I grew up watching MMFF films back when Mama still pays for my cinema tickets. She, of course, had the final say on what films we should watch so I remember watching the heavy drama ones like Mano Po 1 to 3, Jose Rizal, Tanging Yaman, Dekada '70, Bagong Buwan, etc. These are actually great films so I never really considered MMFF to be a "bad" festival.
I think it only started to dwindle a bit when then MMFF Chairman Bayani Fernando said in an interview that the three films to win first, second and third Best Picture will be based from the movies' box office numbers and even before that, award winners were deemed questionable and controversial. Star Cinema for one always had great entries, until they skipped a year or two after their films Bagong Buwan and Dekada '70 failed to win the big categories as expected.
I'm not really sure about the timeline but I remember MMFF being problematic even before despite having quality films. I think it was until mid to late 2000s when studios started to pass movies with more "commercial appeal". Thus, we were left with sequels after sequels and even combination of movies we have seen before.
That's why I think this year MMFF did not really change, instead I think it is back to its true form perhaps with better chair and jury. I thoroughly enjoyed this year's selections, and I'm happy to see that a lot of people do too. And since I've already seen all eight entries.. here comes the fun part, my personal ranking and awards:
1. Sunday Beauty Queen
2. Die Beautiful
3. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough
5. Saving Sally
7. Vince and Kath and James
Director: Baby Ruth Villarama, Sunday Beauty Queen
Runner up: Jun Robles Lana, Die Beautiful
Runner up: Die Beautiful
Actor: Paolo Ballesteros, Die Beautiful
Actress: Eugene Domingo, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough
Runner up: Irma Adlawan, Oro
Supporting Actor: Christian Bables, Die Beautiful
Runner up: Lou Veloso, Die Beautiful
Supporting Actress: Mercedes Cabral, Oro
Runner up: Rhed Bustamante, Seklusyon
Screenplay: Die Beautiful
Production Design: Seklusyon