Thursday, April 2

SINAG MAYNILA: Showcasing Indie Films with Socially Relevant Issues

Sinag Maynila 2015 a venue for brilliant film makers

Sinag Maynila is the latest film festival showcasing the ingenuity of notable directors known in the local indie movie scene. Together with Cannes Palme d’Or awardee director Brillante Mendoza, Solar Entertainment Corporation launched Sinag Maynila in SM Aura and the awarding ceremony took place last March 21, 2015 at the same venue.

I was privileged to attend the Sinag Maynila awards night and able to experience the camaraderie among the who’s who in the local movie industry. The event was well-attended by known film personalities and luminaries.

What is Sinag Maynila?

Sinag Maynila is a brilliant collaboration between director Brillante Mendoza and Solar Entertainment bigwig Mr. Wilson Tieng. This newest film festival aims to showcase amazing works of the finest indie film directors. SM Cinemas pledged its support to the local movie film industry by being the venue for Sinag Maynila 2015 film showing. With this arrangement, Sinag Maynila was able to target a wide spectrum of audiences who enjoyed watching movies with social relevance.

The jury for Sinag Maynila were carefully chosen among reputable dignitaries such as F. Sionil Jose (National Artist for Philippine Literature), Paolo Bertolin (Film Critic and Producer), Tito Valiente (Film Educator, Critic, Poet, Anthropologist), Armanda Lao (Movie Director/Screenwriter), John Badalu (Film Producer) and Bienvenido Lumbera (National Artist for Philippine Literature).

The 5 Sinag Maynila 2015 Entrees

Sinag Maynila 5 film entrees were shown for one week at chosen SM Cinema branches last March 18 to 24, 2015. These original indie pinoy films mirrored the nation’s social issues which are very relevant in today’s society.

The movie centered around the lives of four Pinoy OFWs in Japan. Benjie, Linda, Manuel and Rodel epitomized the typical hide and seek scenario of many illegal workers in Japan. For these four people, the only thing to do is to remain “imbisibol” (invisible) in order to survive.

Directed by Lawrence Fajardo with story written by Herlyn Gail Alegre and John Paul Bedia, the movie IMBISIBOL showcased the unparalleled talents of its cast Bernardo Bernardo, Ces Queseda, Allen Dizon and JM de Guzman. Imbisibol also stars Ricky Davao, JC Santos, Only Torres, Naoki Takai, Shinpei Suzuki, May Alleman, Kaz Sawamura, Masaharu Iwamoto and Oyee Barro.

This is the story of a father who is struggling to solve a crime while in a process of committing a crime himself. His son is abducted and kidnappers asked him to snatch another child in exchange for his only son.

Swap is directed and written by Remton Zuasola. The cast includes Mon Confiado, Dionne Monsato and Matt Daclan. Also in the movie are Publio Briones, Ramon Bagatsing, Jesus Mendoza, Genica Ines Mijares, Charisse Mari Fonacier, Natileigh Sitoy, Maria Cristina Mondragon, Eli Razo, and Ronyel Compra.

This indie film leaned on a controversy of discovering one’s sexuality with rumors of the existence of a secret orgy group. The story centered on the lives of popular female students of a posh Catholic high school. This film clearly tackles the struggles among young women torn between morality and sexual discoveries.

Ninja Party is directed by Jim Libiran and written by the director himself with Dominic Lim and Iris Lee. The cast consists of Annicka Dolonius, Julz Savard, Bea Galvez, Elora Espano, Mariz Reyes, Japo Parcero, Odette Khan, Teresa Loyzaga and Denise Marasigan.

The movie centered on the life of Jun being the only heir to the balut/duck farm handed to him by his late father. Torn between selling the property for securing a better future or maintaining the duck farm for their loyal caretakers is the focal point of this interesting movie.  

Written and directed by Paul Sta. Ana, Balut Country stars Rocco Nacino, Ronnie Quizon, Angela Cortez, Nanette Inventor and Vincent Magbanua. Also in this movie are Archi Adamos, Jelson Bay, Leo Sarmiento, and Denise Jewel Alfonso. 

Bambanti storyline started with a search for a missing watch which brings out the pains of discovering the truth in the lives of Belyn and her son.

This film is directed and written by Zig Dulay which stars Alessandra de Rossi, Julio Diaz, Lui Manansala, Micko Laurente and Shamaine Buencamino with Delphine Buencamino, Erlinda Villalobos, Celio Aquino, Abegail Edillo and Kiki Baento.

Sinag Maynila 2015 first roster of winners
Best Picture: Imbisibol
Best Director: Lawrence Fajardo for Imbisibol
Best Actor: Allen Dizon for Imbisibol
Best Actress: Ces Quesada for Imbisibol and Alessandra de Rossi for Bambanti
Best Screenplay: Herlyn Gail Alegre and John Paul Bedia for Imbisibol
Best Cinematography: Boy Yniguez for Imbisibol
Best Production Design: Rolando Inocencio and Lawrence Fajardo for Imbisibol
SM People’s Choice Award:  Ninja Party

Drector Lawrence Fajardo happily accepts his best director award on stage- with him is award presentor actor Dingdong Dantes, Solar enterainment big boss Wilson Tieng and director Brillante Mendoza

Director Fajardo gave a heartfelt speech

The 3 stunning ladies of Ninja Party- Annicka Dolonius, Bea Valdez and Julz Savard received the award for People's Choice Award by SM Cinema 

Alessandra de Rossi recieves the best actress award for the movie Bambanti

but Ces Quesada was also awarded as best actress for the movie Imbisibol. A phone call from the Imbisbol producer/representative was made on stage to notify her

The joyous table of winners 

All 6 out of 7 Sinag Maynila awards went to Imbisibol- the cast members left their table for some photo op on stage but left their trophies 

actor Dingdong Dantes (presentor) is seriously watching the awards ceremony

What’s next with Sinag Maynila?

Though on its initial presentation this year, Sinag Maynila 2015 proponents Wilson Tieng (Solar Entertainment) and director Brillante Mendoza personally chosen the 2015 5 sinag maynila entrees as crafted by premier independent filmmakers, is now accepting sinag maynila 2016 entrees from the public. 

For the next Sinag Maynila 2016 film festival, any independent filmmaker who is a Filipino citizen can apply for a film grant. This is the commitment of SINAG MAYNILA in support of the local Filipino movie industry. 

Yours truly at the venue entrance

Sinag Maynila is now accepting entries. Calling all Filipino independent filmmakers you can now send in your original scripts to this email address- Deadline of submission is on May 30, 2015.

Follow Sinag Maynila on Facebook and on Twitter for updates. 

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