ANOTHER member of the Metro Manila Film Festival Executive Committee has resigned last Friday bringing to four the number of resignees.
Filmmaker Ed Lejano tendered his resignation last July 7 in apparent protest of the “selection process,” which currently divides film choosing in two stages – screenplay which was announced last June 30 and finished film which is to be made public sometime in October.
Earlier, documentarian Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, academician Rolando Tolentino and scriptwriter Rickey resigned from the MMFF Execom. Although they gave no official reason why they quit, it is widely speculated in the show business industry that their resignations were in protest of the selection process used by the MMFF in choosing the first four movies for the film festival.
Lejano admitted he has some issues concerning the (film) “selection process” because he believes that the “finished film submission is a basic requirement that is fair and viable for all.” He said he had always been against the decision to divide the selection process between screenplay and finished film.
Lejano explained that he has “nothing against blockbuster movies and totally understands the need to generate maximum revenues during the holiday period.” He, however, insisted that the subsequent implementation of the screenplay-finished film selection rule “did not sit well among the few of us whose votes were outnumbered.”
Lejano reiterated that last year’s MMFF had “set the bar for a viable festival criteria for submission and selection,” adding that it had “provided for consistent and clear guidelines in a level playing field.” He related that the announcement of the first four entries had raised issues “with potentially chilling effects to the film industry.”
He noted that the first four titles would be given “plenty of lead time for promotions” adding that “Come October, when the next batch of finished films is selected, only a month remains for the marketing and promotion of the latter four titles.”
Lejano bewailed the fact that the last four entries, “whether indie or not…will have a built-in disadvantage and their limited box-office performance … a foregone conclusion” as underperforming films “will be cut short,” just like in the past MMFFs.
“Who will be marginalized in this scenario? It is a vicious cycle once again at the expense of indie films and their struggle persists.”
Lejano said he has yet to receive an official reply from the MMFF Execom.
Meanwhile, MMFF Execom Chair Tim Orbos, in a statement sent to the media, accepted Lejano’s resignation but berated him for not having the delicadeza to follow the rules that he and his fellow Execom members crafted.
“Like Roland Tolentino, who was a member of the Rules Committee, I accept Ed Lejano’s resignation with the hope that they both would have the delicadeza to respect the rules, processes and timelines they themselves crafted and agreed to adhere to,” Orbos said.