Metro Manila Film Festival

Metro Manila Film Festival
2016 Metro Manila Film Festival

The logo of Metro Manila Film Festival since 2016
Awarded for Excellence in cinematic achievements
Location Manila
Country Philippines
Presented by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
Manila Broadcasting Company
First awarded December 1975
Official website Metro Manila Film Festival official website

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is an annual film festival held in Metro Manila, the Philippines. The festival, which runs from December 25 (Christmas) through New Years Day and into first weekend of January in the following year, focuses on Filipino films. During the course of the festival, only films approved by the jurors of the MMFF are shown in movie theaters. No foreign movies are shown except in 3D theaters and IMAX theaters.

The annual event began with the 1975 Metro Manila Film Festival, during which Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa ("Water the Thirsty Earth with Dew") by Augusto Buenaventura won the best film award.[1]

One of the festival highlights is the parade of floats at the opening of the festival. The floats, each one representing a movie entry with their respective stars, parade down Roxas Boulevard. On the awards night, a Best Float award is also announced along with the major acting awards.


Mayor of Manila Antonio Villegas in 1970, founder of the "Manila Film Festival".
The logo of Metro Manila Film Festival from 2010-2016

A precursor the current festival began in 1966. Then-mayor of Manila Antonio Villegas inaugurated the "Manila Film Festival" ("Manila Tagalog Film Festival").[2] It was a 12-day event from June 14 through June 24, Manila's birthday, during which only locally produced films could be shown in the theatres. The festival featured a parade in downtown Manila of actors and the featured films. In addition, in an effort to promote Philippine films, Antonio Villegas banned the showing of foreign films at movie houses during the Manila Film Festival.[3] Most of the first batch of the festival films came up with English titles.[4] Despite the lack of support, there were different changes in making the festival flourish.[5] Ultimately, the festival failed.

The Best films of Manila Film Festival included "Daigdig ng mga Api' (1966), "Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak" (1967), "Manila, Open City" (1968), "Patria Adorada" (1969), "Dimasalang" (1970), "Cadena de Amor" (1971), "Elias, Basilio at Sisa" (1972), "Nueva Vizaya" (1973), "Alaala mo Daigdig Ko" (1974). From 1975 to 1990, Manila Film Festival was discontinued as Metro Manila Film Festival took over.

On September 21, 1975, during the Marcos dictatorship, the current film festival began under the name "1975 Metropolitan Film Festival" (MFF). In 1977, name changed to "Metro Manila Film Festival".

After Villegas' death in 1984, a special award in the Metro Manila Film Festival, the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award, was created in his honor and is given to the best film that best portrays Philippine culture and Filipino people to the world.[6] MRN Film International's Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina? was the first one to receive the lifetime achievement award in 1990.[7] Since then, it has been awarding prestigious films that deserves the honors.

In 2010, the film festival underwent some changes. First, the commercial viability criterion (box-office performance of the entries) was removed. As of 2010, the criteria for the selection of Best Picture(s) are: artistry; creativity and technical excellence; innovation; and thematic value. Entries are also judged for global appeal (70 percent) and Filipino cultural and/or historical value (30 percent). In addition, the festival format gave a tribute to independent "indie" films. Lastly, the established board of jurors was expanded to include housewives, drivers, students, teachers, etc. The festival logo was changed to feature a map of the Metropolis of Manila, based on the old seal of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority with seventeen stars on it symbolizing the 17 cities and municipality of Metro Manila. The logo for the first 35 festivals featured a torch.[8]

In September 2011, Atty. Francis Tolentino, then-chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) changed the category name of "indie" films to "New Wave" films to make it sound better and more attractive to hear, as well as including "Student Short Film Category" for the first time.[9] Consequently, the next year, the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival held in 2012 became the highest earning MMFF to date with 767 million pesos, 21% higher than that of 2011.[10]

In January 2013 review, writer Jessica Zafra complained, "Speaking of standards, why do we bother to review the festival entries when most of them are rubbish? Because they're not supposed to be rubbish! Contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, 'entertainment' and 'commercial appeal' are not synonyms for 'garbage'. There are good commercial movies, and there are bad commercial movies. The bad outnumber the good because the studios think the viewers are idiots."[11]

Notable incidents

There have been numerous notable incidents during the various festivals.[12][13]

In 1977, director Lino Brocka walked out of the awarding ceremonies at the Metropolitan Theater when Celso Ad. Castillo's Burlesk Queen starring Vilma Santos won eight of the ten awards including the Best Picture award during the 3rd Metro Manila Film Festival. Mr. Brocka reportedly threw invectives at Rolando Tinio, who was the chairman of the panel of judges of the festival. It was also reported that organizers asked the winners to return their medals (the MMFF handed out medals that year) due to the controversy.

