Monday, 23 February 2015

Sinag Maynila - Philippines' Newest Independent Film Festival


SINAG MAYNILA is the country’s newest independent film festival that showcases quality and thought-provoking movies from young, non-mainstream Filipino filmmakers.
Conceptualized and helmed by its CEO and Founder Wilson Tieng, together with world-renowned and internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza as Festival Director, SINAG MAYNILA gives grants to independent filmmakers so they can develop their individual material to a full-length film for public exhibition.
As a festival that seeks to inspire, educate and enlighten the viewing public, SINAG MAYNILA will feature films that reflect Filipino culture, while presenting social issues deserving of discussion among audiences here and abroad.

What makes Sinag Maynila different from other independent film festivals in the country?

The presence of SINAG MAYNILA in independent cinema will allow filmmakers to showcase more of their work. It’s another venue and opportunity for them to gain greater exposure and be more competitive.
Mas maraming festivals, mas maraming pagkakataong makapaghatid ng marami pang kwento, lalo na ang mga independent filmmaker,” Mendoza said.
But unlike the rest of independent film festivals in town, SINAG MAYNILA is committed to pushing boundaries.
For Tieng, the festival “does not only up the ante. Working with Brillante Mendoza, we hope to give our homegrown filmmakers the chance to tell the stories of Filipinos in the most compelling visual narrative possible.”
This early, Tieng commends the five feature films “for showing great promise of high recognition not just locally but in international independent film festivals as well.”

How are the films selected for the festival?

For the inaugural year of SINAG MAYNILA, both Tieng and Mendoza personally handpicked five of the country’s reputable independent filmmakers with whom they collaborated in producing this year’s selection of definitive films.
From story concept, to scripts, filming and editing, Tieng and Mendoza have worked closely with the directors so audiences are assured of world-class pieces from the festival.
“We don’t want to just produce films. We want to produce good films. Gusto namin panonoorin ninyo hindi lang isa kundi lahat ng limang pelikula,” Mendoza said.
Such will be the goal of SINAG MAYNILA in the succeeding years when the festival opens itself in 2016 to any Filipino independent filmmaker who wishes to apply for a film grant. Details of the mechanics will be announced soon.

What are the five films to be featured in SINAG MAYNILA?

BALUT COUNTRY, a film by Paul Sta. Ana (Oros), follows the journey of Jun, an heir to the duck farm left to him by his late father. He must decide whether to sell the property to secure his future, or spare the land’s loyal caretakers of inevitable displacement.
BAMBANTI, a film by Zig Dulay (Huling Halik, M), questions the prejudice of the rich towards the poor when a son of a househelp is suspected to have stolen the employer’s missing golden watch.
IMBISIBOL, a film by Lawrence Fajardo (Amok, Posas), tells the tale of illegal Filipino immigrants in Japan and their plight to evade authorities.
NINJA PARTY, a film by Jim Libiran (Suntok sa Buwan, Happyland, Tribu), is a coming of age story of two teenage coeds who find themselves in a comprising situation when they get involved in secret debauchery.
SWAP, a film by Rempton Zuasola (To Siomai Love, Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria, Soap Opera), takes us to the internal conflict of a young father, torn between solving a crime and committing another crime when one day his only son is kidnapped and the criminals demand him to steal another kid in exchange of his son’s life.  

When and where will the films be screened?

The films are scheduled for screening on rotation basis daily from March 18 to 24, 2015 in a designated SM Cinema in SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM Manila, SM Fairview, SM Southmall, SM Mall of Asia and in SM Aura Premier, where the red-carpet opening ceremonies will be held.
After the festival period, SINAG MAYNILA plans to screen the films in other SM Cinemas as well as in universities and colleges.

Will there be a festival awards for Sinag Maynila?

The SINAG MAYNILA Awards Night will be held on March 21, 2015 at SM Aura Premier Sky Park. In a rather intimate evening, the festival will be recognizing excellence in Film, Direction, Performance, Screenplay, Cinematography, and Production Design. SM will be giving a special citation to the People’s Choice movie.

Meet The 5 Filmmakers With Their Respective Entries:



Jun, an heir to the duck farm left to him by his late father, must decide between selling the property to secure a future with his partner, or sparing the family of the land’s loyal caretakers of inevitable displacement.

Directed By: Paul Sta. Ana
Written By: Paul Sta. Ana
Cast: Rocco Nacino, Ronnie Quizon, Angela Cortez, Nanette Inventor
and Vincent Magbanua
Also Starring: Archi Adamos, Jelson Bay, Leo Sarmiento, and Denise Jewel Alfonso

 About The Filmmaker

Writer | Director

Paul Sta. Ana graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Philosophy. Currently, he is a writer and director of GMA Network. As a screenwriter, Paul has received a Balanghai trophy from the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival for the film, Mayohan in 2010. He has since then garnered several nominations from the the Young Critics’ Circle, Star Awards for Film and the Gawad Urian for his screenplays (Mayohan, Bisperas, Oros) and direction (Oros).

In 2013, his film Oros (The Coinbearer) was the opening film of the 2012 Asiatica Filmediale in Rome, Italy. It also won Best Film in the DC Independent Film Festival. The film and its supporting actor (Kristoffer Martin) also garnered honorable mention awards in both the Landlocked Film Festival (Iowa) and Long Island Film Expo (New York) respectively.

BAMBANTI (Scarecrow)


The search for a missing watch instigates the painful quest for the truth in Belyn’s and her son’s life.

Directed By: Zig Dulay
Written By: Zig Dulay
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Micko Laurente, Julio Diaz, Shamaine Buencamino,
Lui Manansala
Also Starring: Delphine Buencamino, Erlinda Villalobos, Celio Aquino, Abegail Edillo
and Kiki Baento.

