By Joee Guilas
The good news is: the annual yuletide tradition of the Metro Manila Film Festival is pushing through as scheduled. The better news is: since it will be mounted fully online, access to and ticket prices for the participating films will be both easier and cheaper for the public. Hmmm, wouldn’t that lead to the bad news of giving film pirates less to worry about in doing their illegal activities? Well, apparently not.
Organizers of the film festival revealed to the Manila Bulletin how concrete steps are being taken to ensure piracy of the participating films will be kept either nil or, at the very least, a bare minimum: “Our online partner, UPSTREAM uses state-of-the-art digital right management used by leading international video streaming services. The encryption technology prevents downloading of the content from the source,” assured Noel Ferrer, MMFF Spokesperson.
Concerns of the online film releases are on heightened alert after Disney’s release of its live-action version of Mulan resulted in its piracy and wide pick-ups in various online sites offering free video streaming.
Ferrer added that the very design of this year’s online filmfest is hoped to actually prevent it from the threats of piracy.
Last Friday, MMFF organizers announced the election of telco giant Globe as this year’s filmfest presenter, beating four other outfits that submitted proposals for the role. Access to the films that will be shown during the festival will be via Globe’s online ticketing arm GMovies, while actual showing will be done online via UPSTREAM.
Ticket pricing for the online filmfest shows a huge markdown from the usual P200-P250 cinema pricing range per person. For P250, access to a film will be given not just to one viewer but for an entire household (if they choose to watch together) as it can be used in any Smart TV set, for a given amount of time.
“We hope that with the ease of use, value for money ticket pricing and the fact that you can watch a movie x number of times over the agreed hours to access the films with your entire family people with find less reasons to pirate,” Ferrer explained.
UPSTREAM’s Dondon Monteverde, on the other hand, emphasized that on top of these safeguards against piracy, work is also underway to put in place a three-pronged approach in combating film pirating crimes in the Philippines on a larger scale.
“We will put up our own Task Force to put down piracy sites. We’ll also make sure that the infrastructure that we’re working with let us know if there are people downloading our films. Finally, makikipagtulungan kami with other government agencies to make sure na di mapa-pirate ang films,” he revealed.
The next buzz on this year’s film festival is expected between mid- and end-November when the final roster of entries will be announced to the public. All aspects of the festival will be done virtually, from the colorful Parade of Stars to the usually-controversial Awards Night.
Ticket selling on GMovies of the best entries from past editions of the MMFF will start on November 14 to get the public in the habit of buying their tickets online.
Globe Chief Executive Officer Ernest Cu said it is important to ensure that a tradition like the MMFF is kept alive especially at this time of the pandemic: “We aim to recreate the Christmas we love using digital means and hopefully bring more cheers to Filipinos through the filmfest,” he said.