Friday, September 20, 2013

Bizarre CineFilipino incident at Lucky Chinatown, Manila

A strange thing happened during my CineFilipino foray at Lucky Chinatown yesterday morning (19-September). 

I was at the counter to buy ticket for the 10:15 am screening of The Guerrilla is a Poet. I was dumbfounded when the girl said that she will only sell tickets if there are three other patrons. A man behind me reiterated his intention to buy a ticket. I learned later that he was told to buy three tickets in order for the screening to push through. It is a good thing he held his ground. So, there we were, waiting for two more patrons.

A lady, who'd came all over from Alabang, approached the booth and tried to buy a ticket for The Guerrilla is a Poet screening. The counter girl hesitated a bit. I butted in to say that since there are three willing viewers then maybe they can finally sell tickets. The counter girl talked to someone and came back later to sell us the tickets.

During my whole stay there in the vicinity of the ticket booth, I'd overheard films not pushing through because only one or two people expressed interest to buy tickets. The policy of the Lucky Chinatown cineplex group it seems is to push through with screenings only if there are a handful of potential viewers. But, I hope that they do not apply that policy to festival films.

What I had experienced is in stark contrast to SM Cinema group's handling of the Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival. Despite marketing complaints, the group is to be commended for its simultaneous screenings of festival films nationwide for a period of one week. Even the group's plush cinemas participated in the festival. When I tried to buy a ticket at SM Aura's Directors Club cinema, the counter girl immediately assisted me right away. There is no more checking if there are other viewers interested to buy tickets. The screening will definitely push through even if it was only me watching the film.

If the CineFilipino film festival has the tagline 'Kuwento ang Hari,' then the Lucky Chinatown cineplex group's tagline should be 'Kuwarta ang Hari.'

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