About The Filmmaker

Writer | Director

Zig M. Dulay began his career as a filmmaker in 2011 when he directed his first full-length film Huling Halik (The Last Kiss), a NETPAC entry in 2011 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.   In 2012, he started to write screenplays for various directors. His screenplays include; Posas (Shackled) directed by Lawrence Fajardo (Best Picture in 2012 Cinemalaya Film Festival and 2012 Hanoi International Film Festival); QWERTY by Ed Lejano (Special Jury Prize in 2012 Sineng Pambansa Film Festival); Ad Ignorantiam by Armando Lao (Jury Prize in 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival, New Wave); Ekstra (The Bit Player) directed by Jeffrey Jeturian (Jury Prize in 2013 Cinemalaya Film Festival and this is also the film in which he bagged the Best Screenplay; and Kasal (The Commitment) directed by Jay Altarejos (Best Film in 2014 Cinemalaya Film Festival). His short film ‘Missing’ was included in the official selection of 2013 Cinemalaya Film Festival, short film category. The film won the Best Short Film in 2013 URIAN Awards. His latest full-length film ‘M. (Mother’s Maiden Name) won Special Jury Prize in 2014 Metro Manila Film Festival - New Wave Section.



A young father is torn between solving a crime and committing another crime when one day his only son is kidnapped and the criminals demand him to steal another kid in exchange for the life of his son. 

Directed By: Remton Siega Zuasola
Written By: Remton Siega Zuasola
Cast: Dionne Monsanto, Matt Daclan, Mon Confiado
Also Starring: Publio Briones, Ramon Bagatsing, Jesus Mendoza, Genica Ines Mijares, Charisse Mari Fonacier, Natileigh Sitoy, Maria Cristina Mondragon, Eli Razo, and Ronyel Compra.                                  

About The Filmmaker

Writer | Director

A Filipino film director dedicated to the cultivation of modern Cebuano cinema. A receptient of the Ani ng Dangal award for his outstanding contribution to National Cinema. The province of Cebu awarded him with a Governor's Citation of the Garbo sa Sugbo Awards (pride of Cebu) for his contribution to Cebuano Cinema.

He first caught the attention of the Philippine film scene with his short film "To Siomai love" which won for him the 2009 Ishmael bernal award for most outstanding young Filipino filmmaker from Cinemanila international film festival. In 2010 his first feature length film "Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria".  It garnered top awards from Gawad Urian such as best picture, best cinematography, best musical score and Remton became one of the youngest recipient of the Gawad Urian Best Director Award. Remton has recently finished his 2nd feature "Soap Opera" under Cinema one Originals.




Imbisibol presents a narrative of a daily challenges faced by Filipino migrant workers in Japan during a period when thousands of undocumented workers and overstayers were being deported in response to strict Japanese laws.

Directed By: Lawrence Fajardo
Written By: John Paul Bedia, Herlyn Gail Alegre
Cast: JM De Guzman, Ces Quesada, Bernardo Bernardo, Allen Dizon and Ricky Davao
Also Starring: JC Santos, Only Torres, Naoki Takai, Shinpei Suzuki, May Alleman, Kaz Sawamura, Masaharu Iwamoto, Oyee Barro and Ricky Davao

About The Filmmaker


Lawrence Fajardo hails from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental where he finished Masscommunication at the   University of St. Lasalle Bacolod.
His most prominent works to date are Amok, a finalist in the New Breed Category of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2011 where it won Best Sound and Editing, followed by Posas in 2012, which won Best Film in the Director’s Showcase Category. Both of which competed in countless prestigious film festivals around the globe. Amok was shown in South Korea, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, USA, Canada and Italy. Amok won Best Sound and Editing in the Natatanging Gawad Urian in 2012 and bagged the Special Prize of the Jury Award at the Detective Fest in Moscow, Russia in the same year. Posas even became even more successful as it was shown in 12 festivals, spanning 5 different continents around the globe. It brought home pride as it won Best Film in Hanoi International Film Festival in 2012.In 2013, Lawrence rekindled his love for theater when he directed the play “Imbisibol”, which was staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines as part of the Virgin Labfest 9.  It was restaged the following year as part of Virgin Labfest 10.



Top female students of an elite Catholic high school discover their identities and sexualities amidst clashing values. Conflicts between themselves, their families, and their school forces them to grow up and grow in friendship. They face slut­shaming when a rumor spreads about their participation in a secret orgy.

Directed By: Jim Libran
Written By: Jim Libiran, Dominic Lim, Iris Lee
Cast: Annicka Dolonius, Julz Savard, Bea Galvez, Elora Espano, Mariz Reyes, Japo Parcero, Odette Khan, Teresa Loyzaga and Denise Marasigan

About The Filmmaker

Co-Writer | Director

Jim Libiran made his directorial debut in 2006 with PANCIT CANTON, a short film which his wrote and produced. In 2007, he came up with his first full-length film TRIBU and followed it with HAPPYLAND in 2010.  He also wrote and directed the short film Batch 2011, a feature in the ABS-CBN News KINSE Human Rights Film Anthology. His latest works include his contribution as creative producer to the film SUNTOK SA BUWAN directed Bianca Catbagan, and ARAW, a short film produced by SunLife Financials Asia and KymeChow Media.


Cast and Crew of Swap with Festival Director Brillante Mendoza

Mon Confiado and Dion Monsanto for Swap

Solar's Wilson Tieng and Festival Director Brillante Mendoza

The 5 Filmmakers of Sinag Maynila during Presscon

Rocco Nacino for Balut Country

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