Sinag Maynila is now on its third year of providing a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their stories here and abroad.
Five full-length entries were selected from 60 entries submitted for the third edition of this film fest with the tagline “Sine Lokal, Pang-Internasyonal.”
The full-length movies handpicked by Sinag Maynila CEO and founder Wilson Tieng and Cannes award-winning director Brillante Ma. Mendoza were given an incentive of P150,000 each.
Ronwaldo Martin, RS Francisco, Julio Diaz, Kristoffer King, JC Santos, and Martin Escudero are among the celebrities featured in Sinag Maynila 2017 entries.
The third edition introduces two new categories: the Short Film Category and the Documentary Category. The selected documentaries and short films were given an incentive of P10,000 each.
The full-length entries are: Beyond the Block by Ricky Carranza; Bhoy Instik by Joel Lamangan; Kristo by HF Yambao; Ladyfish by Jason Orfalas; and Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill) by Arnel Barbarona.
The short films are: Ang Langit, Burger at ang Universe by Emmanuel Escalona Jr.; Aliens Ata by Karl Glenn Barit; Ang Hindi Ko Masambit by Jose Maria Javier Manoos; I am Jupiter, I am the Biggest Planet by Matthew Victor Pastor; and Tulay Buhay by Paul Arrenze Dionela.
For the Documentary category, the entries are: Hango by Avelino Mark Balmes Jr.; Krudo Boys by Mirielle De Lara, Angelica Domingo, Dannieleth Julapong, Maria Agnes Malvar, Bea San Juan, Nathaniel Santiago; Kupkop by Jaynus Olaivar; Pagrara Sang Patipuron (Weaving a Circle) by Jean Clare Dy, Manuel Domes; and The Recycled Spirits of Roel Cabato by Noah Del Rosario.
Sinag Maynila proponents Tieng and Direk Brillante Mendoza admit that modifying this year’s mechanics was a risky move.
“The upgraded mechanics for this season may have been a risky move, but we are very happy with the outcome. We are looking forward to the reception of these films here and of course, internationally,” said Tieng.
In Sinag Maynila 2016, each entry received a production grant of P2 million. However in this year’s edition, the entries for Sinag Maynila 2017 were chosen from movies that were already finished and they received grants worth P150,000 each.
Why did they lower the grant given to the full-length entries?
Tieng explained, "Gusto namin makatulong sa industriya at nakita namin na maraming gustong sumali at ang mga nandiyan ay tapos na ang pelikula.
"Unlike Year 1, we gave out subsidy kasi hindi pa kilala ang Sinag Maynila and we needed to jumpstart it by giving a budget. Itong Year 3, we decided to do away with subsidies but we will be giving out cash prizes and incentives.
"In addition to that, ang dami naming binigay na tulong sa marketing na worth a lot, millions of pesos. By doing that, we are funding it and dumadami ang kategorya ng Sinag Maynila."
Direk Brillante added, "Nagiging venue ang festival na ito to jumpstart and join international film festivals saka promotion na rin nila.
"Ang ownership dito ay very pro-artist. Hindi niya ino-own ang film. This festival will favor the artist."
Sinag Maynila 2017 will kick off with an opening ceremony on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at SM Aura.
Screenings will take place at SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, Gateway Mall, and Glorietta 4 from March 9 to 14, 2017.
Sinag Maynila will open with a special screening of Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections, the first of the Asian omnibus film series co-produced by the Japan Foundation Asia Center and Tokyo International Film Festival. This project brings together Asia’s three globally-acclaimed directors Isao Yukisada (Japan), Sotho Kulikar (Cambodia), and Philippine representative Brillante Ma. Mendoza to co-create omnibus films with a common theme.
The three-part film tackles the history and culture of the chosen countries. Under the theme of “Living Together in Asia,” the cast and crew joined forces across national borders to depict the lives of characters who journey between Japan and Cambodia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. These works aim to help bring together people in Asia.
The cast is a mix of various talents from Asia featuring Lou Veloso (Philippines/actor), Masahiko Tsugawa (Japan/actor), Masaya Kato (Japan/actor), Sharifah Amani (Malaysia/actress), Masatoshi Nagase (Japan/actor), and Chumvan Sodhachivy (Cambodia/actress).
Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections will be shown at 6 PM on March 9 in SM Aura Premier. Cambodian director Sotho Kulikar and Japanese actor Masaya Kato, and Kenji Ishizaki, programming director of TIFF, will grace the opening and take part in a question and answer session after the screening.
The closing film is Walking Street, helmed by South Korean director Lee Sang Woo.
