Metro Manila Film Festival

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Metro Manila Film Festival
2014 Metro Manila Film Festival
Official logo of Metro Manila Film Festival
Awarded for Excellence in cinematic achievements
Location Manila
Country Philippines
Presented by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
Manila Broadcasting Company
First awarded December 1975
Official website Metro Manila Film Festival official website
38th ed. 39th ed. 40th ed. >

The Metro Manila Film Festival-Philippines (MMFF-P) is an annual film festival held in Manila. The festival, which runs from the 25th of December to the first week of January in the following year, focuses on locally produced films.

The MMFF was established in the year 1975, during which Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa ("Water the Thirsty Earth with Dew") by Augusto Buenaventura won the best film award.[1]

During the course of the festival, no foreign movies are shown across the Philippines (except in 3D theaters and IMAX theaters). Moreover, only films approved by the jurors of the MMFF are shown. One of the festival highlights is the parade of floats during the opening of the festival. The floats, each one representing a movie entry to the festival, parade down Roxas Boulevard, with the respective stars for the represented films on them. On the awards night, a Best Float award is also announced along with the major acting awards.


Founder of the Metro Manila Film Festival, Antonio Villegas in 1970.

Antonio Villegas, the Manila mayor during his time, inaugurated the "Manila Film Festival" ("Manila Tagalog Film Festival") in 1966, the father of the Metro Manila Film Festival and all other Philippine festivals.[2] It is a 12-day event in which only locally produced films could be shown in the metropolis' theatres. The festival also features a grand parade in downtown Manila where the artists in the featured films parade in their floats. Villegas aims to encourage local producers to develop world class quality movies that showcased the beauty of the Philippines and the greatness of the Filipino people. He appointed Attorney Expiridion Laxa to serve as the Chairman of the film festival which starts on June 14 and culminates on June 24, Manila's birthday. In addition, in an effort to promote Philippine films, Antonio Villegas banned the showing of foreign films at movie houses during the Manila Film Festival from June 14 through June 24.[3] Furthermore, in order to instill national pride and prevent vagrants from sleeping in movie theaters, Villegas started the tradition of playing the national anthem at the beginning of each film showings.[3] Despite criticism from smokers and cigarette manufacturers, Villegas was adamant in banning smoking from movie theaters. In that effort, he delivered his poetic verse which is displayed on movie screens right after the national anthem. It reads: "Hindi po nais namin kayo'ng pigilin, pero ang usok ay masamang hangin." This translates to "Not that we wish to restrain you, but smoke is foul air (stench)."[4]

During that time, the mayor believes the potential of the festival for educating Filipinos in patronizing their country's produced movies, but the festival did not flourish and failed. Most of the first batch of the festival films came up with English titles.[5] Nevertheless, despite the lack of support from the government, money, and international films, there were different changes in making the festival flourish.[6] The Best films of Manila Film Festival included "Daigdig ng mga Api' (1966), "Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak" (1967), "Manila, Open City" (1968), "Patria Adorada" (1969), "Dimasalang" (1970), "Cadena de Amor" (1971), "Elias, Basilio at Sisa" (1972), "Nueva Vizaya" (1973), "Alaala mo Daigdig Ko" (1974). From 1975 to 1990, Manila Film Festival was discontinued as Metro Manila Film Festival took over.

In 1975, the Film Festival officially began on September 21 under the name "1975 Metropolitan Film Festival" (MFF) until it was changed to "Metro Manila Film Festival" in 1977.

Years after Villegas' death in 1984, a special award in the Metro Manila Film Festival bearing his name, the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Awards, was created in his honor and is given to the best film that best portrays Philippine culture and Filipino people to the world.[7] MRN Film International's Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina? was the first one to receive the lifetime achievement award in 1990.[8] Since then, it has been awarding prestigious films that deserves the honors.

