen on January 8, 2017.


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