This drama film stars K-pop heartthrob Baek Sung Hyun; Lee Si Kang (formerly a member of KINO); and actress Lee Song Yi. Walking Street is named after the Thai red-light district in Pattaya, Thailand where it was filmed. It will be shown at 7 pm this Sunday, March 12, at SM Aura.
In Walking Street, a young man who commits a crime escapes to Pattaya with his mute brother. They stumble upon a Korean prostitute exploited by her own mother. The brothers fall in love with her, leading to a love triangle that will threaten the bond between them.
For screening schedules, visit:
Here are the 5 full-length entries of Sinag Maynila 2017:
Title: BHOY INSTIK
Director: Joel Lamangan
Cast: RS Francisco, Ronwaldo Martin, Elora Espano, Jim Pebanco, Tony Mabesa, Jeric Raval
The movie is about two small-time felons who treat the other as a competitor in their illegal business: Bhoy Intsik (played by RS Francisco) and Marlon (played by Ronwaldo Martin). The principled tough gay and the scheming, street-smart teenager both live in the community of the living dead. They get caught up in a string of petty exploits while managing to forge a stronger bond.
Set in a cemetery in Cavite, this movie explores the hometown of Direk Joel.
He said about his Sinag Maynila 2017 entry, "Ito'y tungkol sa dalawang outcast ng society.
"Isang middle-aged gay at isang bata. Both of them ay mga petty criminals na magnanakaw, nanloloko ng tao. Magkalaban sila pero nung naging magkaibigan sila, nag sanib pwersa sila hanggang sa nadiskubre nila na kailangan nila ang isa't isa.
"Hindi ito storya ng pag-iibigan. Storya ito ng malalim na pagkakaibigan. It's about friendship almost between a father and a son.
"Makikilala nila ang mga tao na ito na akala natin ay hindi dapat tanggapin at mga akala natin ay basura lamang sila ng lipunan."
When asked about the most challenging scene he did, Ronwaldo Martin, who plays the role of a con artist, admitted, “Yung love scene po kay Elora.”
RS Francisco added, “Yung challenging po sa amin ni Ronwaldo, yung nagshooting po kami sa sementeryo sa Cavite. Ngayon ko lang nalaman na may mga natutulog pala doon sa mga nitso, sa mga sementeryo. Hindi challenging na may multo no, pero challenging dahil masikip yung lugar, tapos talagang ibang-iba sa environment na ineexpect ko nung kinekwento nila Direk Joel.
“Nung nakita namin ni Ronwaldo na talagang mayroong natutulog sa tabi ng nitso, may nabubuhay doon, may nag-c-cr, may naliligo, yun ang isang challenge sa amin, physical challenge. Wala akong love scene talaga. (laughs) It’s very challenging yung role namin. We play con artists dito, con artists and kung paano ang dalawang rival na con artists, in the end nagmerge. It’s all about the greatest sacrifice, kung ano yung nangyaring sacrifice para mabuo yung relationship namin. Walang love scene, para siyang anak ko. Ako yung tatay or nanay niya, I play Bhoy Intsik dito sa movie.”
Director: HF Yambao
Cast: Angela Cortez, Julio Diaz, Kristoffer King
This family drama starts with a supposed to be victorious day for Boy (Kristoffer Martin) whose child Jemjem graduated from elementary school with honors. As the story unfolds, revelations appear, including bits and pieces of fighting against oppression of losing his main livelihood as a vendor, fighting for his winnings in a bet to game fowls, fighting for his honor as a family man, and eventually fighting for his own life against fate.
Direk HF Yambao says Kristo depicts the world of cockfighting: "Tungkol talaga ito sa sabong. Kasi sa sabong, ang tawag dun sa mga kumukuha ng taya nila, mga Kristo yun.
"They were named as such because when they take bets, both hands are raised up in the air, hence, the moniker of Kristo.
"Sa film, ang main character natin dito ay si Boy [played by Kristoffer King]. Isa siyang Kristo sa sabungan. Pag gabi naman, nagtitinda sila sa palengke ng asawa niya.
"It's basically a day in the life of this family at makikita mo kung paano sila nas-iistrive for a better living. I think it's a very universal story especially for Filipino families kasi makikita natin ang strong family ties dito.
"Whatever we have, we make do and strive to have a better life than what we currently have.
"Ang tao, meron siyang pinagdadasal at meron siyang ginagawa na physical at meron rin siyang sugal.
"How do you decide kung saan tayo dapat mas maniwala o magtiwala? Yun yung mensahe ng pelikula."
Lead actress Angela Cortez said about her character, “Wife ako ni Kristoffer King so siya yung Kristo doon.
