MANILA, Philippines — For the primary time in its historical past, the Metro Manila Movie Competition’s (MMFF) kickoff occasion, the Parade of Stars, was held not on town’s bustling streets, however on the waters of Pasig River on Sunday afternoon.
And as a substitute of elaborately embellished motor automobiles, ferry boats served as floats for the celebrities representing the eight taking part movies of the pageant’s forty seventh, which is able to run from Dec. 25 to Jan. 7, 2022: “A Exhausting Day” (Dingdong Dantes, John Arcilla); “Huling Ulan Sa Tag-Araw” (Ken Chan, Rita Daniela); “Large Evening!” (Christian Bables); “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Daniel Padilla, Charo Santos-Concio);
“Nelia” (Winwyn Marquez, Raymond Bagatsing); “Huwag Kang Lalabas” (Kim Chiu, Aiko Melendez); “Love at First Stream” (Kaori Oinuma, Jeremiah Lisbo); and “The Exorsis” (Toni Gonzaga, Alex Gonzaga).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MMFF screened final 12 months’s entries utilizing on-line streaming platforms and forewent the parade altogether. However because the annual showbiz occasion returns to the cinemas amid the easing of restrictions, organizers hoped that the fluvial parade may assist generate buzz and reassure moviegoers.
“We did it … The movie business has been badly affected for nearly years. A few of these movies had been shot throughout the pandemic, with out understanding if the cinemas would reopen or not. They invested in the midst of the pandemic. These movies make us chuckle or cry. And by watching them, we see our tradition and soul as Filipinos,” mentioned Benhur Abalos, chair of the Metro Manila Growth Authority, and MMFF.
In contrast to the earlier parades’ extravagant and attention-grabbing floats, this 12 months’s had comparatively easier designs with some entries simply opting to deck their ferry with movie posters. However there have been some standouts like that of the horror flick “Huwag Kang Lalabas,” which seemed like a sinister graveyard; and the medical-themed thriller “Nelia,” which featured a nurse hat and big syringes.
Regardless of the wet climate, followers flocked to the banks of Pasig River close to Guadalupe ferry station, the parade’s start line. At round 2:30 p.m., the floats moved eastward towards Bagong Ilog Bridge in Pasig Metropolis, earlier than making a U-turn and heading for Circuit Occasion Grounds in Makati Metropolis, the place a range present was held.
Whereas among the stars skipped the parade and went straight to the culminating occasion, others couldn’t be extra excited to experience the floats. Ken Chan and Rita Daniela of the film “Huling Ulan sa Tag-Araw” mentioned they got here prepared for the rain.
“We wished to do that rain or shine. I even introduced an umbrella,” Daniela informed the Inquirer.
“We don’t thoughts getting moist. We nonetheless wish to push by with it as a result of I’ve been ready for this opportunity for a very long time,” Chan mentioned, including that collaborating within the parade was one among his childhood goals.
“Once I was a child, I’d go to my neighbors, my ninongs and ninangs for pamasko. I’d have round P1,300 on the finish of the day, and I’d usually use the cash to look at MMFF films at malls … I watched the parade on tv, as a result of the floats had been at all times wonderful,” he mentioned. “I used to dream that I’d be right here sooner or later. And this time, I did it!”
Christian Bables of the battle on drugs-themed black comedy “Large Evening!” first participated within the parade in 2016, as a part of the supporting solid of the movie “Die Stunning.” This time, he returns because the lead star.
Badly hit by pandemic
“I’m joyful as a result of the MMFF jump-started my profession. I keep in mind being so excited using our float a number of years in the past. Now, I’m doing it once more—nevertheless it’s me on the poster,” he mentioned. “I’m glad they discovered a technique to maintain the parade, which is likely one of the highlights of the pageant.”
Winwyn Marquez couldn’t make it to the float of her debut starring film, the psychological thriller “Nelia.” She revealed the day earlier than that she’s 21 weeks pregnant and was suggested to not overexert herself.
Her coactors, Lloyd Samartino and Raymond Bagatsing, however, are hopeful that this 12 months’s parade and pageant may help reinvigorate the movie business, which has been badly hit by the pandemic and the ensuing manufacturing restrictions.
“I pray that it is a signal that the film business will quickly regain its power, particularly now that we actually want leisure. We actors have been itching to behave once more, or do totally different roles,” Samartino mentioned.
Return of MMFF
“It’s an thrilling and provoking time,” Bagatsing added. “I actually missed going to the cinemas; it’s my stress reliever. I’m glad with what’s taking place now within the business. I’m excited for the administrators, producers and my fellow actors.”
James Blanco of “Huwag Kang Lalabas,” in the meantime, was admittedly a bit of nervous about doing the parade on a river. However that didn’t dampen his pleasure. “It has been some time since I final took half within the MMFF. And I’m very joyful to see the followers, as a result of we owe lots to them,” he mentioned. “I’m grateful as a result of regardless of the pandemic, we’re nonetheless given this opportunity to see them.”
Although he’s thrilled in regards to the parade and the return of the MMFF to the theaters, award-winning actor John Arcilla — star of the Filipino adaptation of the South Korean motion thriller “A Exhausting Day” — reminded the followers and fellow actors to not let their guard down on the subject of security precautions.
“I’m 100-percent excited, not only for actors like me, however for the audiences. In fact, we don’t wish to dampen the thrill with paranoia, however let’s proceed being cautious,” he mentioned. “We nonetheless need to watch out.”
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