Sinag Maynila 2017 – Film Appreciation Workshop with Brillante Mendoza

Sinag Maynila 2017

It’s my second time attending this workshop from the Cannes regular, Brillante Mendoza. Last year, when he introduced Sinag Maynila to me – an independent film festival here in the Philippines btw, he focused mainly on the lack of equilibrium between mainstream and independent cinema in the country.

In hopes of inspiring more awareness, he screens his films for free from time to time which I reckon is in partnership with SM because he only screens his work at their cinemas. He also gives talks about film and shows BTS.

Previously, he showed the film Taklub, a drama revolving around the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. It stars Nora Aunor which is a very influential actress in the country. I was bombarded with thoughts of found cinema and how lighting should be as natural as possible even if the audience could barely see a thing – realism was king. At least, that’s what independent cinema strived to be about anyway.

Film Appreciation Workshop

This time, they’ve screened Ma’ Rosa, an action drama which revolves around Rosa and her family, caught in jam with the police. Jacklyn Jose, the actress who plays Rosa, has won the Palme d’Or for the Best Actress category at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for this very role. I daresay it is one of her best, considering she has played very similar roles before.

Ma' Rosa

Before I talk more about the film, I reckon I should put the lineup of the participants to the Sinag Maynila Film Festival for this year – por si las moscas – that roughly means “just in case” in Spanish, in case you didn’t get that… just in case.

Full Length Film

  • Kristo by HF Yambao
  • Beyond the Block by Ricardo Carranza
  • Ladyfish by Jason Orfalas
  • Bhoy Instik by Joel Lamangan
  • Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill) by Arnel Barbarona

Short Film

  • I am Jupiter, I am the Biggest Planet by Matthew Victor Pastor
  • Ang Langit, Burger at ang Universe by Emmanuel Escalona Jr.
  • Aliens Ata by Karl Glenn Barit
  • Ang Hindi Ko Masambit by Jose Maria Javier Manoos
  • Tulay Buhay by Paul Arrenze Dionela


  • Hango by Avelino Mark Balmes Jr.
  • Kupkop by Jaynus Olaivar
  • The Recycled Spirits of Roel Cabato by Noah Del Rosario
  • Pagrara Sang Patipuron (Weaving a Circle) by Jean Clare Dy, Manuel
  • Krudo Boys by Mirielle De Lara, Angelica Domingo, Dannieleth Julapong, Maria Agnes Malvar, Bea San Juan, Nathaniel Santiago

Okay, back to Ma’ Rosa… one thing I can define this film is “Mandaluyong.” That’s right, my hometown. I mean the most of the film was shot in my city. It’s like touring around the neighborhood whilst enjoying the silverscreen. My friend, another filmmaker, who lives in Sto. Rosario, Mandaluyong, tells me that Brillante Mendoza, in fact, lives in his area. Perhaps this is the main reason why everything about this movie screams Mandaluyong.

In any case, Sinag Maynila 2017 will run from March 9 to 14 in select theatres.