Christmas Tradition of MMFF Continues in 2020 Online Via Upstream

The film industry is one who suffered the most when this pandemic hit. And with the normal movie viewing still limited or even unavailable for many, film festivals were greatly affected as well. But for the annual Metro Manila Film Festival which is the most anticipated movie tradition in the Philippines, it endures and adjusts to the new normal by going online.

This year would have been the 46th season  and is celebrated with fan meets, mall tours, and grand parade which are all halted this year as part of health safety protocols. Despite this huge change, the MMFF 2020 will now focus on reaching to viewers via online streaming which is now the way movies of this year are released.

During a virtual press conference Tuesday, November 24, MMDA Chairman and concurrent Chairman of MMFF Danilo Lim pointed out that since the MMFF has become part and parcel of Filipinos’ Christmas celebration, it is just fitting for the annual year-end festival to continue bringing good cheer to Filipino families. 

By partnering with Globe, the MMFF is bringing this year’s festival online as the official entries can be streamed by Filipinos via UPSTREAM in partnership with GMovies for only P250 per title, and $10 for Filipinos abroad. UPSTREAM is likewise able to deliver a better viewing experience for customers while protecting the content creators’ intellectual property rights with the support of Globe’s #PlayItRight campaign. #PlayItRight is the telco company’s anti-piracy advocacy that helps protect the entertainment industry from illegal streaming and content piracy.

“Because the MMFF will be held online this year, we are very pleased that our Filipino films are not confined to audiences based here in the Philippines but can also be accessed by Filipinos living outside the country and in many parts of the world,” Lim further pointed out.

The MMFF was also able to give the green light to 10 official entries instead of the usual eight, allowing a variety of films to cover a variety of genres for all audiences. 

With its video game premise and dazzling visual effects, Christian Acuña’s fantasy-adventure, “Magikland” is expected to appeal to very young audiences. Produced by the late, great Peque Gallaga in tandem with usual collaborator Lore Reyes and Brightlight Leisure Productions, the film is headlined by a young cast that include Miggs Cuaderno, Elijah Alejo, Joshua Eugenio and Princess Aguilar.

As horror is also a popular genre in the MMFF, those who love a good scare should look forward to Easy Ferrer’s “The Missing.” Produced by Regal Entertainment that brought audiences the popular MMFF horror franchise, “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” the film set in a haunted house stars Joseph Marco, Ritz Azul and Miles Ocampo.

Those who prefer horror sprinkled with a dash of comedy should include “Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandang Itim” and directed by Topel Lee and starring Vhong Navarro. Produced by Cineko Productions, the cast also includes Ritz Azul, Benjie Paras, Joross Gamboa, Ryan Bang and Ion Perez. 

More laugh-out-loud comedy is expected to be dished out by Al Tantay’s “Pakboys: Takusa.” Produced by Viva Entertainment, the film focuses on the marital infidelity of comedians Janno Gibbs, Andrew E., Dennis Padilla and Jerald Napoles. Providing able support are Natalie Hart, Angelu de Leon, Maui Taylor, Ana Roces, Marissa Sanchez and Leo Martinez. 

Those looking for romance will find it with Mac Alejandre’s “Tagpuan,” a love triangle top billed by Iza Calzado, Alfred Vargas and Shaina Magdayao. Written by Ricky Lee and shot in Hong Kong and New York, the film is produced by Alternative Vision Cinema.

Fans of true stories should be intrigued by “Suarez, The Healing Priest.” Directed by Joven Tan and based on the life and times of Father Fernando Suarez. Produced by Saranggola Media Productions, the film stars John Arcilla, Dante Rivero and Jin Macapagal.

Two LGBTQ-themed dramas are also in the MMFF this year. There’s Joel Lamangan’s “Isa Pang Bahaghari,” a family drama about an OFW (Phillip Salvador) who returns home to reconnect with his estranged wife (Nora Aunor) and children (Zanjoe Marudo, Joseph Marco and Sanya Lopez). Michael de Mesa portrays the couple’s gay best friend.

Produced by Clever Minds, Inc. and directed by Dolly Dulu, “The Boy Foretold by The Stars” is a BL (Boys Love) teen drama starring Adrian Lindayag and Keann Johnson who portray high school schoolmates whose friendship is tested when one develops feelings for the other.

Writer-director Antoinette Jadaone offers something different with “Fan Girl” which has received glowing reviews from its Japan and Estonia premieres.. Produced by ABS-CBN Films' Black Sheep, Globe Studios, Project 8, Epicmedia, and Crossword Productions, the film is about a teenager, Charlie Dizon who became obsessed with her idol, an actor portrayed by Paulo Avelino.

OFWs should be pleased that they are well-represented by not only “Isa Pang Bahaghari” but also by Adolfo Alix, Jr’s’ “Coming Home.” Produced by Maverick Films, this is a family drama about an OFW dad (Jinggoy Estrada) who comes home to an unwelcoming family. The film also stars Sylvia Sanchez, Edgar Allan Guzman, Martin del Rosario, Shaira Diaz, Vin Abrenica, Julian Estrada and Jake Ejercito. 

The MMFF opens on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020.

“We are grateful to MMFF for allowing us to recreate this well loved Christmas tradition of enjoying the MMFF films. Now, all Filipinos can watch this exciting MMFF lineup on a platform that revitalizes the local film industry,” said Albert de Larrazabal, Globe’s Chief Commercial Officer.   

Visit to know more about these 10 films.

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