The highly controversial MNL 143 finally found an audience at its unofficial premiere last Friday night.
The production of the film was initially marred by one of the most talked about controversies in local independent cinema, but the latest surprise in the ongoing saga was that the screening was held in the unlikeliest of places: the CCP.
The private screening; hosted by the Media Arts Department of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, initially seemed like a slap in the face to the Cinemalaya committee that had originally disqualified MNL 143. But in truth, the general mood of the screening wasn’t one laced with biterness or contempt; but one spotlit by triumph and camaraderie.
MNL 143 was screened privately at CCP’s Dream Theater to members of the production staff, cast and a number of select individuals; with introductory remarks from Ed Cabagnot from the CCP Media Arts Department, independent film advocate and actor Lilit Reyes and the film’s director Emerson Reyes.
Talking with Lagarista.com, MNL 143 producer Nestor Abrogena voiced their intentions of screening MNL 143 to as many people as possible.
The film will be premiered to the public on July 7, at the UP Film Institute with a campus tour of select schools soon to follow. Though no concrete plans of a local theatrical release have been made as of yet; MNL 143 is already scheduled to premiere abroad at the 66th Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland.
Having had the privilege of seeing the film in person; the inevitable question posed by those curious about MNL 143 is – was it worth the controversy?
But the answer to that question might be best answered at a later time, in it’s proper place, particularly with the MNL 143 review to be posted later this week.