Wednesday, January 27, 2021


Since 1975, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) has been the favored arena within which the best filmmakers and major studios would compete for supreme honors in Philippine cinema and rule the country’s box office while foreign movies are shut out. That last part may be troublesome for when major Hollywood blockbusters are supposed to arrive during the Holidays, but any chance for the local movie industry to shine is welcome. It is curious that a film-fest which covers the whole nation remains named after the National Capital Region (NCR) alone. A Fighting Senator has noticed however, and is pushing legislation to make a change. reports that Sen. Manny Pacquiao is moving to have the name of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival be changed. To that end he has filed Senate Bill No. 2017 which would rename the MMFF to the Philippine Film Festival (PFF). The fighting lawmaker explained that having the country’s premier film-fest bear only the name of Manila counted as being too exclusive, insinuating that only the NCR carries the tradition of local film production.

“In order to fully recognize the local movie industry’s goal of over-all developmental effort for the country, it is but suitable to rename the Metro Manila Film Festival into an inclusive 'Philippine Film Festival',” notes Sen. Pacquiao on his speech introducing Senate Bill No. 2017. Despite the initiative however, the Pambansang Kamao assures that he respect how the MMFF has enriched Philippine culture, deepen Filipinos’ awareness of historical heritage and promoted native arts. All that is left now is to push the national character of what the film-fest does, by having it carry the name of the entire country itself.

Interestingly, should the bill to rename the MMFF into the PFF push through, it could have repercussions regarding the organization of the event. The film-fest after all originated in 1975 under the auspices of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). Perhaps the organizing agency could be transferred to a national body if SBN 2017 succeeds. For Sen. Pacquiao, this is only the beginning of the journey for renaming the MMFF.

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