A Guide To The 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival


This year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) promises to be a different one.

Rather than the usual Vic Sotto, Vice Ganda, and AlDub starrers that we’ve gotten used to over the past few years, the 2016 MMFF’s lineup is made up of mostly independent films. This is thanks in part to the festival’s revamped rules, which now looks at artistic expression over commercial viability. Films also now have to be completed when submitted to committee, as opposed to the script format that was accepted over the past few years.

This year’s MMFF has a broad range of genres, ranging from horror to documentary to comedy to even animation. There’s bound to be a film for everyone at the 2016 MMFF, even if you’re not a big fan of local cinema.

1. Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough

While the original Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank satirized the independent film industry of the Philippines, the sequel takes on the mainstream movie scene. The film has most of the original cast returning, with Eugene Domingo still taking on a larger than life version of herself.

The film also stars Jericho Rosales, Joel Torre, Kean Cipriano, Khalil Ramos, and Cai Cortez. The movie is directed by Marlon Rivera.

2. Die Beautiful

Starring Paolo Ballesteros, who actually won best actor for his role at the 2016 Tokyo Film Festival, Die Beautiful is the story of Trisha, a transgender woman who dies suddenly while being crowned at a beauty contest.

The film also stars Joel Torre and Gladys Reyes and is directed by Jun Robles Lana.

3. Kabisera

Using a story that’s taken directly from the headlines, Kabisera tackles a family’s struggle with extrajudicial killings that’s been sweeping the nation today.

It stars Nora Aunor as the family matriarch, with Ricky Davao as her husband and JC De Vera as her son. Kabisera is directed by Arturo San Agustin and Real Florido.

4. Oro

Directed by Alvin Yapan, Oro is based on the real story of a quiet mining village that’s been disrupted by a group of armed men who claim to work for the government.

The film stars Irma Adlawan as the barangay chairperson who stands up for the rest of her community. Oro also stars Mercedes Cabral, Joem Bacson, and Albert Martinez.

5. Saving Sally

Using a mixture of live action and animation (a first for the Filipino film industry!), Saving Sally is a romantic comedy about a comic book artist’s unrequited love for his best friend.

It stars Rhian Ramos and Enzo Marcos and the film is directed by Avid Liongera.

6. Seklusyon

Directed by Erik Matti, whose 2015 entry to the MMFF was the center of much controversy, Seklusyon is a horror film set in the 1940’s.

The film revolves around a group of deacons on the cusp of ordination, who are taken to a holy fortress in order to fight off temptation. The film stars Dominic Roque, Ronnie Alonte, and Lou Veloso.

7. Sunday Beauty Queen

Ever wondered what the lives of OFWs are like?

Check out Sunday Beauty Queen, a documentary that follows domestic workers in Hong Kong who are preparing for a beauty pageant. The documentary is directed by Babyruth Villarama Gutierrez.

8. Vince & Kath & James

Based on the text-serye of the same name, Vince & Kath & James follows the love story of two teenagers, who interact mainly through text messages.

The film stars Joshua Garcia, Julia Barretto, and Ronnie Alonte. Vince & Kath & James is directed by Theodore Boborol.

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About Author

Roxie Ramirez

Roxie is a 20-something writer from Manila. When she's not beating deadlines, chasing down interviewees, or out on the field, she’s looking for the best fried chicken in the Metro.