'We want to do bigger things': Erik Matti reacts to criticism about local movies being bad


Posted at Mar 06 2019 08:08 PM | Updated as of Mar 07 2019 01:21 AM

Erik Matti speaks at the New York Asian Film Festival back in July last year. His movie, "Buy Bust," starring Anne Curtis, was shown at the film festival. Reality Entertainment

MANILA - The winning formula for getting people back in cinemas to watch local films, supposedly, is just good storytelling. 

But the problem is that making movies is not quite as straightforward, as director Erik Matti pointed out in a Facebook post where he tried to educate those "who are quick and thoughtless to blame the loss of our Filipino audience to plain bad filmmaking."

It was just last month when Matti claimed that the local film industry is dying, pointing out that he and his peers cannot go on making movies if they aren't being shown in cinemas.

He continued this argument on Tuesday, though he did so by addressing the main complaint that have been popping up on social media about the supposed lackluster quality of local movies compared to their counterparts from Hollywood. 

"Yes, there are loads of those (bad films) that we produce each year but the problem isn't all that," he said. 

According to Matti, for producers to shell out money for a movie, there must be at least a guarantee that it will be given a fair shot at finding its audience via a regular run in cinemas. 

Unfortunately, "because every 300-million-dollar Hollywood movie is occupying the screens," Matti said, "producers would rather make movies that manage their financial risks." 

"Yes, all producers love the epic sleek well-made big budget movies but if you're not assured that your film can stay in the cinemas long enough for the audience to notice that that movie is playing or if you're not even sure if it's playing in the cinemas when the audience comes to watch it, how can the producers risk spending big on a movie?" he asked. 

"You think we always enjoy shooting two people talking in empty ex-deal cafes? We want to do bigger things too. 

"We want a meet cute in the heart of EDSA traffic with 3,000 onlookers. We want an MRT train exploding in front of Ortigas while an EDSA rally is simultaneously happening. 

"But what can we do when we can only afford a bench in an empty park to manage our financial investment?"

For Matti, to achieve a healthy industry, local movies should be given the same privileges as a Hollywood tentpole movie. 

"Producers always produce movies no matter how unpredictable the business structure of film producing is," he said. "We love telling stories. But we can only make good looking well made worth everyone's buck movies only if it's sustainable. 

"Give us the same privileges as a Hollywood tentpole movie and we'll give you a big budget epic movie worth your money. 

"Right now, it's not looking like that at all. Give our Filipino films a chance to be seen by the entire country. 

"That's all we are asking for."