Monday, March 23, 2015

Sinag Maynila, the country’s newest independent film festival, showcases quality and thought-provoking movies from young, non-mainstream Filipino filmmakers until tomorrow, March 24, 2015 at selected SM Cinemas. These include designated theaters at SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM Manila, SM Fairview, SM Southmall, the SM Mall of Asia and SM Aura Premier, where the red carpet opening ceremonies will be held.

Conceptualized and spearheaded by CEO and founder Wilson Tieng, together with 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.

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For the inaugural year of Sinag Maynila, both Tieng and Mendoza personally handpicked five of the country’s independent filmmakers with whom they collaborated in producing this year’s selection of definitive films. “We don’t want just to produce films,” says Mendoza. “We want to produce good films. Gusto naming panonoorin ninyo hindi lang isa kundi lahat ng limang pelikula.”

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 film festivals as well.”

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. Rocco Nacino, Ronnie Quizon, Angela Cortez, Nanette Inventor and Vincent Magbanua star in the film.

Bambanti, a film by Zig Dulay (Huling Halik, M), questions the prejudice of the rich towards the poor when a son of a house helper is suspected to have stolen the employer’s missing gold watch. It stars Alessandra de Rossi, Micko Laurente, Julio Diaz, Shamaine Buencamino and Lui Manansala.

Imbisibol, a film by Lawrence Fajardo (Amok, Posas), follows the lives of four Filipino migrant workers in Japan who amidst their individual struggles, are suddenly caught together in an even more complex game of hide and seek where staying invisible is the only way to survive. Allen Dizon, Bernardo Bernardo, Ces Quesada and JM de Guzman topbill the film.

Ninja Party, a film by Jim Libiran (Suntok sa Buwan, Happyland, Tribu), is a coming-of-age story of two teen students in an elite school who find themselves in a compromising situation when they get involved in a secret debauchery. The cast includes Annicka Dolonius, Julz Savard, Bea Galvez, Odette Khan, Teresa Loyzaga and Denise Marasigan.

Swap, a film by Remton Zuasola (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 for his son’s life. Publio Briones, Ramon Bagatsing, Jesus Mendoza, Genica Ines Mijares, Dionne Monsanto, Matt Daclan and Mon Confiado star in the film.

Sinag Maynila is a partnership between Solar Entertainment and Centerstage Productions with support from SM Cinema and SM Aura Premier, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Event sponsors include Ginebra San Miguel.

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