Tolentino explains MMFF awards selections

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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino has explained the selection process of nominees and winners at the recently concluded 39th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) awards, this, amid continued criticisms.


The MMDA chief explained that entries to the festival are not assured of nomination in any category, maintaining that certain “criteria” have to be met to earn consideration.

“’Yun po ’yung (isa sa) mga binago natin nung tayo’y unang nanungkulan diyan. Dati rati kasi, pagka top-grosser ka na, Best Picture ka eh. Inalis po natin ’yun para mapagbigyan po ‘yung aspekto ng merit, ’yung quality, ’yung value ng isang pelikula,” Tolentino said as quoted in an report.

Tolentino clarified that he and the rest of the festival executive committee had nothing to do with the selection process of the festival winners; that a board of jurors – respectable individuals competent enough to judge the films, the chairman noted – is responsible for scoring each film based on merits.

The board includes directors Emmanuel Borlaza and Laurice Guillen, veteran cinematographer Romeo Vitug, National Commission for Culture And The Arts (NCCA) chairman Felipe de Leon Jr., film editor Edgardo “Boy” Vinarao, Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) chair Christine Dayrit, Colegio de San Juan de Letran College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Rowena Capulong-Reyes, Ateneo de Manila University vice-president for Alumni Affairs Fr. Tito Caluag, parish priest Fr. Jacinto Padua of the Sto. Niño de Tondo, Miss Universe 3rd runner-up Ariella Arida, Theaters Association representative Maan Lopez, housewife Romilda Amago, student Lorna Luna, teacher Rex Ado and driver Larry Anido, all of whom underwent training on film appreciation.

To further underscore the credibility of the process, Tolentino added that nobody among them knew the results of the judging even as the jurors themselves were not privy to the scores each gave to the participating films.

“Secluded po sila (judges) sa isang lugar. Nag-uusap sila (at) nagbe-brainstorm sila before they jot down ‘yung score. Then, kapag nakuha na po ‘yung score, hindi alam ng ibang judges ‘yung score ng katabi niya,” Tolentino said.

He cleared that an independent auditing firm validated the results prior to sealing it in an envelope that was opened during the awards night itself.

“So wala pong nakaalam in advance, wala pong may alam (ng results). Ang may alam lang po ’yung auditing firm.”

Tolentino’s explanation came after producers of entry “Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel” made public their disappointment over the deemed snub of their film during the 39th MMFF awards night.

There are also those who criticize the Best Actress win of Maricel Soriano for her role in “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy.” Manila Bulletin