After going digital for the first time in 2020, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will be bringing its movies back to cinemas this December as theaters reopen again.
"The COVID can not dampen the Filipino Christmas spirit and the MMFF Executive Committee has decided to bring this back again to the cinemas," MMFF Execom spokesperson Noel Ferrer said in a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) advisory.
With Metro Manila under Alert Level 2 from Nov. 5 to 21, theaters will be open their doors to moviegoers again on Nov. 10.
The return of MMFF 2021 to movie houses comes after careful and thorough deliberations among the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the MMFF Execom, the MMDA, and the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines.
With the reopening, MMDA hopes that cinemas will be able to accommodate more moviegoers than the current 30% capacity so the MMFF will "reach more people and the Filipino Christmas experience will be complete by watching MMFF movies."
"We enjoin the public to be one with the entertainment industry and the other stakeholders including the MMFF beneficiaries who have been hardly hit by the pandemic to make this reopening of theaters and this year's MMFF 2021 a success," MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said.
The MMFF traditionally fills cinemas with Filipino films from Christmas day through the first week of January. Aside from showing the movie entries in cinemas, the film festival typically has other activities like its annual parade and awards night.
The film festival's executive committee is still deciding on whether or not these festivities will make a comeback, too. They also haven't said who will make up the Selection Committee, but they are reportedly eyeing Cong. Vilma Santos-Recto to be part of it.
According to Ferrer, 19 finished films were submitted to the festival on Oct. 30. These films will be evaluated by the committee and are to be narrowed down to 8 official entries.