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New godfathers to indie filmmakers

Creative and brilliant filmmakers lacking funds now have two new godfather figures who support independent cinema: Wilson Tieng, and world-renowned and internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza. The two have joined forces to put up Sinag Maynila, a film festival that will run from April 21-26 this year.

SINAG MAYNILA Festival Director Brillante Mendoza & CEO and Founder Wilson Tieng

SINAG MAYNILA Festival Director Brillante Mendoza & CEO and Founder Wilson Tieng

I was able to interview the newest “ninong” to filmmakers, Tieng, who explained, “We bankroll projects of the most creative indie filmmakers so they can develop their materials to a full-length film for public exhibition. For 2016, the festival has been opened to any Filipino independent filmmakers who wish to apply for a film grant.”

He added that both he and Mendoza feel, “The exposure of these new filmmakers in other countries will bring pride and honor to Sinag Maynila and the entire Philippines. We recently attended the Tokyo Filmfest and Brilliante’s film ‘Lola’ received a 15-minute standing ovation — and, yes, it was 15 minutes because I timed it. At the Cannes film festival, the Filipinos are regarded as intelligent and brilliant filmmakers. This is the reason we hope to expose the whole world to Philippine films (that reflect) Filipino pride.”

The upcoming festival will feature five works of exceptional filmmakers that closely collaborated with Tieng and Mendoza. The resulting stories reflect Filipino culture with messages that will resonate globally. These are:

‘Lila’ by Gino M. Santos

This stars Janine Gutierrez and Enchong Dee and is about Jess, a young woman who finds a diary in her room that belonged to an old tenant. As days pass, strange occurrences ensue and the diary’s words take an eerie turn when Jess finds herself in the middle of malevolent events from a dark past not entirely her own.

‘Mrs.’ by Adolf Alix Jr.

Starring Elizabeth Oropesa, Lotlot de Leon, Rosanna Roces, Anita Linda and Mark Herras, this movie is a portrait of a woman and a mother trying to juggle the sad realities of life and death.

‘Dyamper’ by Mes De Guzman

The film, which stars Carlo Aquino, Alchris Galura and Liza Dino-Seguerra, is about two brothers who are “jumpers” in Dalton Pass. They steal sacks of rice from the back of delivery trucks. One of them accidentally gets a pack of drugs from one of the trucks they jumped and they find themselves in jeopardy when its owners track them down to retrieve the stash.

‘TPO’ by Jay Altarejos

This Oliver Aquino and Mara Lopez starrer is about a battered mother’s plight in seeking Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her husband when her son starts getting hurt from all the violence.

‘Expressway’ by Ato Bautista

Starring Alvin Anson and Aljur Abrenica, the film revolves around an old-timer syndicate’s one last assignment, which turns out to be a journey of introspection, self-healing and redemption. With this awakening, he takes it upon himself to pull his neophyte partner Morris out of the eventual hell-of-a-life he says he has lived as a hitman.