The premiere of Brillante Mendoza’s film Kinatay at the University of the Philippines Film Center on Thursday, July 30, might not push through as scheduled. According to lawyer Teddy Te, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) will issue a preventive suspension order against UP to prevent the screening.
There is an ongoing debate between UP and the MTRCB over whether the University (and the Cultural Center of the Philippines) is exempted from MTRCB review. During the term of MTRCB Chair Armida Siguion-Reyna, it was understood that UP and CCP can screen films without MTRCB permits.
Apparently the MTRCB had received complaints following the screening of the movie Sagwan at the UP Film Center (In other words, nasagwaan sa Sagwan). A cease and desist order was then sent to UP. The University has reportedly agreed that film screenings should only be for UP students and film critics. Questions were raised over the sale of tickets to the Kinatay premiere. The tickets were going for P150 each.
MalacaÃ±ang has stepped into the discussion, calling for a dialogue between the MTRCB and UP. Recently President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave Brillante Mendoza a one-million peso prize for winning Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.