Sinag Maynila films continue to make waves

(The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Independent film festival Sinag Maynila was born from the vision of Solar Entertainment CEO Wilson Tieng and festival director Brillante Mendoza to have a festival that not only inspires but also educates 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 affecting 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 Nov. 11. It also premiered at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) under the Contemporary World Cinema Programme at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto, Canada 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 holds screenings in Iloilo (until tomorrow, Dec. 6), Davao (Dec. 15 to 20) and Baguio (Dec. 22, 23, 26, 27, 29 and 30).

Another Sinag Maynila film Balut Country by Paul Sta. Ana was invited for a screening at the All Lights India International Film Festival in India last month. It also premiered at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival last October, which was attended by the film’s lead 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 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 last month — Ourense International Film Festival in Spain, the Asian Panorama film competition of International Children’s Film Festival in India where 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 pre-judgment of the rich towards the poor as mother and son embark to uncover the truth behind a missing watch. The film 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. The 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 Sept. 18 to 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 the action drama.

The second Sinag Maynila Film Festival will happen in May 2016. For details, check out Sinag Maynila on Facebook (SinagMaynila), Twitter (@sinagmaynila) and Instagram (@sinagmaynila).

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