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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Excited to Watch Disney on Ice 2015 : Magical Ice Festival at the Big Dome

rsz_1mbp_pinkI have written in the past about our family Christmas traditions and by now you would have known that we do yearly family activities that include watching Disney on Ice Christmas with the kids and their cousins. Pretty soon, it is going to be Christmas season, and we are all excited to continue to build lasting memories as we all anticipate the return of an all time Filipino favorite – the annual staging of Disney On Ice at the Big Dome.

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There is much to look forward to in this year’s show. Aside from world-class skaters who make up its talented ensemble, this year’s Disney On Ice will be extra special because with Disney on Ice presents Magical Ice Festival featuring Disney’s Academy Award® winning and number one animated feature film of all time Frozen, along with three Disney royal adventures! Last year, the Big Dome was filled with small kids’ voices as they watch Disney characters on ice while singing along with all familiar Disney music from Cinderella, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and of course, their top favorite Tangled!

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It has also been a joy to sit with kids and engage with them while watching, highlighting the values one can get from Disney movies. Just like any other animated movies (including non-animated kids’ movies), this working mom believes and puts a premium on having the right conversations right after each movie experience. This allows me to drive and emphasize the valuable parts of the movie while having an opportunity to correct wrong behaviours observed on movies. It was a joy to encourage my daughter, Sofia to be as exuberant, joyful and optimistic like Cinderella on her saddest day. It was also an encouragement to see Princess Tiana who believed she can be the best she can be by achieving her dreams of owning her own restaurant. It was a display of faith and a display of excellent labor, values that we want our kids to take home.

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“This year’s Disney On Ice is truly magical with Disney properties that are packed with heart and personality. We have princesses that are exuberant and strong-willed, but we’ve also expanded the roles of spirited supporting characters, so that they’re more prominent in the show,” says Producer Nicole Feld.

D33_Minnie soloMy kids got more excited to know that for the first time on ice, they will see their favorite Disney stars Anna and Elsa, together with hilarious snowman Olaf, rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven in a magical winter adventure. My kids learned the importance of family with the tear-jerking scenes from “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” We all know that the true and unconditional love that saved Anna came from Elsa and not from Hans. And of course, who could have missed Olaf dreaming of enjoying summer? Just like Olaf, my kids can continue to believe God for bigger things and dream big, as big as impossible Olaf in summer!

D33_20120907_25934-EditAudiences will also enjoy comical segments with captivating stories of princesses Ariel, Rapunzel and Belle in a new twist of fairytale fun featuring Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Tangled, and Beauty and the Beast.

“By pulling together moments from classic Disney stories to the newest feature film sensation Frozen and combining them with elements of comedy and music, we developed a truly unique way to re-tell each fairytale,” says Producer Juliette Feld.

D33_20120907_01542-EditExcited to see the dazzling costume designs, spectacular set elements, and jaw-dropping stunts are also what make this year’s show even more exhilarating. Previous shows were a big hit with my kids with a singing Sebastian, Wendy and Peter Pan flying, and the countless Tangled floating lanterns! It gave me chills to hear all the kids singing “I see the Light” when the lanterns came out.

In Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest,” the theatrical elements of the glitzy napkins and silverware costumes will astound audiences. “The costumes are designed to emphasize the overwhelming amount of table décor that appears in the movie. The napkins unfold to increase their size and the forks tower over the heads of the performers. This is a big moment for Belle; the costumes need to reflect that,” says Costume Designer Cynthia Nordstrom.

D33_20120907_00180-Edit-PRMoreover, lighting plays a crucial role in giving the overall production a truly magical feel. “The colors really pull you into the different worlds of the princesses, but it’s how the lights are arranged that command your attention when the characters are performing their acts. For example, when the Daughters of Triton are introduced, the lighting individually highlights each of them. Your eyes follow the spotlights,” says Lighting Designer Sam Doty.

Experience Magical Ice Festival at the Big Dome from December 25 to January 3 and don’t miss the chance to see your favorite Disney stars LIVE! Buy your tickets via TicketNet online or call 911-5555 for more details.

Listen to this Author’s Podcast here

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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.

Listen to this author’s Podcast Interview on Android

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Listen to this author’s Podcast Interview via iTunes

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How We “QikIt” with Perfect Pitch 2                                          

shangstairsThe night started ACA-okay as we all lined up for Perfect Pitch 2 at Shangrila Cineplex for an exclusive first-day screening. Did not realize how we all missed the Bellas of Barden University until the girls started singing and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) herself started her trademark comedy stunts. Movie experience was made even better watching it at Shangrila Cineplex. More legroom and not so crowded seats are perfect enjoying the tunes and the laughs I had all throughout the movie.

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With Nuffnang (biggest blogger community) hosting the movie event, and with free foodie to match, I just had to QikIt right away.

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Although Perfect Pitch 2 has the similar underdog-becomes- winner plot, unlike other movie college characters who graduate, the Bellas are up for their final year. With Beca (Anna Kendrick) leading the pack to beat the singing Germans in the world championships, sing-along and ear-pleasant medleys make Pitch Perfect 2 a type of movie you can catch at any point and still capture you to sit through to the end.

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Definitely voting to rename Fat Amy to Funny Amy. Laughter is the topmost thing on my mind when I get reminded of Fat Amy. Among my take aways? Not agreeing with John Michael Higgins playing the broadcaster on the film when he said that the Bellas are inspirations to girls all over the country who are too ugly to be cheerleaders. More than anything, the movie reminds us that if you work hard at anything, work as a team, have the courage to show up, then you will inevitably deliver.

Skype Qik is a quick video messaging/communication app that allows you to exchange instant and quick video messages for free. It enables you to capture videos that are up to 40 seconds long, and and send them to group of friends. Skype Qik is available on iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. More about Skype Qik here: http://www.skype.com/en/qik hellokity

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