Official statement from the MMFF Execom:
This year, the Metro Manila Film Festival's Executive Committee introduced a most crucial policy change. Instead of basing the selection process on screenplays, as has been the practice for many years, it now requires the submission of finished movies.
Our decision to accept films submitted and finished at the picture lock stage is merely a clarification of the rules and NOT a revision.
This allows the refinement of all eventual eight finalists in terms of sound, music, color, and visual effects, but definitely disallows any alteration to the edit of the film.
For the information of the public, "picture lock" is defined as a stage in film editing prior to online editing when all changes to the film cut have been done and approved. It is then sent to subsequent stages in the process, such as online editing and audio mixing. (Ascher, Steven and Pincus, Edward. The Filmmaker"s Handbook:A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age. 2007).
Further, to shed light on the matter, we asked the opinion of two of the industry's veteran film editors. Here, in their own words, is their definition of picture lock:
"Isang buong pelikula na walang music, fx, grading etc. Hindi na pwedeng magalaw ang pelikula dahil nakalock na nga, ibig sabihin wala ng pwedeng madagdag o mabawas na eksena. Kung ang isasubmit ng producer ay picture lock at isang criteria sa pagpili ay technicality, na sa MMFF eh 40%, ibig sabihin mababa ang score na makukuha nila sa technicalities, mahihirapan silang makapasok sa top 8." - Edgardo "Boy" Vinarao.
'Picture lock' means Final Approved Offline edit of the movie, pwedeng may music o wala pero wala pang visual effects, color grading or any enhancement ng picture or ng video. Ang 'Picture Lock' or Final Approved Offline ang magiging basehan sa 'online', meaning pwedeng gawin lahat ng enhancement sa video at audio para mapaganda ang quality ng buong pelikula pero HINDI DAPAT GALAWIN ANG EDIT DAHIL ITO AY PICTURE LOCK NA." - Danny Anonuevo.
Finally, this decision seeks to ensure that come December 25, moviegoers will get the best and most superbly crafted movies they deserve.