Sinag Maynila films continue to make waves here and abroad

Independent film festival Sinag Maynila was born from the vision of Solar Entertainment Corporation, CEO Wilson Tieng and renowned festival director Brillante Mendoza’s wish to have a festival that not only inspires but educates and enlightens Filipino movie audiences. Made up of five homegrown filmmakers handpicked and closely collaborated with by Tieng and Mendoza, the festival produced feature films that presented social issues currently faced in Filipino culture. After a successful run last March, the films have gone on to garner attention both in the country and abroad thanks to their compelling narrative.

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Winner of the Best Picture Award at Sinag Maynila, “Imbisibol” by Lawrence Fajardo was invited for a screening at the Stockholm International Film Festival in Sweden last November 11. It also premiered at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto, Canada as it vied to win in the Contemporary World Cinema Programme last September. A screening was also held at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival and Focus on Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival in Japan. The film trains the spotlight on four undocumented Filipinos in Japan and their plight to escape deportation. The cast is led by JM De Guzman, Ces Quesada, Bernardo Bernardo, Allen Dizon and Ricky Davao.  Imbisibol will have screenings in Iloilo: Dec 1-6 Davao: Dec 15-20 and Baguio: Dec 22, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30.

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Another Sinag Maynila film “Balut Country” by Paul Sta. Ana is invited for a screening at the All Lights IndiaInternational Film Festival in India this November. It also premiered at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival last October which was also attended by the film’s main actor Rocco Nacino. He stars as an heir to a duck farm left to him by his late father in “Balut Country”. The movie follows his difficult decision between selling the property for his own financial peace or keeping the land and sparing the farm’s loyal caretakers from displacement.

 

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“Bambanti” by Zig M. Dulay recently won best film at festival international du film de Brussels. It has also been invited to compete in a series of film festivals this November— Ourense International Film Festival in Spain, the Asian Panorama film competition of International Children’s Film Festival in India where actor Micko Laurente won The Golden Elephant Trophy for Best Actor, Festival Des 3 Continents at Nantes, France, and in the Ajyal Youth Film Festival in Doha Film Institute, Qatar. The film bagged the Best Film award in the recent Festival International du Film de Bruxelles. Bambanti looks at the prejudgment of the rich towards the poor as mother and son embark to uncover the truth behind a missing watch. Stars Alessandra de Rossi, Micko Laurente, Julio Diaz, Shamaine Buencamino, and Lui Manansala.

 

Invited at the recent Minsk International Film Festival in Belarus was “Swap” by Remton Zuasola. This film is the only Asian film to be invited for screening at the Zabaltegi section of the 63rd San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain last September 18-26. Swap is also poised for another international screening in Japan for the upcoming Tokyo Filmex. Shot continuously with no cuts, the movie narrates the tale of a young father who is torn between solving a crime and committing another crime in order to save the life of his kidnapped son. Dionne Monsanto, Matt Daclan and Mon Confiado star in this action-drama.

 

The 2nd Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run in May 2016. For more updates, look for Sinag Maynila on Facebook (SinagMaynila), Twitter (@sinagmaynila), and Instagram (@sinagmaynila).

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Up for a Horror Movie for September?

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For sure, horror movies are not for the faintest of heart. I do not usually watch horror movies with my kids. In fact, I rarely watch horror movies and If I do, it is always horror re-runs on late night movie at home with my husband. However, there is something about this September’s horror movie that should be interesting to see. It is uniquely different to know that a horror movie was actually filmed in the Peruvian Amazon in Chile, with actual Amazon tribe. It was part of the challenge to introduce what a movie is to this Amazon tribe, much more, to get them involved to filming one.

Filmed entirely on location in Chile, the Peruvian Amazon and New York City, Green Inferno is Roth’s first feature film in six years and is the third installment of the horror-auteur’s “travel trilogy.” For the central role of Justine, Roth cast Chilean-born model-turned-actress Lorenza Izzo (Aftershock, Sex Ed, Hemlock Grove). Playing Justine’s roommate Kaycee is singer-songwriter Sky Ferreira. Other members of the ensemble include Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids), Kirby Bliss Blanton (Project X), Magda Apanowicz (“Caprica”) and newcomer Aaron Burns. Rounding out the cast are Ariel Levy, Nicolás Martínez and Ignacia Allamand.

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Nearly every person (besides the American crew) you will see in the movie is an actual member of the tribe that Roth discovered in the Amazon. While scouting a remote part of the treacherous Huallaga River, Roth saw a grass hut on the bank that looked exactly like the village he had pictured while writing The Green Inferno. As they pulled their boat to the shore, a few people cautiously came out of their houses to greet them. A remote, self-sustaining farm community with no electricity or running water, the Callanayacu has little contact with the outside world beyond the occasional supply boat.

So to give them an idea of what they would be doing and imitating, Roth and crew brought a generator, a TV and perhaps the craziest choice to introduce the tribe to “the magical world of movies”—he made them watch the 1980 grindhouse film, Cannibal Holocaust.

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The filmmakers did their best to work around the jungle’s unpredictable weather conditions, which could fluctuate from clear blue skies to torrential downpours in a matter of minutes.  “I was petrified, mostly for the rest of the crew,” says Roth. “We knew it would be dangerous and there would be risks, but we were all in that boat on a rushing river filled with trees, branches and debris. The motorboats could only fight the current so much, and had to weave through uprooted trees and washed-away houses. We all just sat there in the boat, quietly gripping the metal seats, silently praying we’d make it back,” Roth recalled.

The perils of the river, to say nothing of the heat, stinging insects and other unfamiliar creatures, made The Green Inferno shoot a rite of passage for many of the young cast and crew members.  “No one made it out unscathed,” adds Roth, “All the actors were cut, bruised and bitten. They all signed up for an adventure, but were thrilled when we made it back to the city.”

Special screening scheduled on Monday, September 21, at Gateway Mall.

GREEN INFERNO OPENS IN THEATERS ON SEPTEMBER 23 AND IS DISTRIBUTED BY SOLAR PICTURES.

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Lots’ A Pizza : OpenRice.Com Review

Inside Out is just one among many animated movies that I didn’t find suitable for kids. It is probably because of the fact that emotions meant for adults to process were shown on the film as ALL valid responses to our daily lives. The movie actually created excessive times when I had to explain to my kids that responding to a negative emotion the way it was shown on the film is not always the correct way of doing so. I didn’t have to do it with other animated films but with this movie, there are just too many parts of the movie when the characters respond wrongly to negative emotions, it didn’t help that negative emotions themselves (sadness, fear and anger) are primary characters of the story. I didn’t think that Disney Pixar would leave this not sorted all throughout the end of the story.

rsz_1mbp_pinkSo, when the movie was over, it was time to find a place to eat somewhere so we can have the most important conversation with the kids. How the conversation went is an all-together different story. We ended up at Lots’ A Pizza, pocket restaurant right outside the moviehouse. What I appreciate about this pizza house is the fact that they close late, maybe to catch everyone who step out of the cinema from the late screenings. Also, the servers were interactive and kept all the kids busy while waiting for their pizza. In fact, their pizza preparation is for everyone in the resto to see. The downside to doing this though is it surely takes time to wait for the food, after all, servers wait for real time orders before they can prepare your order right infront of you. All pizza flavours Hawaiian Extreme, Hotdog Festiva and Manhattan Deluxe were all a big hit for the kids. After all, you can have any kid order their preferred pizza flavour from their menu.

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