Independent Film Festivals in the Philippines
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We are a country of many festivals. It’s is a way of life for many. To date we have a good number of competitive film festivals. This platform gives the best of opportunities to both young and seasoned Filipino filmmakers to showcase their latest films.

New festivals include Summer MMFF during the holy week and Bonifacio Global City Film Festival slated this year 2020.

Sinag Maynila

Sinag Maynila is the brainchild of globally famous Filipino director Brillante Mendoza and Solar Pictures’ big boss and long-time Filipino cinema advocate Mr. Wilson Tieng.

This year’s Sinag Maynila is the biggest yet as the festival includes four full-length films that are making their Philippine premiere, four of which are world premieres. Also in competition are six documentaries and ten short films, plus a post-production lecture series, a film appreciation symposium, filmmakers’ Fellowship Night, special screenings of world-class films and other activities.

The full-length feature films in competition are He Who is Without Sin by Jason Paul Laxamana, starring Enzo Pineda and Elijah Canlas; The Highest Peak by Arnel Barbarona, starring Dax Alejandro and Mara Lopez; Kintsugi (Broken) by Lawrence Fajardo, starring JC Santos and Japanese actress Hiro Nishiuchi; and Latay (Battered Husband) by Ralston Jover, starring Lovi Poe, Allen Dizon, Snooky Serna and Mariel de Leon.

In Sinag Maynila 2020’s official selection in the documentary section are A Remembering of Disremembering by Cris Bringas, Agos by Jerel Travezonda; Coal Story, Bro by RA Rivera; Kung Saan Ka Happy: An A.D.N. Story by Kimberly Ilaya; Mga Bayaning Ayta by Donnie Sacueza; and Vahay: A Documentary on The Ivatan House by Rica Arevalo.

Selected for the lineup of short films are Ang Kaibigan ni Imaginary F. by Joey Paras; Dasal by Angela Andres; Leave Notes by Yssa Valdes; Nilalang (Of Being and Deceit) by Juan Carlo Tarobal; Pabasa kan Pasyon by Hubert Tibi; Silang Mga Nakatago sa Dilim by Diana Manguiat and Angelica Nitura; Supot by Philip Giordano; Tahanan by Mick Quito; Tarang (Life’s Pedal) by Arvin Belarmino and Patsy Ferrer; and Together by Blasgil Tanquilut.

The Philippines is one of the many countries where their local film festival gives grants to their filmmakers. These local film festivals have also become an avenue for budding filmmakers to showcase their talents, eventually exposing them to more film projects. In addition, the abundance of amateur and potential filmmakers, through the democracy of filmmaking, creates a significant market for films to tap in the new platforms. That makes cinema very much alive, broadening audience viewership for alternative cinema through various institutions. Someday we can succeed more.

Here’s a list of notable film festivals in the Philippines

Metro Manila Film Festival (1975) Metro Manila Development Authority December 25 – January 7
Cinemalaya (2005)Cultural Center of the PhilippinesJuly and August
QCinema (2013)Quezon City GovernmentOctober
Cinema One OriginalsABS CBN, Cinema OneOctober
Sinag Maynila (2015)Solar Entertainment, Brillante MendozaMarch
Cinefilipino (2013)Cignal, UnitelSeptember
Tofarm Film FestivalUniversal Harvesters, Milagros HowSeptember
Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (2017)Film Development Council of the PhilippinesAugust

The role of films festivals to our new filmmakers creates a wide diversity of storytelling because our country is rich with vibrant, socially relevant and festive stories. Our young and new filmmakers are composed of directors, producers, actors and film crew. In this blog we will feature filmmakers who recently give recognition to our country.

Raymund Ribay Gutierrez

Gutierrez is a product, through mentorship, of both Mendoza’s filmmaking workshop and Lao’s found story scriptwriting workshop. His first feature film Verdict has recently won the Venice Orizzonti Special Jury Prize, screened in Telluride, Toronto, Busan and more. It is also the Philippines’ entry for the 92nd Academy Awards – Oscars for the international feauture film category. Read more about Verdict

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