The 2018 Sinag Maynila Film Festival has unveiled a slew of thought-provoking films in its fourth year.
The official entries were revealed during the February 21 press con held at SM North The Block.
Founded by film producer Wilson Tieng and Palme d’Or-winning director Brillante "Dante" Mendoza, the festival will showcase five full-length films, six short films, and six documentaries.
The five full-length films of Sinag Maynila 2018 are Abomination, El Peste, Bomba, Melodrama/Random/Melbourne, and Tale of the Lost Boys.
All films will screen from March 7 to 15, 2018 in select SM cinemas namely SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM Fairview, SM Southmall, and SM Bacoor, SM Manila, and SM Sta. Mesa.
Says Direk Brillante, “Ultimately we want to have a film festival para mas makilala pa tayo. Para mas makilala pa ang pelikulang Pilipino.”
He points out that the selection committee did not use any criteria in choosing the finalists.
“’Yong selection kasi ginawa naming iba iba, varied. Hindi naging criteria ’yong kelangan manalo, kelangan may international recognition. More than anything else unang-una, kelangan maganda 'yong pagkakagawa ng pelikula and has something new to offer the audience at hindi pa nagkakaroon ng local screening. ’Yon ang pinaka-importante.”
Here are the 5 full-length entries of Sinag Maynila 2018:
Director: Yam Laranas
Stars: Tippy Dos Santos, Tony Moynihan, Justine Peña, Paul Homes, Lukas Magallano
A young woman named Rachel who is found unconscious in a city street claims to be another person who was brutally murdered two months earlier. She escapes from a psychiatric hospital in order to prove her identity and find the truth about her life, her death, and her murderer.
The festival marks the return of Los Angeles-based Yam Laranas via Abomination, which is also currently streaming on iTunes. Shot with all dialogues spoken in English, the film is about a well-off 16-year-old named Rachel (Tippy Dos Santos) who wakes up to discover that her identity has been stolen.
Says Tippy, “Something really horrible happens to her, something traumatic. Nagkaroon ng downward spiral. Her mental health goes all over the place. She loses herself.”
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Tippy Dos admitted that she initially wanted to have her rape scene removed from her movie Abomination.
When she eventually agreed to do the rape scene, Tippy pointed out: "I didn't even feel as if I was in that position. Hindi ko man lang naramdaman na ni-rape na pala ako dun sa eksena!
"Pero nung pinanood namin afterwards, parang totoo po talaga."
2. Bomba (The Bomb)
Director: Ralston Jover
Stars: Allen Dizon, Angelline Nicholle Sanoy, Allan Paule, Sue Prado, Kate Brios, Joel Saracho, Tabs Sumulong, Felixia Dizon, Lucas Alric Dizon
Pipo (Allen Dizon) makes ends meet by taking on the toughest jobs. Life is more difficult because he’s a deaf-mute. He supports himself and his 16-year-old lover Cyril (Angelline Nicholle Sanoy). He is struggling to please his irate boss who is making his life even more difficult.
His childhood friend Ben (Allan Paule) wants his daughter Cyril back. Like a bomb, Pipo’s ticking to explode, anytime soon.
Ralston Jover’s Bomba (The Bomb) has been the toast of the local indie film circuit after its actors Allen and Angelline bagged the 2018 Warsaw International Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for their performances.
“Mahirap maging pipi,” admits Allen. “More on sign language. Also si Direk pag hindi siya satisfied sa eksena parang kelangan ulitin pati sa sound. Pipi na nga maingay pa. Kelangan ulitin lagi. So ’yon ang medyo mahirap sa shooting namin.”
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board initially gave Bomba an X rating. Upon its second review, the rating was changed to R-13, without cuts.
