Press Release
February 1, 2008


Saying that Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) holds no legal basis to handle Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada yesterday said he already filed a bill that transfers the organization, operation and management to Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MowelFund).

As stated in the bill's explanatory note, MMDA does not carry the task of managing MMFF: "The predecessor of MMDA, the Metropolitan Manila Commission, by tradition, manages the operation of MMFF, but this function was not carried in the present charter."

An award-winning actor himself, Estrada said that it is but fitting that the annual prestigious movie fest be handled by those who understand the entertainment industry and the real sentiments of people behind it.

"There are very few events where actors and actresses gather around and celebrate the glory that is Philippine cinema. It is depressing to note that in events like these, money-making potential supersedes proper recognition of artistic excellence and paying tribute to Filipino artists," Estrada said.

Estrada's Senate Bill 2041 aims to ensure the successful celebration of MMFF and prevent another controversy seen during last year's awards ceremonies, due to occupational disconnects in urban administration and organizing actors gala night.

It can be recalled that Estrada voiced out the actors and movie workers' disappointment over 2007 awards night, on issue of putting premium to raising funds to the extent of making movie producers cash cows by compelling them buy P30,000 worth of tickets and limiting audience seats to those who can pay as much as P5,000 which was once free for all.

The program was also rushed, without mentioning the award nominees and exacting one-minute time limits to victory speeches to make way for the concert.

Furthermore, Estrada's bill also intends to harness full potential of the movie and film industry to be a profitable business enterprise, and to accelerate preservation growth and development of the motion picture art and science in the country.

Under the SB 2041, the MMFF Executive Committee will be composed of Executive Director of MowelFund as Chairperson, and one representative each from Philippine Motion Picture Producers Association, Movie Producers and Distributors Association of the Philippines, Kapisanan ng mga Direktor ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Kapisanan ng mga Artistang Pilipino sa Pelikula at Telebisyon, Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines, Film Editors Guild for Motion Pictures, Filipino Society of Cinematographers, Sound Technicians Association for Motion Pictures, United Film Musical Directors of the Philippines, Production Designers Guild of the Philippines and Assistant Directors and Production Managers Guild of the Philippines as members.

MowelFund and the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) shall receive forty percent (40%) each of the MMFF income, while the remaining twenty percent (20%) shall be given to Motion Picture Anti-Piracy Council.

"I hope that with this proposed measure we can help the already ailing movie industry, to at least carry out in most appropriate manner possible the events that bring encouragement to our artists and film workers to become better. Moreover, by maintaining a film archive and raising standards of cinematic work, we wish to relive the Golden Age of Cinema," Estrada said.

Estrada also has pending Senate bills recommending government support to mainstream and independent film making, and reducing taxes levied against the movie industry.

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