Veteran director Erik Matti expressed his dismay over Metro Manila Film Festival’s (MMFF) decision to include Vice Ganda’s Praybeyt Benjamin 3 as part of its official entries. The Kapamilya star’s movie is the third film in the series that follows The Unkabogable: Praybeyt Benjamin (2011) and The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin (2014).
In his Facebook post, Matti denounced Vice Ganda’s film along with other issues that the country is facing.
“Bagsak na nga ang pelikula, sumara na ABS, Praybeyt Benjamin pa rin palabas sa Pasko?” he said.
“Walang nagbago a! Kinangkina!” he added.
Bagsak na nga ang pelikula, sumara na ABS, Praybeyt Benjamin pa rin palabas sa Pasko? Walang nagbago a! Kinangkina!
The director was frustrated that MMFF decided to include Praybeyt Benjamin 3 in its official entries. The other entries are Magikland, Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan, and The Exorcism of My Siszums.
He pointed out that with the downfall of the film industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shut down of the ABS-CBN network, he was hoping to have some changes with the movies as part of the ‘new normal’. The director was shocked that Vice Ganda’s movie will still part of the cinemas at Christmas.
In his other Facebook post, Matti mentioned that Filipinos still haven’t learned anything despite the crisis that we are all facing. In the 5 months of lockdown, the director said that the quality of films in the theatres still hasn’t changed as Praybeyt Benjamin‘s third installment is going to be launched.
5 months lockdown. Thousands of content binged. Biggest network closes. Praybeyt Benjamin. We never learned.
“5 months lockdown. Thousands of content binged. Biggest network closes. Praybeyt Benjamin. We never learned,” the director wrote.
Matti also posted his opinions and realizations in the duration of the lockdown as a film director.
Over the 5 month lockdown, Dondon and I racked our brains at what’s next in entertainment. I ravaged through anything I…
He said that he and producing partner Dondon Monteverde had been racking their brains out on thinking what could be the future of their company, Reality Entertainment, could be. He wondered which direction should they go because according to him, arts and entertainment suffered a lot in this COVID-19 pandemic.
The director mentioned that he has been watching old and new movies, different tv series, YouTube vlogs and even cooking vlogs as a preparation for the new normal in the film industry. He said that he might as well try something new or go back to the basics of filmmaking.
“The initial thoughts I had, as a filmmaker, was to go back to basics. Small crew, small stories, personal, light, and relevant. And true enough, with the many limitations on safety and health, I think that’s the way to go. And given how small it will be, the filmmaker now is afforded the chance to refresh storytelling techniques and dramatic structures hopefully giving birth to something new that everyone can welcome from all these months of drudgery,” he said.
Matti thinks that a change is needed not only with the people but also with the film industry. He hoped that the films created will be of great significance and quality and not just with what could click with the audience so that businesses could get back on their feet. He said that people must change because the world has changed.
“5 months is too much time to stay the same. If we do stay the same, then it could be all about greed now. If not greed, then it’s fear of jumping into the unknown. But if it’s not either of those, then it’s arrogance and laziness. And if it’s that, then I guess it’s really best we close down until further notice,” the director said.
The Unkabogable: Praybeyt Benjamin in 2011 was the first Filipino film to break the P300 million mark at the box office. It is the highest-grossing Filipino film in 2011 and once held the title of the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time, until it was surpassed by the 2012 Metro Manila Film Fest entry, Sisterakas. The film made Vice Ganda the Phenomenal Box Office Star of 2011, awarded by the Box Office Entertainment Awards. It was written and directed by the late Wenn V. Deramas.
Many Filipinos appreciated the comedian’s movie because it is a family-friendly film that made the family members of the Filipino people laugh. The film made the people’s Christmas happier as they were able to watch something which teaches about the unity of a family and the people.
Director Erik Matti is known for directing On the Job (2013), Honor Thy Father (2015), Seklusyon (2016), BuyBust (2018), and Kuwaresma (2019). His other directing credits include Ekis (1999), Mano Po 2 (2003), Gagamboy (2004), Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles (2012) and its sequel Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2 (2014). He co-founded the production company Reality Entertainment with Dondon Monteverde, son of film producer Lily Monteverde. He won as Best Director in the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival with his film Seklusyon (2016).