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Top MMFF Awards for Larawan, Siargao Shine Light on Artists Turned Entrepreneurs Behind Both Films

Some of the actors and crew are also shareholders in outfits that produced the festival's two most awarded movies
By Elyssa Christine Lopez |



The musical film Ang Larawan winning best picture and Siargao as second best picture at the Metro Manila Film Festival’s Awards Night on December 27 must have felt sweet for the artists in both movies. It must be doubly so for those who not only performed creative roles but also co-own the companies that produced the films.


Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo and Rachel Alejandro, who acted and sang in Ang Larawan, also own 45 percent and five percent, respectively, of the capital stock of Culturtain Musicat Productions, which was incorporated in 2014 with a paid-up capital of only Php1 million. The three-year-old company usually produces plays and musicals. Ang Larawan was its first venture into movie production. Other shareholders include talent manager Maria Josefina Rodis, who owns 45 percent; Dominador Gallardo, 2.5 percent; and Maria Gallardo, 2.5 percent.


Similarly, Paul Soriano, director of Siargao, owns 55 percent of Ten17 Productions, the company that made the movie. Soriano is also the company’s CEO. It was incorporated in 2013 with a paid-up capital of Php625,000. The movie set in the surfing town of Surigao Del Sur bagged seven awards, including best director for Soriano. Other shareholders include Ernest Escaler, who owns 40 percent; Jaime Emilio Delos Angeles, 2.5 percent; and Mark Alan Victor, 2.5 percent.


While this is the first time that Ten17 Productions has joined the MMFF, it has been producing award-winning films since its inception four years ago, including Cinemalaya 2013’s Best Film, Transit, and the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize-winner at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival, Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, to name a few.


Like Culturtain and Ten17, the producer of the festival’s third best movie, All of You, is also a relatively new company. Quantum Films was incorporated only in 2010 and has been participating in the MMFF since 2014 and won this year’s award for best screenplay. John Victor Tence owns 40 percent of the company which has a paid-up capital of only Php625,000. Other owners are Josebeth Alonso, who is also credited as the company’s founder, with 25-percent stake; Armando Lao, 20 percent; and Jericho Antonio, Angels Antonio and Rafael Antonio, with five percent each.


Another newly founded movie production house that participated in this year’s MMFF is T-Rex Productions, incorporated only in 2017. Its film festival entry, Deadma Walking, got a best supporting actor award. The production company was founded by serial entrepreneur Rex Tiri, who also heads medical supplies distributor Lifeline Diagnostics Supplies Inc.     


Compared to the aforementioned four movie production companies, which were all incorporated in the last seven years, the rest of the outfits that took part in the MMFF this 2017 are seasoned veterans most of which have been around for decades. Some of these older companies are also better-capitalized than their newer counterparts.




Related story: How Much Money Are Star Cinema, GMA Films, Regal, Viva and Other Local Film Stuidos Making?



The highest-earning film production company in the country, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.’s movie outfit, Star Cinema, for example, was founded in 2003. It has a paid-up capital of Php318 million. It has two film entries in the film fest this year: Vice Ganda’s comeback film, Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad, and a reboot of Ang Panday. Viva Entertainment Inc. or Viva Films, the second-highest earning studio based on Entrepreneur Philippines’ research, was incorporated back in 1997 and has a paid-up capital of Php252.1 million. It has one entry as it co-produced Ang Panday.


Meanwhile, the movie production triad of APT Entertainment, M-Zet Productions and OctoArts Films, which submitted the Vic Sotto starrer Meant to Beh as their MMFF entry, have been around for far longer. APT was incorporated in 1994, M-Zet in 1990 and OctoArts in 1989, and each has a paid-up capital of Php500,000 or less. Industry stalwart Lily Monteverde’s Regal Entertainment, which produced the lone horror flick in the entire fest, Haunted Forest, was incorporated in 1996. It has a paid-up capital of about Php1 billion.






Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz

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