Members of the diplomatic corps, filmmakers, film lovers, and corporate executives gathered together to celebrate the opening of the 2016 Sinag Maynila Film Festival at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura Premier.
A joint project of Solar Entertainment, Centerstage Productions, SM and Samsung, the festival seeks to inspire, educate, and enlighten the viewing public. Now on its second year of providing independent filmmakers a brand new platform to showcase their stories, Sinag Maynila features five films that reflect Filipino culture, while presenting social issues deserving of discussion among audiences here and abroad.
These include Dyamper by Mes de Guzman, Expressway by Ato Bautista, Lila by Gino M. Santos, Mrs. by Adolf Alix, Jr., and T.P.O. by Jay Altarejos, which were all shown at selected SM Cinemas.
The highlight of the evening was the ceremonial striking of the gong by Sinag Maynila festival director Mendoza, and Sinag Maynila founder and CEO Wilson Tieng, followed by a festive shower of confetti. Tieng also led the toast to celebrate this year’s festival, and to wish Mendoza and his protégé, Raymund Gutierrez good luck for their entries Ma’ Rosa and Imago in the Main Competition and Short Film categories in the upcoming Cannes Film Festival this May.
Guests were also introduced to the jury members of Sinag Maynila’s different categories. For the Main Film Competition, these include Kenji Ishizaka, Japanese programming director, film critic, producer and professor of the Japan Institute of Moving Image; Philip Cheah, film critic, programming consultant and advisor to different independent films festivals in Singapore; and Roger Garcia, film critic, author, producer and executive festival director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society.
Multi-awarded and internationally-acclaimed Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz, who recently won the Silver Bear in Berlin Film Festival for his 8-hour film Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, heads the jury of Sinag’s Main Competition.