Seasoned actress and director Laurice Guillen has identified the biggest challenge in holding a virtual film festival amid pandemic: Uncertainty.
In an interview that included Bulletin Entertainment, the 73-year-old celebrity said that because anything can happen at anytime, it’s difficult to plot a timetable.
“The probability is that (this pandemic) will run its course until well into next year,” she said, then looking at the positive side, added, “And at the same time, you know, things can happen — might possibly by September and that’s really looking at the optimistic side na sana mag-i-improve na (ang situation).”
Laurice was appointed recently as new member of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s Executive Committee (ExeCom) along with Arsenio Lizaso. The festival traditionally starts on Dec. 25 and has always been a big event for many Filipinos, who flock to the cinemas to watch their favored entries.
It’s just that, so far, mass gatherings are still prohibited and theaters are closed.
“That’s one of the first questions I asked, ‘What does the Metro Manila Film Festival intend to do in terms of screening its films?’ Like, would they do it live like all the past years or go online? I don’t know yet and I think that’s something major that we’ll have to discuss.”
Personally, Laurice thinks the trend indicates it will go online.
“And to explore ways by which it can gain revenue by going online,” she added. “And the advantage there is that your coverage is not just Metro Manila but also the entire Philippines and outside the Philippines, to Filipinos abroad.”
Laurice considers being invited to be part of MMFF Execom as “flattering” because it gives her opportunity to serve mainstream film festival.
“It’s also exciting because it’s pioneering and you get to discover and nurture new talents,” she said.
She lauded the MMFF for its efforts to bridge the gap between the mainstream and the independent films and filmmakers.
“I, in my capacity as President of the Cinemalaya Foundation, will be able to help the MMDA improve its coverage of this aspect of the Metro Manila Film Festival,” she pointed out. “Because alternative films are really there also to complement and to also give another view of… to complete the view of what Filipino films are in this country.”
She looks forward to contributing to MMFF finding its “identity.”
“Although MMDA has been successful inholding its festivals year after year for the past decades, there has never been a year where there is no controversy, although lately not as much as before,” she said. “And the controversy really sometimes has to do with the films that are selected. The question being ‘Is it out to just make money or is it out to show quality films?’”
Laurice continued: “I think one of the more basic things MMDA would have to discuss would be what is its identity and from there, work out a program. MMDA could hold discussions about what kind of films we want to show so as to narrow the gap between the controversies every year.”