After MMFF snub, 'Thy Womb' invited to Venice

Posted at 07/26/2012 5:16 PM | Updated as of 07/26/2012 6:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- The independent film "Thy Womb" from director Brillante Mendoza has been invited to compete at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival after failing to get a slot in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Nora Aunor during the filming for "Thy Womb." File photo

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) on Thursday announced that the Nora Aunor-starrer, alternately titled "Sa 'Yong Sinapupunan," has been invited to join the Main Competition Section at this year's Venice International Film Festival.

The FDCP is a co-producer of the independent film.

Slated for a release later this year, "Thy Womb" is centered around Aunor's character, a midwife coping with her own infertility. 

The film also stars Bembol Roco, Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral.

MMFF 'snub'

The competing films for the 38th MMFF was announced last month and "Thy Womb," which had vied for a slot in the annual film fest, was not among them.

In an earlier interview with ABS-CBNnews.com, Mendoza said he bears no ill feelings toward the organizers of the MMFF.

"First of all, I respect the decision of the screening committee. Secondly, of course it's their basic right, kung ano man ang decision nila," he said.

At the time, Mendoza also belied rumors that "Thy Womb" would instead vie for an international nod, saying that it should first be seen by any filmfest organizer.

"The only time na pwede mong masabing natanggap ka if it's officially launched by the festival itself. So 'yung mga filmmakers o kung sino man ang nagsasabi diyan na 'pang-Cannes ito, pang-Venice, ito pang-Berlin itong ginagawa ko,' they can never say that, not until the screening committee of the film festival says so na ‘OK we are accepting your film.’ At hindi nila masasabi 'yon hanggang 'di pa natatapos ang film," he explained.

The criteria in the selection of the MMFF's final eight entries include commercial viability, artistic merit, and cultural and historical value.

"Thy Womb" is among 17 films in the international competition, including "To the Wonder" by American director Terrence Malick, starring Ben Affleck; Japan's "Outrage Beyond"; and Brian de Palma's "Passion."

Another Nora Aunor film, "Himala," by the late Ishmael Bernal will also be shown in the Venice International Film Festival.

"Himala" is the first film to be restored in high definition quality by the ABS-CBN Restoration Project, in partnership with Central Digital Lab, Inc.