3. El Peste
Director: Richard Somes
Stars: Mon Confiado, Jean Judith Zeta, Alvin Anson, Jim Libiran, Leon Miguel, Tikoy Aguiluz
Abner lives a drab, downcast, solitary existence. His wife has abandoned him for good. Working for pest control company Panther, his job remains his sole connection to the outside world. It seems going nowhere until he meets Viola, a client whose existence is as sad as his.
As sexual tension between Abner and Viola turns to illicit affair, Abner devices something that will eventually lead to a tragedy that will change their lives forever.
A production design workshop led by Richard Somes gave birth to El Peste. It stars indie favorite Mon Confiado as a lonely man working for a pest control company who falls for a married woman, played by theater soprano Jean Judith Zeta.
“Ito ay nagsimula as isang short film lang, e,” says Mon. “Para magka-experience ’yong estudyante niya [sa workshop] on how to do production design for a film.
“Along the way ’yong film na ’yon nadevelop. Parang naganahan na kaming lahat. Sa kwentuhan lang sa set nanganganak ’yong mga eksena.”
Direk Richard revealed to PEP that he drew inspiration for El Peste from the 1985 sexy film of Peque Gallaga.
"Paborito ko si Scorpio Nights 1 so somehow may inspiration yung sexual perversion at sexual exploitation at sexual awakening.
"Maganda siyang study on human behavior. Medyo black comedy ito.
"Si Mon tagapatay ng mga daga. Hindi naman siya makabalik dun [sa bahay ni Jean Judith Zeta] dahil may asawa, bawal. Ang ginagawa ni Mon, imbis na patayin yung mga daga, dinadagdagan pa niya para makabalik siya doon. Yun yung time niya na magkaroon ng sexual adventure doon."
(El Peste also features cameos by veteran director Tikoy Aguiluz and indie pioneer Jim Libiran, both of whom according to Mon were “dumalaw lang” during the shoot but found their way into the movie.)
4. Tale of the Lost Boys
Director: Joselito "Jay" Altarejos
Stars: Oliver Aquino and Ta Su
The LGBT-themed Tale of the Lost Boys features the unexpected connection between a Filipino and a Taiwanese aborigine who are both in search of their identities.
Filipino mechanic Alex (Oliver Aquino) flies to Taipei where he meets student Jerry (Ta Su). They meet randomly when Alex flees to Taipei from Manila.
A casual conversation develops into a surprising personal connection between them. The two men go on a road trip and form an emotional bond as they travel through the country in search of their respective mothers.
Both realize that they yearn a more intimate connection with their mothers, since Alex’s abandoned him for a new family while Jerry is afraid that his traditional parents will reject him for being gay. They decide to go on an impromptu road trip to Yilan, Jerry’s hometown, in northeast Taiwan, and meet Jerry’s family: an encounter that will forever redefine their own identities.
Directed by Jay Altarejos, Tale of the Lost Boys had its world premiere at the Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in July 2017. It has also been screened at the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and at the 2017 NewFest: New York LGBT Film Festival.
Director: Matthew Victor Pastor
Melodrama/Random/Melbourne! is presented in what is called “Glorious Cinema-O-ke.” This film is Matthew Victor Pastor’s tale of a Filipino-Australian filmmaker struggling to finish her documentary and a sex worker roaming the streets of Melbourne.
SHORT FILMS AND DOCUS. The following titles are the finalists for the Short Film and Documentary categories:
1) Cesar & Magda - Pamela Barrios
2) Firestarter - Jill Urdaneta
3) Halusinasyon - John Agcalis
4) Kalye FM - Tom Nava
5) Pompoms - Angelo Amar
6) The Duwende - Odin Fernandez
1) Am-amma - Dexter Macaraeg
2) Halaga - Vandam Arambulo
3) Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story - Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga
4) Mahal - Janine Santos
5) Tsuper - Rina Abary
6) Voltaire - Jaimee Bernardo
To know more about the films and their respective screening schedules, visit http://sinagmaynila.com
Photo by Mark Atienza
Here is the schedule of Sinag Maynila 2018: