The Director’s Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) has spoken up about the controversial disqualification of Erik Matti’s “Honor Thy Father” from the Best Picture race in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
In a statement posted on Facebook, the DGPI condemned the incident, adding that the film was not given “rightful due process.”
It also questioned MMFF’s explanation for its decision to disqualify the film.
“The MMFF gave a technical justification for the disqualification that begs the following questions: Since MMFF already knew of the opening film screening of Cinema One Originals, why wasn’t it disqualified early on? Or at least given notice that they could be disqualified from MMFF if they pursued the invitational screening? And why was the disqualification declared only a day before the awards night?”
The DGPI also considers the disqualification an “injustice,” calling on fellow film workers to “stand united and remain vigilant against all forms of injustice.”
“The DGPI stands against arbitrary and unfair practices in the MMFF; we demand fair play, we demand transparency, and we demand change,” the guild said.
Meanwhile, film producer Dondon Monteverde posted a message of gratitude not only for the fans and supporters of “Honor Thy Father,” but also for MMFF for disqualifying the film.
“Pasasalamat sa MMFF sa pagdisqualify sa Honor Thy Father from the Best Picture category. It has become a most unexpected blessing. Now people are talking not just about our film but, more importantly, the state of our industry. And it’s about time. We need change, real change for our industry to survive, to flourish. And for this change to start we need people to be aware and to care about what’s happening,” Monteverde said.
He also thanked netizens, bloggers and others who sent messages of support for the film.
“Pasasalamat sa lahat ng nag-tweet, nagpost sa Facebook, sa lahat ng bloggers at news outlets sa social media na nagpadala na kanilang suporta at messages of solidarity. Sa inyo ako kumukuha ng lakas ng loob. Now I am sure that we are not a lone voice in the dark. Marami tayong nagmamahal sa pelikulang Pilipino. At kapag inaatake ang bagay na mahal natin, hindi tayo magdadalawang-isip na lumaban. Muli, maraming maraming salamat po sa lahat ng suporta sa social media.”
Monteverde, meanwhile, called on supporters to go to the House of Representatives on Monday to support Congressman Dan Fernandez in filling a resolution to investigate the disqualification of the film.
“Bukas, December 28, iniimbitahan ko ang lahat ng kaibigan at sumusuporta na magtipon sa North Wing Lobby ng House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex at 9:30 am para sa gagawing filing ng resolution ni Congressman Dan Fernandez para imbestigahan ang disqualification ng Honor thy Father sa MMFF Awards Best Picture category. Magkita-kita tayo. Hindi ito tungkol lang sa Honor Thy Father, kundi tungkol sa buong industriyang itinataguyod natin,” he said.
“Oras na para magsama-sama tayo — malaki man o maliit na producers, mga artista, filmmakers at moviegoers — na simulan ang hangad nating pagbabago sa Pelikulang Pilipino,” he added.
On his Facebook account on Saturday, Matti shared a statement from Monteverde, along with a photo of the letter from the MMFF executive committee and a document from Cinema One Originals showing that the special screening of “Honor Thy Father” was “non-revenue generating and by invitation only.”
“Let me refute this allegation of non-disclosure. If you will recall, Honor Thy Father was a late addition to the MMFF 2015 lineup,” Monteverde said. “It had been rejected by their selection committee when the lineup was announced in June.”