In 2010, the film festival had undergone some changes. Firstly, the commercial viability criterion (box-office performance of the entries) was removed. As of 2010, the criteria for the selection of Best Picture(s) are: artistry; creativity and technical excellence; innovation; and thematic value. Entries are also judged for global appeal (70 percent) and Filipino cultural and/or historical value (30 percent). In addition, the festival format will give a tribute to independent "indie" films. Lastly, the established board of jurors was expanded to include housewives, drivers, students, teachers, etc. As for the festival logo, it was changed to feature a map of the Metropolis of Manila, based on the old seal of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority with seventeen stars on it symbolizing the 17 cities and municipality of Metro Manila. The logo for the first 35 festivals featured a torch.[9]

In September 2011, Atty. Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) changed the category name of "indie" films to "New Wave" films to make it sound better and more attractive to hear, as well as including "Student Short Film Category" for the first time.[10] Consequently the next year, the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival held in 2012 became the highest earning MMFF to date with 767 million pesos, 21% higher than that of 2011.[11]


Festival Year Awards Night Venue Date
1st Metro Manila Film Festival 1975
2nd Metro Manila Film Festival 1976
3rd Metro Manila Film Festival 1977
4th Metro Manila Film Festival 1978
5th Metro Manila Film Festival 1979
6th Metro Manila Film Festival 1980
7th Metro Manila Film Festival 1981 Cultural Center of the Philippines December 27
8th Metro Manila Film Festival 1982
9th Metro Manila Film Festival 1983 Cultural Center of the Philippines December 27
10th Metro Manila Film Festival 1984
11th Metro Manila Film Festival 1985 Rizal Theater, Philippines December 27, Friday
12th Metro Manila Film Festival 1986 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 27, Saturday
13th Metro Manila Film Festival 1987 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 27, Sunday
14th Metro Manila Film Festival 1988 Philippine International Convention Center December 27
15th Metro Manila Film Festival 1989 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 27
16th Metro Manila Film Festival 1990 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 27, Thursday
17th Metro Manila Film Festival 1991 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 28, Saturday
18th Metro Manila Film Festival 1992 PICC Reception Hall December 28, Monday
19th Metro Manila Film Festival 1993 PICC Plenary Hall December 27, Monday
20th Metro Manila Film Festival 1994 Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) December 27, Tuesday
21st Metro Manila Film Festival 1995
22nd Metro Manila Film Festival 1996
23rd Metro Manila Film Festival 1997
24th Metro Manila Film Festival 1998
25th Metro Manila Film Festival 1999
26th Metro Manila Film Festival 2000
27th Metro Manila Film Festival 2001 PICC Plenary Hall December 27
28th Metro Manila Film Festival 2002 Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) December 27, Friday
29th Metro Manila Film Festival 2003 Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City December 27, Saturday
30th Metro Manila Film Festival 2004
31st Metro Manila Film Festival 2005
32nd Metro Manila Film Festival 2006
33rd Metro Manila Film Festival 2007
34th Metro Manila Film Festival 2008 Harbor Garden Tent, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila, Philippines December 27
35th Metro Manila Film Festival 2009 SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay December 28
36th Metro Manila Film Festival 2010 Meralco Theater December 26
37th Metro Manila Film Festival 2011 Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City December 28
38th Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 Meralco Theater, Ortigas Center, Pasig City December 27
39th Metro Manila Film Festival 2013 Meralco Theater, Ortigas Center, Pasig City December 27
40th Metro Manila Film Festival 2014

Merit Categories[edit]

Festival awards[edit]

Special awards[edit]

Other awards[edit]

Most wins[edit]

This is a list of superlative Metro Manila Film Festival winners. This list is current as of the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival "Gabi ng Parangal" (awards ceremony) held on December 27, 2013.

Most awards received by a single film

The following are fifteen of the award-winning films which have received ten or more awards from different categories.

Film Record Set Year Production company(s) Notes
José Rizal 17 1998 GMA Films *all awards from different categories, except Best Actress, are received.
10,000 Hours 14 2013 VIVA Films, Philippine Film Studios and N2 Productions
Magic Temple 1996 Star Cinema
Muro Ami 13 1999 GMA Films
Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story 12 2011 VIVA Communications Inc., and Scenema Concept International
Mano Po 2002 Regal Films
Yamashita: The Tiger's Treasure 11 2001 MAQ Productions
Muling Umawit ang Puso 1995 VIVA Films
Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina? 1990 MRN Film International
Imortal 1989 VIVA Films
Baler 10 2008 Viva Communications
Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo 2006 Star Cinema
Nasaan ang Puso 1997 MAQ Productions
Halimaw sa Banga 1986 NCV Productions *only the third Best Picture is given.
Kisapmata 1981 Bancom Audiovision
Best Director

The following are three of the award-winning directors who have received more than two Best Director awards.

Director Record Set First year awarded Recent year awarded
Joel Lamangan 3 1995 2009
Jose Javier Reyes 1993 2006
Marilou Diaz-Abaya 1980 1999
Best Actor

The following are three of the award-winning actors who have received more than two Best Actor awards.

