Independent film festival Sinag Maynila was born from the vision of Solar Entertainment Corporation, CEO Wilson Tieng and renowned festival director Brillante Mendoza’s wish to have a festival that not only inspires but educates and enlightens Filipino movie audiences. Made up of five homegrown filmmakers handpicked and closely collaborated with by Tieng and Mendoza, the festival produced feature films that presented social issues currently faced in Filipino culture. After a successful run last March, the films have gone on to garner attention both in the country and abroad thanks to their compelling narrative.
Winner of the Best Picture Award at Sinag Maynila, “Imbisibol” by Lawrence Fajardo was invited for a screening at the Stockholm International Film Festival in Sweden last November 11. It also premiered at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto, Canada as it vied to win in the Contemporary World Cinema Programme last September. A screening was also held at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival and Focus on Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival in Japan. The film trains the spotlight on four undocumented Filipinos in Japan and their plight to escape deportation. The cast is led by JM De Guzman, Ces Quesada, Bernardo Bernardo, Allen Dizon and Ricky Davao. Imbisibol will have screenings in Iloilo: Dec 1-6 Davao: Dec 15-20 and Baguio: Dec 22, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30.
Another Sinag Maynila film “Balut Country” by Paul Sta. Ana is invited for a screening at the All Lights India International Film Festival in India this November. It also premiered at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival last October which was also attended by the film’s main actor Rocco Nacino. He stars as an heir to a duck farm left to him by his late father in “Balut Country”. The movie follows his difficult decision between selling the property for his own financial peace or keeping the land and sparing the farm’s loyal caretakers from displacement.
“Bambanti” by Zig M. Dulay recently won best film at festival international du film de Brussels. It has also been invited to compete in a series of film festivals this November— Ourense International Film Festival in Spain, the Asian Panorama film competition of International Children’s Film Festival in India where actor Micko Laurente won The Golden Elephant Trophy for Best Actor, Festival Des 3 Continents at Nantes, France, and in the Ajyal Youth Film Festival in Doha Film Institute, Qatar. The film bagged the Best Film award in the recent Festival International du Film de Bruxelles. Bambanti looks at the prejudgment of the rich towards the poor as mother and son embark to uncover the truth behind a missing watch. Stars Alessandra de Rossi, Micko Laurente, Julio Diaz, Shamaine Buencamino, and Lui Manansala.
Invited at the recent Minsk International Film Festival in Belarus was “Swap” by Remton Zuasola. This film is the only Asian film to be invited for screening at the Zabaltegi section of the 63rd San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain last September 18-26. Swap is also poised for another international screening in Japan for the upcoming Tokyo Filmex. Shot continuously with no cuts, the movie narrates the tale of a young father who is torn between solving a crime and committing another crime in order to save the life of his kidnapped son. Dionne Monsanto, Matt Daclan and Mon Confiado star in this action-drama.
The 2nd Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run in May 2016. For more updates, look for Sinag Maynila on Facebook (SinagMaynila), Twitter (@sinagmaynila), and Instagram (@sinagmaynila).