In 1978, the board of jurors decided to not award honors for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress on the 4th Metro Manila Film Festival. Instead, the jurors gave Nora Aunor a "Best Performer" award for her role in the movie Atsay. Ms. Aunor beat Ms. Santos, whom fortune-tellers on the talk show of Inday Badiday and many moviegoers predicted would win the award for her role in the movie Rubia Servios. When Nora accepted her award, she cried "Mama, mali ang hula nila" ("Mama, their prediction is wrong") because many asserted that her film "Atsay" is her last card for saving her career. Her winning the Best Performer Award sent hordes of anti-Aunor sectors to protest.

In 1983, during the awards night of the 9th Metro Manila Film Festival, many were surprised after Coney Reyes won the Best Actress award for the movie Bago Kumalat ang Dugo and Anthony Alonzo is given the Best Actor award for the same movie, besting acting greats Charito Solis, Phillip Salvador, and Vic Silayan, who were all in the movie Karnal. In addition, juror's standards of giving Willie Milan the Best Director award against Lino Brocka is questioned.

In 1986, for the first time, the 12th Metro Manila Film Festival did not give out the traditional first and second Best Picture awards as well as the other two categories: Best Story and Best Screenplay. According to one of the jurors, Tingting Cojuangco stated: "No one of the seven entries deserved these awards..." He added that they: "...would like to express [their] concern over the current state of the Philippine movie industry as reflected in the entries to the year's MMFF...[The entries] failed to reinforce and inculcate positive Filipino values by portraying negative stereotypes, imitating foreign films and perpetuating commercially-oriented movies...".[14]

In 1988 during the award-giving ceremony of the 14th Metro Manila Film Festival, stuntman and character actor-turned-filmmaker Baldo Marro won the Best Actor for Patrolman film, which also won him the Best Director award. In fact, he was not known before this. He bested prizewinning director Chito Roño of Itanong Mo Sa Buwan in the division, sending uproar from well-meaning critics and regular local film observers. Nevertheless, the announced Best Director award goes to Laurice Guillen.[15]

In 1993, during the "Gabi ng Parangal" of the 1993 Metro Manila Film Festival, the list of winners was supposedly leaked.[16]

In 1994, during the "Gabi ng Parangal" of 20th Metro Manila Film Festival held in PICC, the six major awards (Three Best Pictures, Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Awards, Best Director, and Best Screenplay) were not given as Alejandro Roces, chairman of the Board of Jurors announced that "none of the entries was deserving".[17] On the side note, the Manila Film Fest (MFF) had a similar, but different case in which both the Best Actress and Best Actor awards were given to Ruffa Gutierrez and Gabby Concepcion respectively instead of the supposed-to-be winners.[18][19]

In 2001, on December 27 of the 27th Metro Manila Film Festival, Cesar Montano, although he received the Best Actor award, expressed his disappointment that his film, Bagong Buwan did not receive the Best Picture award. He states: "For me, Bagong Buwan is still the best picture. No offense meant, but for others, Yamashita may be the best picture. Kanya-kanya 'yan. Wala nga lang kaming trophy. Bibili na lang kami ng trophy sa Recto. (To each his own. We just don't have a trophy. We'll just buy one in Recto)." referring to a strip on C.M. Recto Avenue in Manila notorious for manufacturing fake diplomas, certificates and trophies.[17]

In 2002, first, the cast of the film Dekada '70 walked out of the award ceremonies after Lualhati Bautista failed to win the Best Story and Best Screenplay awards. Even more controversial was the decision of the judges to name the first-timer Ara Mina the Best Actress for her role in Mano Po, beating multi-awarded Vilma Santos, who was in Dekada '70. In addition, the producers of the films Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut and Lastikman protested the non-inclusion of the two films as official entries, prompting the Metro Manila Film Festival committee to extend the annual event. Consequently, the committee extended the film screenings to seven days to accommodate two more films which did not make it to the entries.

Speaking of the films, Chito Rono, director of Second Best Picture Dekada '70, was curious as to why was Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut named the Third Best Picture award if the officials disqualify it as an official entry. In the same way, the production team of Ang Agimat: Antin-Anting ni Lolo was also appalled to the decision of the jurors to give the Best Visual Effects award to Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut if they only use "mono", beating their use of the more advanced "Dolby Digital system".[20]

In 2005, director Joel Lamangan walked out after he lost to Jose Javier Reyes. Lamangan failed to win the Best Director for Blue Moon against Reyes' Kutob. In the same year, Regal Films's matriarch Lily Monteverde voiced out her disappointment as she lamented that some winners in the festival were "undeserving".