Actor Record Set First year awarded Recent year awarded
Christopher de Leon 8 1976 2008
Cesar Montano 3 1998 2006
Anthony Alonzo 1983 1987
Best Actress

The following are four of the award-winning actresses who have received more than two Best Actress awards.

Actress Record Set First year awarded Recent year awarded
Nora Aunor 8 1978 2012
Maricel Soriano 5 1997 2013
Vilma Santos 4 1977 2004
Amy Austria 3 1980 1996
Best Supporting Actor

The following are six of the award-winning actors who have received two Best Supporting Actor awards.

Supporting Actor Record Set First year awarded Recent year awarded
Pen Medina 2 1999 2013
Cesar Montano 1989 2012
Phillip Salvador 2008 2009
Johnny Delgado 1979 2006
Ronaldo Valdez 1993 1997
Dick Israel 1988 1994
Best Supporting Actress

The following are three of the award-winning actresses who have received two or more Best Supporting Actress awards.

Supporting Actress Record Set First year awarded Recent year awarded
Eugene Domingo 3 2007 2011
Cherie Gil 1985 2000
Nida Blanca 2 1975 1997
Most combined awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director.

The following are six of the award-winning males who have received two or more combined awards.

Name Record Set Categories won
Cesar Montano 6 3 Best Actor, 2 Best Supporting Actor, 1 Best Director
Eddie Garcia 3 2 Best Director, 1 Best Actor
Mario O'Hara 2 Best Director, 1 Best Actor
Johnny Delgado 2 Best Supporting Actor, 1 Best Actor
Dolphy 2 Best Actor, 1 Best Supporting Actor
Vic Silayan 2 1 Best Actor, 1 Best Supporting Actor
Most combined awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

The following are four of the award-winning females who have received two or more combined awards.

Name Record Set Categories won
Amy Austria 4 3 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Charito Solis 2 1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Gina Alajar 1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Hilda Koronel 1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress


In January 2013 review, writer Jessica Zafra complained, "Speaking of standards, why do we bother to review the festival entries when most of them are rubbish? Because they're not supposed to be rubbish! Contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, 'entertainment' and 'commercial appeal' are not synonyms for 'garbage'. There are good commercial movies, and there are bad commercial movies. The bad outnumber the good because the studios think the viewers are idiots."[12]


The following are the controversies of the filmfest.[13][14]

