The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017
Still from Loy Arcenas' 'Ang Larawan' (2017).

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017

No other film festival in the Philippines is embedded in the cultural consciousness of Filipinos as indelibly as the Metro Manila Film Festival. The annual tradition, which happens every Yuletide season, has become for many decades a communal act of cinemagoing—indeed a slowly fading art—for many Filipinos.

It’s this very preciousness that frustrates me to see being shut out, what with the current committee lambasting what felt like an institutional stride with last year’s MMFF. Quality local films are flicked to the background in favor of safe, pedestrian, pun-riddled titles that do little to advance the festival’s fight for better films. Patrons will flock the theaters as they do during Christmas, and it will be well and good, but this writer is doused in frustration, knowing that the committee had sold out—though only half-sold out—making better business decisions than fully championing what the film festival stands for in the first place.

But prejudgments are cancer. And it’s unseemly to predict that all eight films will be anything but representative of the festival’s original vision. I’d like to be wrong about Joyce Bernal’s “Gandarrapido!: The Revenger Squad” and Chris Martinez’s “Meant To Beh!”; I’d like to see their message blow up into something greater and more profound. I’d like to be that internet guy who spoke too soon about these movies, because that, at least, is a good happy ending to have.

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017

And hopeful is what I am. I hope Julius Alfonso’s “Deadma Walking” does right by his ripe material, which is that about a gay man faking his own death, a final resort-move to validate his worth to his peers, and by extension the socially marginalized to society. I hope Coco Martin’s directorial debut “Ang Panday” will be rooted more in accentuating the divide in social class and will de-stigmatize what it describes as “ghetto” Tondo. And finally, I hope Loy Arcenas’ “Ang Larawan” leaves up to the hype, for its story is one that should be heard, taken from the acclaimed Nick Joaquin play, “A Portrait of an Artist as Filipino”.

With all that said, here’s the full list of MMFF 2017 entries, as part of our festival guide—complete with trailers, synopses, and film info.

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017All Of You

The film follows Gab and Gabby, two individuals who have strong opposing views on love and marriage, fall in love and agree to be in a committed relationship, notwithstanding their differing outlooks in life. As they hit the 3-year mark, the couple finds themselves back to where they started, as they ask themselves where their relationship is headed. Will they meet halfway or move on to different directions?

Direction: Dan Villegas
Screenplay: Dan Villegas, Carl Chavez, Melissa Mae Chua
Stars: Derek Ramsay, Jennylyn Mercado, Sam Milby, Rafael Rosell

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017Deadma Walking

A Palanca-winning comedy about gay best friends for life John (Joross Gamboa) and Mark (Edgar Allan Guzman) whose friendship is put to the test when one of them has a terminal illness and asks the other to help him stage his fake death, wake, and funeral as his dying wish. The result is a laugh-fest of “deadly” proportions.

Direction: Julius Alfonso
Screenplay: Eric Cabahug
Stars: Joross Gamboa, Edgar Allan Guzman, Gerald Anderson

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017Gandarrapido!: The Revenger Squad

The story of Gandarra (Vice Ganda), Rapiddo (Daniel Padilla), and Kweenie (Pia Wurtzbach), who are all trying to attain and protect what is most precious to them. Family is the only thing that binds them, but as they stick to their separate missions, dark secrets arise and threaten to destroy everything they hold dear. Can they set aside their differences to find the only great power that will make them “super”?

Direction: Joyce Bernal
Screenplay: Jonathan Albano, Daisy Cayanan, Danno Kristoper Mariquit
Stars: Vice Ganda, Daniel Padilla, Pia Wurtzbach

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017Haunted Forest

The story revolves around Aris (Raymart Santiago) and his estranged daughter, Nica (Jane Oineza). When Aris was reassigned, he immediately starts on a case investigating a murder which is staged similarly to the death of a childhood friend that haunts him. While his father is away, Nica, her cousin and her local friends went for an outing where she started to get weird things happen to her. She tries to shake it off at first, but it gets worse day after day.

Direction: Ian Loreños
Screenplay: Jeps Gallon
Stars: Raymart Santiago, Joey Marquez, Jane Oineza, Jameson Blake

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017Ang Larawan

Set in pre-World War II in Intramuros (Old Manila), sisters Candida and Paula Marasigan, daughters of high profile painter, Don Marasigan, deal with financial hardship after their father’s claim of an artistic drought.

Direction: Loy Arcenas
Screenplay: Rolando Tinio
Stars: Joanna Ampil, Rachel Alejandro, Paulo Avelino

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017Meant To Beh

“Meant to Beh” tells the story of Ron and Andrea Balatbat (played by Vic Sotto and Dawn Zulueta, respectively), a couple married out of their will, and how they try to work out their marriage…or not.

Direction: Chris Martinez
Screenplay: Chris Martinez
Stars: Vic Sotto, Dawn Zulueta, JC Santos


The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017Ang Panday

Lizardo (Jake Cuenca), the immortal evil nemesis of Panday comes back from the world of darkness to once again bring havoc to the human race. With Flavio III (Coco Martin) not knowing that his bloodline is the only one capable of destroying Lizardo, he will have to scour different worlds to be able to gain the trust of the mythical power of the legendary sword.

Direction: Coco Martin
Screenplay: Joel Mercado, Coco Martin
Stars: Coco Martin, Jake Cuenca, Awra Briguela

The Guide to Metro Manila Film Festival 2017Siargao

Set in the rustic but breathtaking surf island of Siargao, the film follows a burned-out musician returns to his hometown to escape his troubles in the city. He meets a sheltered vlogger who is picking herself up after a failed relationship, while he seeks closure with a former love he left behind. In a place filled with adventure, where people spend their days going with the flow of the tides and the direction of the waves, three people learn that the greatest adventure lies in learning to take the risk of commitment.

Direction: Paul Soriano
Screenplay: Anj Pessumal
Stars: Jericho Rosales, Erich Gonzales, Jasmine Curtis

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