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House probe sought on ‘Honor Thy Father’s’ DQ from MMFF Best Picture race

29 December 2015 No CommentEmail This Post Email This Post
"Honor Thy Father" Official theatrical poster (courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Honor Thy Father” Official theatrical poster (courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org)

MANILA, Dec 28 (Mabuhay) – An actor-lawmaker who is part of the cast of the film “Honor Thy Father” asked Congress Monday to investigate the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) executive committee’s decision to disqualify the movie from the Best Picture race to know if any irregularity has been committed.

In House Resolution 2581, Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez asked the House Committee on Metro Manila Development to conduct a probe in aid of legislation on “Honor Thy Father’s” disqualification as a Best Picture nominee as he slammed the lack of due process behind the MMFF executive committee’s move.

Although Fernandez appeared in the film, he clarified that his move to launch a congressional inquiry into the MMFF controversy was not a retaliatory act but a bid to prevent similar instances from happening in the future.

“Hindi natin ito ginawa dahil kasama tayo [sa pelikula]. What happened to ‘Honor Thy Father’ might happen again. It’s high time we do something about this. I’ve heard lots of things already about some injustices that have been committed regarding this matter. That’s what we want to shed light on with this investigation,” he said.

The MMFF’s decision to exclude “Honor Thy Father” from the Best Picture race became controversial because the film’s producers were only informed about it in a letter sent less than a day before the awards night on Sunday.

Fernandez said the film’s producer, Ronald Stephen Monteverde, was deprived of due process when the MMFF sent the letter informing him of “Honor Thy Father’s” disqualification on short notice.

“The notice was served upon Mr. Monteverde less than 24 hours prior to the awards night, hence, depriving him [of] the opportunity to file the appropriate appeal or reconsideration for the disqualification,” he said.

In the letter, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Emerson Carlos said the MMFF executive committee ruled to disqualify “Honor Thy Father” from the selection of the film festival’s Best Picture Category due to its producers’ failure to disclose the movie’s participation in the Cinema One Originals Festival 2015.

But in a Facebook post, Monteverde said they duly informed MMFF through telephone calls and e-mails of the film’s inclusion in the Cinema One Festival even before the Christmastime film event kicked off on Dec. 25.

Aside from posting screengrabs of two emails that Cinema One sent to inform the MMFF that the movie is included in its film festival, which kicked off in the first week of November, Monteverde also shared a November 5 letter from Cinema One informing the MMFF executive committee that its film festival was “non-revenue generating.”

The film producer’s post included a screengrab of Section 4 of the MMFF rules, which says that a movie entry may be disqualified if it has been “shown in any regular, advance or preview screening for valuable consideration…”

It adds that movies shown in non-revenue advance or preview screening “shall not be disqualified as long as the producer shall submit at the time of applying as an entry for the film festival a sworn statement attesting to the non-revenue and promotional nature of the said exhibition.”

Fernandez described “Honor Thy Father’s” exclusion from the Best Picture Category nomination as an “injustice” because he believes the producers have been transparent about the film’s participation in the Cinema One festival.

“The Best Film category is the heart of the festival and then they (MMDA) robbed ‘Honor Thy Father’ of the chance to be nominated. They say it’s a light penalty for the producers’ non-disclosure but what was taken away from us is the chance to be chosen as the Best Picture. That’s injustice,” he said. (MNS)

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