  • 1977: Director Lino Brocka walked out of the awarding ceremonies at the Metropolitan Theater when Celso Ad. Castillo's Burlesk Queen starring Vilma Santos won eight of the ten awards including the Best Picture award during the 3rd Metro Manila Film Festival. Mr. Brocka reportedly threw invectives at Rolando Tinio, who was the chairman of the panel of judges of the festival. It was also reported that organizers asked the winners to return their medals (the MMFF handed out medals that year) due to the controversy.
  • 1978: The board of jurors decided to not award honors for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress on the 4th Metro Manila Film Festival. Instead, the jurors gave Nora Aunor a "Best Performer" award for her role in the movie Atsay. Ms. Aunor beat Ms. Santos, whom fortune-tellers on the talk show of Inday Badiday and many moviegoers predicted would win the award for her role in the movie Rubia Servios. When Nora accepted her award, she cried "Mama, mali ang hula nila" ("Mama, their prediction is wrong") because many asserted that her film "Atsay" is her last card for saving her career. Her winning the Best Performer Award sent hordes of anti-Aunor sectors to protest.
  • 1986: For the first time, the 12th Metro Manila Film Festival did not give out the traditional first and second Best Picture awards as well as the other two categories: Best Story and Best Screenplay. According to one of the jurors, Tingting Cojuangco stated: "No one of the seven entries deserved these awards..." He added that they: "...would like to express [their] concern over the current state of the Philippine movie industry as reflected in the entries to the year's MMFF...[The entries] failed to reinforce and inculcate positive Filipino values by portraying negative stereotypes, imitating foreign films and perpetuating commercially-oriented movies...".[15]
  • 1988: During the award-giving ceremony of the 14th Metro Manila Film Festival, stuntman and character actor-turned-filmmaker Baldo Marro won the Best Actor for Patrolman film, which also won him the Best Director award. In fact, he was not known before this. He bested prizewinning director Chito Roño of Itanong Mo Sa Buwan in the division, sending uproar from well-meaning critics and regular local film observers. Nevertheless, the announced Best Director award goes to Laurice Guillen.[16]
  • 1993: During the "Gabi ng Parangal" of the 19th Metro Manila Film Festival held in the PICC Plenary Hall, December 27 of Monday night, a supposed leakage of the list of winners marred that year's awards presentation.[17]
  • 2001: On December 27 of the 27th Metro Manila Film Festival, Cesar Montano, although he received the Best Actor award, expressed his disappointment that his film, Bagong Buwan did not receive the Best Picture award. He states: "For me, Bagong Buwan is still the best picture. No offense meant, but for others, Yamashita may be the best picture. Kanya-kanya 'yan. Wala nga lang kaming trophy. Bibili na lang kami ng trophy sa Recto. (To each his own. We just don't have a trophy. We'll just buy one in Recto)." referring to a strip on C.M. Recto Avenue in Manila notorious for manufacturing fake diplomas, certificates and trophies.[18]
  • 2002: First, the cast of the film Dekada '70 walked out of the award ceremonies after Lualhati Bautista failed to win the Best Story and Best Screenplay awards. Even more controversial was the decision of the judges to name the first-timer Ara Mina the Best Actress for her role in Mano Po, beating multi-awarded Vilma Santos, who was in Dekada '70. In addition, the producers of the films Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut and Lastikman protested the non-inclusion of the two films as official entries, prompting the Metro Manila Film Festival committee to extend the annual event. Consequently, the committee extended the film screenings to seven days to accommodate two more films which did not make it to the entries.
Speaking of the films, Chito Rono, director of Second Best Picture Dekada '70, was curious as to why was Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut named the Third Best Picture award if the officials disqualify it as an official entry. In the same way, the production team of Ang Agimat: Antin-Anting ni Lolo was also appalled to the decision of the jurors to give the Best Visual Effects award to Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut if they only use "mono", beating their use of the more advanced "Dolby Digital system".[21]
  • 2007: The awards night ended in less than an hour after festival organizers decided to just announce the winners without even mentioning the nominees for each category. The organizers explained that it had to be rushed and had to end at exactly 9pm because a concert, featuring singer Lani Misalucha, was scheduled right after the awards ceremonies.
  • 2011: Amable "Tikoy" Aguiluz declined to accept the award for Best Director for the movie Manila Kingpin after he claimed that the movie "was edited without his consent beyond his recognition."

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:1975". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  2. ^ "Subsidize movie industry – Lito Atienza". 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  3. ^ a b Villegas, Antonio Jr. YEBA: Young, Executive, Brilliant Administrator. unpublished. 
  4. ^ Macabeta, Greg (June 2006). "Filipinas Magazine". Filipinas Magazine. pp. 44–46. 
  5. ^ "Film Academy of the Philippines". Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  6. ^ Hawkins, Michael Gary (2008). Co-producing the Postcolonial: U.S.-Philippine Cinematic Relations, 1946--1986.
  7. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival". Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  8. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival: Awards for 1990". Internet Movie Database. 
  9. ^ "Changes in 2010 MMFF introduced". Yahoo. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  10. ^ "‘Indie’ out, ‘New Wave’ in". Tempo. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  11. ^ Marfori, MJ. "38th MMFF posts record P767-M gross, says festival head". InterAksyon. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Zafra, Jessica (2013-01-02). "Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 Moviethon Day 6: The battle for Dingdong's dingdong". Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  13. ^ "Through the years: Controversies in the MMFF". Business World Online. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  14. ^ "A look at the past MMFF controversies". ABS-CBN. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
  15. ^ Cojuangco, Tingting. Metro Manila Film Festival Award Ceremonies. ULTRA, Pasig. December 27, 1986.
  16. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer. "Austria, Marro win top honors in Metro filmfest". December 28, 1988. Newspaper Print.
  17. ^ "A scandal-free Metro Manila Filmfest". Philstar. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  18. ^ a b Ranoa-Bismark, Maridol. "Montano, De Rossi, Yamashita top awardees at Metro Filmfest". The Philippine Star. December 29, 2001. Newspaper Print.
  19. ^ "Looking Back: Showbiz scandals that raised public outcry". Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  20. ^ "Filipino Actress Steals The Show". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  21. ^ Lo, Ricky. "Filmfest: The night of the young blood". The Philippine Star. December 29, 2002. Newspaper Print.