Sinag Maynila independent film festival will run until April 9 in selected cinemas in Metro Manila.
After first launching the Sinag Maynila film festival five years ago, director Brillante Mendoza said he is happy to continue the tradition of helping uplift local filmmakers. “The reason why we created the festival specifically for the Filipino filmmakers para magkaroon sila ng venue ng kanilang mga films na normally hindi sila mapapalabas sa mga commercial theaters. So sa mga pelikula na mapapalabas dito ma-ge-gauge natin kung ano yung merong potential for commercial screening. So ito yung parang stepping stone ng mga directors at ang kanilang mga films,” he shared during the 2019 Sinag Maynila opening night last April 3 in Mandaluyong City.
This year’s selection of full-length films, short films, and documentaries all represent a diverse range of topics. “For this year, limang films yung binigyan namin ng suporta and then we have, I think, ten short films so yun yung kasama ngayon. Wala kaming theme na sinunod this year basta kuwento is about Filipino. As much as possible mag-focus sa Filipino identity, Filipino culture. But at the same time yung theme universal. Hindi lang kasi siya distinctly Pinoy. As much as possible, we would like to get films na diverse yung kanilang mga topic. Hindi lang kami nag-ko-concentrate sa mga arthouse kundi kahit na dun sa mga genre films like comedy. Ang mga artista minsan hindi talaga sila mga mainstream. So binibigyan namin sila ng mga chance sa mga pelikula nila at ng mga filmmakers na maipalabas sa festival and at the same time, help the filmmakers bring their films abroad,” he explained.
Apart from helping young directors, direk Brillante said they want to inspire students to get into filmmaking as well. “We would like to encourage the students to participate and maging kasama namin sa festival na ito. In fact, sila yung target market namin. We would like to collaborate as much as we can with different schools all over the country. Kaya nga meron tayong short film category at documentary at marami tayong mga talks. Yung mga jury members will give a talk about film festivals, distribution, ako about direction. So it will be very helpful to the students. In our own little way, we are also trying to help and collaborate with different schools,” he explained.
As festival head, direk Brillante shared that Sinag Maynila is a labor of love for him. “Alam mo hindi madaling mag-organize ng festival. Unang una, napakagastos. At saka pangalawa, alam naman natin na hindi siya income generating. And we know also for a fact ang may pinaka brainchild nitong festival is Mr. Wilson Tieng. Twice na kami nagbigay ng financial grant and these were all private money. So wala talaga income ang festival so it is very challenging but at the same time very fulfilling kasi ang mga films na pinalabas namin dito, lalo na yung films na sinuportahan namin at binigyan namin ng financial grant, ay umikot talaga at nanalo sa mga film festival abroad. So yun lang, priceless na yun. Hindi na kayang bayaran ang ganitong klaseng recognition kasi hindi lang sa festival, hindi lang sa akin, kundi ito ay naibabalik natin sa ating bansa,” he said.