In 2006, Octoarts Films and M-Zet Production's Enteng Kabisote 3: Okay Ka, Fairy Ko: The Legend Goes On and On and On was declared the Best Picture after festival organizers changed the criteria for the award by giving more weight to "commercial appeal". As it was the only prize that the film won, the decision to let the film receive it becomes the subject of yet another controversy at the festival. Movie producer Star Cinema made a protest to the MMDA and wrote to then MMFF chairman Bayani Fernando, claiming that the movie Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo should have won Best Picture because it topped the box office for the first few days.

In 2007, the awards night ended in less than an hour after festival organizers decided to just announce the winners without even mentioning the nominees for each category. The organizers explained that it had to be rushed and had to end at exactly 9pm because a concert, featuring singer Lani Misalucha, was scheduled right after the awards ceremonies.

In 2011, Amable "Tikoy" Aguiluz declined to accept the award for Best Director for the movie Manila Kingpin after he claimed that the movie "was edited without his consent beyond his recognition."

In 2014, Rina Navarro, one of the producers of Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo questioned the result of the panel's judgement in the awards night. The movie won the most coveted Best Picture award but it failed to win the other major categories such as the Best Director award, the Best Actor and Best Actress awards, the Best Screenplay award, and the Best Original Story award all of which went to Dan Villegas' English Only, Please.

In 2015, a day before the awards night, Erik Matti's Honor Thy Father was disqualified for the Best Picture award after being screened at the Cinema One Originals. Dondon Monteverde, the film's producer, revealed that they did disclose this information beforehand. He attested that its premiere at the Cinema One festival didn't generate revenue which complies by the rules. He also questioned the timing of this decision, one day before the awards ceremony, and he demanded an investigation.[21]


Festival Year Awards Night Venue Date
1st Metro Manila Film Festival 1975
2nd Metro Manila Film Festival 1976
3rd Metro Manila Film Festival 1977
4th Metro Manila Film Festival 1978
5th Metro Manila Film Festival1979
6th Metro Manila Film Festival1980
7th Metro Manila Film Festival1981 Cultural Center of the Philippines December 27
8th Metro Manila Film Festival1982
9th Metro Manila Film Festival1983 Cultural Center of the Philippines December 27
10th Metro Manila Film Festival1984
11th Metro Manila Film Festival1985 Rizal Theater, Philippines December 27, Friday
12th Metro Manila Film Festival1986 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), PasigDecember 27, Saturday
13th Metro Manila Film Festival1987 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 27, Sunday
14th Metro Manila Film Festival1988 Philippine International Convention CenterDecember 27
15th Metro Manila Film Festival1989 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 27
16th Metro Manila Film Festival1990 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 27, Thursday
17th Metro Manila Film Festival1991 University of Life Theater and Recreational Area (ULTRA), Pasig December 28, Saturday
18th Metro Manila Film Festival1992 PICC Reception Hall December 28, Monday
19th Metro Manila Film Festival1993 PICC Plenary Hall December 27, Monday
20th Metro Manila Film Festival1994 Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) December 27, Tuesday
21st Metro Manila Film Festival1995
22nd Metro Manila Film Festival1996
23rd Metro Manila Film Festival1997
24th Metro Manila Film Festival1998
25th Metro Manila Film Festival1999
26th Metro Manila Film Festival2000
27th Metro Manila Film Festival2001 PICC Plenary Hall December 27
28th Metro Manila Film Festival2002 Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) December 27, Friday
29th Metro Manila Film Festival 2003 Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay CityDecember 27, Saturday
30th Metro Manila Film Festival 2004
31st Metro Manila Film Festival2005
32nd Metro Manila Film Festival 2006
33rd Metro Manila Film Festival 2007 SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay
34th Metro Manila Film Festival 2008 Harbor Garden Tent, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila, Philippines December 27
35th Metro Manila Film Festival 2009 SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, PasayDecember 28
36th Metro Manila Film Festival 2010 Meralco TheaterDecember 26
37th Metro Manila Film Festival2011 Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Pasay CityDecember 28
38th Metro Manila Film Festival 2012Meralco Theater, Ortigas Center, Pasig CityDecember 27
39th Metro Manila Film Festival 2013Meralco Theater, Ortigas Center, Pasig City December 27
40th Metro Manila Film Festival 2014PICC Plenary Hall December 27
41st Metro Manila Film Festival 2015 Kia Theatre, Araneta Center, Quezon City December 28
42nd Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 Kia Theatre, Araneta Center, Quezon City December 28

Merit categories

Festival awards

Special awards

Other awards

New Wave categories

Short film categories

Other categories

Most wins

This is a list of superlative Metro Manila Film Festival winners. This list is current as of the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival "Gabi ng Parangal" (awards ceremony) held on December 27, 2015.

The following are fifteen films which have received ten or more awards in different categories.

Film Record SetYearProduction company(s)Notes
José Rizal171998GMA Films*won all awards except Best Actress
10,000 Hours142013VIVA Films, Philippine Film Studios and N2 Productions
Magic Temple1996Star Cinema
Muro-Ami131999GMA Films
Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story122011VIVA Communications Inc., and Scenema Concept International
Mano Po2002Regal Films
Yamashita: The Tiger's Treasure112001MAQ Productions
Muling Umawit ang Puso1995VIVA Films
Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina?1990MRN Film International
Imortal1989VIVA Films
Baler102008Viva Communications
Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo2006Star Cinema
Nasaan ang Puso1997MAQ Productions
Halimaw sa Banga1986NCV Productions*only the third Best Picture is given.
Kisapmata1981Bancom Audiovision
Best Director
Director Record SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Joel Lamangan319952009
Jose Javier Reyes19932006
Marilou Diaz-Abaya 19801999
Best Actor
Actor Record SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Christopher de Leon819762008
Cesar Montano319982006
Anthony Alonzo19831987
Best Actress
Actress Record SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Nora Aunor819782012
Maricel Soriano519972013
Vilma Santos419772004
Amy Austria319801996
Jennylyn Mercado220142015
Best Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor Record SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Pen Medina219992013
Cesar Montano19892012
Phillip Salvador20082009
Johnny Delgado19792006
Ronaldo Valdez19931997
Dick Israel19881994
Best Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress Record SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Eugene Domingo320072011
Cherie Gil19852000
Nida Blanca219751997
Most combined awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director.
Name Record SetCategories won
Cesar Montano6 3 Best Actor, 2 Best Supporting Actor, 1 Best Director
Eddie Garcia3 2 Best Director, 1 Best Actor
Mario O'Hara 2 Best Director, 1 Best Actor
Johnny Delgado 2 Best Supporting Actor, 1 Best Actor
Dolphy2 Best Actor, 1 Best Supporting Actor
Vic Silayan21 Best Actor, 1 Best Supporting Actor
Most combined awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
Name Record SetCategories won
Amy Austria43 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Charito Solis2 1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Gina Alajar1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Hilda Koronel1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress


  1. "Metro Manila Film Festival:1975". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  2. "Subsidize movie industry – Lito Atienza". 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  3. Villegas, Antonio Jr. YEBA: Young, Executive, Brilliant Administrator. unpublished.
  4. "Film Academy of the Philippines". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  5. Hawkins, Michael Gary (2008). Co-producing the Postcolonial: U.S.-Philippine Cinematic Relations, 1946--1986.
  6. "Metro Manila Film Festival". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  7. "Metro Manila Film Festival: Awards for 1990". Internet Movie Database.
  8. "Changes in 2010 MMFF introduced". Yahoo. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  9. "‘Indie’ out, ‘New Wave’ in". Tempo. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  10. Marfori, MJ. "38th MMFF posts record P767-M gross, says festival head". InterAksyon. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  11. Zafra, Jessica (2013-01-02). "Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 Moviethon Day 6: The battle for Dingdong's dingdong". Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  12. "Through the years: Controversies in the MMFF". Business World Online. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  13. "A look at the past MMFF controversies". ABS-CBN. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
  14. Cojuangco, Tingting. Metro Manila Film Festival Award Ceremonies. ULTRA, Pasig. December 27, 1986.
  15. Philippine Daily Inquirer. "Austria, Marro win top honors in Metro filmfest". December 28, 1988. Newspaper Print.
  16. "A scandal-free Metro Manila Filmfest". Philstar. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  17. 1 2 Ranoa-Bismark, Maridol. "Montano, De Rossi, Yamashita top awardees at Metro Filmfest". The Philippine Star. December 29, 2001. Newspaper Print.
  18. "Looking Back: Showbiz scandals that raised public outcry". Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  19. "Filipino Actress Steals The Show". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  20. Lo, Ricky. "Filmfest: The night of the young blood". The Philippine Star. December 29, 2002. Newspaper Print.
  21. Retrieved January 2, 2016
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