After being introduced as the Philippine representative to the judging panel of the new HOOQ Filmmakers Guild, director Erik Matti admitted he is excited to take part in the Southeast Asia-wide project that invites applicants to submit their scripts or treatment for a mini-series for a chance to be given funding for their projects to be produced. “I believe the Philippines still has a a lot undiscovered filmmakers out there just waiting for their big break. The HOOQ Filmmakers Guild will give these aspiring filmmakers a chance to see their ideas become reality, and hopefully inspire others to pursue their dream,” said Matti during the HOOQ presscon held last July 3 at a hotel in Quezon City.
After the HOOQ presscon, Matti also addressed why he posted a Facebook status in relation to the recent announcement of the first four films who made the official cut for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival which resulted in three MMFF ExeCom committee members resigning. “I heard that some of them were thinking already because of how difficult it was to parang be heard. Two of them were already thinking of resigning. There have been talks and I think it was Liza Dino lang who kept saying, ‘Let’s stay on.’ And then it happened nga but then no one was talking about it so I just posted. I just wanted it to be talked about. Kung tatanungin niyo ako ano main problema ko, wala akong problema sa MMFF as a festival. It’s how its run and it’s just hard. Wala ba ni isa sa inyo nagtanong, paano in-explain, bakit hinati pa sa apat na script, apat na movies na finished films? Kahit sino tanungin mo sa loob dun hindi rin sila ma-eksplika yan. Kasi it’s a way to be able to decide diretso sa gusto nila. Yung apat na mapipili sa dulo kawawa yan. Wala na. Talong talo ito ng apat na ito and we all know the Metro Manila Film Festival is only ruled by two frontrunners each time. Anyone else under that hindi nakikita yan,” he explained.
Matti also made it known he was dismayed at the brazenness of the decision to include four of the most commercially viable films in this year’s festival after last year’s supposed change of how films were selected. “It’s obvious. If you look at the entries that were brought in, it’s 30% artista, 30% producer, 30% theme song, 10% brightness (laughs). I have no problem with having a film festival that’s for commercial purposes but change your criteria then. Change it into where we only want movies that are commercial, that we feel is comme2rcial. Wala na tayong pag-uusapan. But to hide behind the vision which is artistic excellence, to push for cultural and global appeal, medyo garapal lang, garapal,” he said.
The talented director went on to explain that star power has always played a big factor in selecting MMFF entires. “Panindigan lang nila yung gusto nilang gawin di ba? Dati pa naman, alam naman namin. Sumasali ako dati pa. Ang dami ko ng pelikulang pumasok diyan, walo. Pero alam naman namin dati na yun talaga yung point, sino yung artista, sinong producer, ano story. Wala ngang storya eh. May storya, pero hindi pinag-uusapan kung ano yung kuwento. Tinitingnan lang. ‘O, Kris Aquino, pasok. O, si Bossing (referring to Vic Sotto), pasok, Vice (Ganda), pasok.’ Di ba? Then say it outright. Straight out. ‘Ito lang gusto namin. Gusto namin may pelikula si Kris Aquino, si ganito, ganito, ganito. Huwag na kayo mag-submit kung hindi niyo makuha yung mga artistang yan.’ Then di ba hindi nasisira yung industriya?” he added.
The Darna director also lamented the lack of scrutiny the MMFF seems to be getting despite their decision. “I think what you guys should be looking into is that these are the same guys who were brought to the congress who are questionable, who still have commission on audit cases that needs to answer P108 million of unliquidated na para sa mga beneficiaries nila are the same ones in here now. That’s why I’m saying no one seems to care about questioning them, about asking about them di ba? Sabi ko nakakapagod lang. Isipin mo, pag sa ibang industriya ito di ba? Papatawag na si (Leila) De Lima, somebody’s answerable. But for MMFF no one’s answerable di ba? No one touches them, no one calls them up and says, ‘Huy, anong pinaggagagawa niyo diyan?’ Wala. Parang mas powerful pa sila sa pinaka-powerful. Everyone’s saying stop the squabbles kasi nahahati yung industriya pero hindi naman puwedeng hayaan mo lang yung nangyayari sa industriya kasi part naman tayo nito lahat eh,” he shared.
Despite his sentiments, Matti clarified that he has no ill feelings towards the four films that were selected but instead is focused on questioning the selection process of the MMFF. “Wala naman akong problema eh. For example, the four entries, who knows maybe it may be the best scripts they’ve ever read of all that was submitted. Wala lang nakakaalam. Pero ang problema nga lang, it’s the same type of films, it’s the same kind of movies di ba? And of course hindi ko naman masabi yung mga insider kong alam kasi pag nasabi ko yun malilintikan pero I know what happened in the selection that’s why diyan nanggagaling yung galit ko. I’m not judging the four films and I hope you put it out there kasi marami akong makakaaway na producer. I’m not judging the four films that were chosen but I’m judging how they selected it. It’s the MMFF that I have a problem with and not the movies that were chosen,” he clarified.
After his Facebook status about the MMFF went viral, Matti said he wants things in the industry to change for the better. “Ako lagi, maliit lang yung pino-post ko sa Facebook, ako yung pinakamaraming nakaaway. I stopped doing films way back in 2005 or 2004 and then when I came back I promised myself, ‘I will do commercial movies. I don’t do art house movies. I want to do commercial movies that’s not dumb and that’s not stupid. Yun lang.’ Kasi marami naman tayong na-e-enjoy na commercial pero hindi ka naman parang kinuha lang yung pera mo tapos wala na,” he explained.