“Yung pinakachallenge I guess was nagshoot po kasi kami sa talagang sabungan tapos may nagsasabong talaga. So magulo, masikip, mainit, maingay, so I guess yun yung pinakachallenge.”
Director: Jason Orfalas
Cast: JC Santos, Martin Escudero, Brenda Mage, Ruby Ruiz
The story revolves around Kaye (Martin Escudero) who experiences discrimination for being gay. Kaye struggles to make ends meet by selling her home-grown beauty soap when her half-transexual best friend Bonn (Brenda Mage) asks her for help in rasing Bonn’s son. To raise the kid, Kaye and Bonn tries their best to overcome a society where basic rights and a fair chance is out of reach.
In the trailer of Ladyfish, JC Santos’s character can be seen in bed kissing the character of Kaye.
Direk Jason Orfalas explained, “It’s about a good person who is misjudged because of her appearance and her sexuality. It’s a fun film and she has the talent that the whole world can appreciate but she couldn’t even convince her one client.”
Martin, who dressed up as a woman and wore a wig for his role, said that portraying a real-life character was the most challenging part. He pointed out, “Si Kaye yung character ko dito. Siguro challenging siya kasi yung character ko, totoong tao.”
“Reality siya, hindi inimbento lang. Kaibigan siya ng director namin. Kasi gusto ko lang sana magawa niyo na kung talagang magagaya ko siya mismo. Ayun yung mapapakita ko sa pelikula, yung totoong si Kaye. Kaya hindi ko pwede anuhin na mag-iimbento ako ng ibang atake o ano, gusto ko hangga’t maaari, maging totoo siya.”
Brenda Mage shot a scene wherein she played with a dildo in order to please her clients. “Mayroon kasi doon nagca-cam to cam ako with foreigners para magkapera para sa anak ko. Yung medyo animalistic appeal, yung mga kasama kong hayop, mga kambing, ganun. Mga vibrators, etcetera,” she said with a laugh.
Title: BEYOND THE BLOCK
Director: Ricardo Carranza
Beyond The Block will showcase the special place of dance in every Filipino life. In the span of 50 years and across three continents, Beyond the Block tells the story of hip hop dance in the Philippines. From the ‘70s TV program Penthouse 7 to the ‘80s cult classic Dance 10 up until the struggles of Filipino dance groups in today’s biggest international dance competitions, the film will provide a tapestry of anecdotes, recollections and testimonies which narrates the history of contemporary Filipino dance.
The representative of Ricky Carranza said about this docu-drama: “The film is all about how streetdancing started in the Philippines. Paano nagkaroon ng hip-hop, paano lumabas ang Maneuvers, si Gary Valenciano at Ray-An Fuentes. Struggling rin si Ricky sa Philippines, nagpunta sa Finland at medyo sumikat sa Finland at gumawa ng film para sa kaalaman ng mga streetdancers or hip-hop dancers as we call them now.
“Para makilala sa buong mundo na sa Pilipinas, ang street dancing is not only a job or kung papaano kikita kundi galing sa puso ang sayaw.”
Title: TU PUG IMATUY (The Right to Kill)
Director: Arnel Barbarona
Cast: Malona Sulatan, Jong Monzon, Luis Georlin Banaag III
The film starts when a family goes up the mountains to bury their youngest member who died from sickness. As they make their way back to their village, soldiers confronted them and forced them to turn to their traditional way called “pangayaw” which drives off the abusive soldiers from their village. The story is set in an indigenous community in Mindanao.
Direk Brillante Mendoza summed up Tu Pug Imatuy by saying, “Tungkol ito sa mga indigenous tribes sa Mindanao. On this day, ililibing nila ang kanilang member of the family.
“Nagkaroon ng military encounter at because of that, na-abuse sila at kailangan nilang lumaban."
The film, which features non-actors, is based on true events.
"Ang Tu Pug Imatuy is a Manobo word that means the right to kill. Sa indigenous people, mayroon silang tinatawag na karapatan nilang pumatay dahil may rason sila," disclosed Direk Arbi in a video interview from Sinag Maynila.
"Tungkol ito sa isang family na naipat sa gera sa kanayunan. Na-inspire akong gawan kasi napaka timely.
"Ang Tu Pug Imatuy ay mahalaga na mapanood ng bawat Pilipino dahil ito’y naglalarawan sa pakikibaka ng mga simpleng tao: yung mga Lumad, yung mga nararanasan nila sa pang araw-araw na buhay nila.
"Makikita natin ang napakalawak na kultura natin bilang Pilipino."