The year 2019 promises to be an exciting year for Philippine cinema. The year of the “Metal Pig” marks the centennial celebration of Philippine cinema. Aside from that, the highly-anticipated Singkuwento International Film Festival Manila Philippines (SIFFMP) 2019 is back and it coincides with the National Arts Month this February.
SIFFMP was founded by its festival director Perry Escaño, himself an independent filmmaker. Now on its fourth edition, the festival will be held on February 15 to 22, 2019 at the NCCA Theater in Intramuros, Manila, presented by MPJ Entertainment Productions, in cooperation with Asian Television Content Corporation (headed by Engr. Rey Sanchez), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and Film Development Council of the Philippines (headed by Chair Liza Diño).
The festival’s main objective is to feature works of various Filipino and foreign filmmakers. It is an avenue for Filipinos both here and abroad to share their voice, sentiments and thoughts via the films they have created. It is also the festival’s aim to provide a channel for non-Filipinos to share their impressions of the Philippines and its people.
This year’s official finalists explore diverse topics, ranging from the youth to personal relationships, from growing up to death, and other thought-provoking social issues. There are three (3) categories in the official list of finalists. Here we go….
Five Full Length Films:
1. Kapayapaan Sa Gitna ng Digmaan (historical drama), directed by Nestor Malgapo, Jr.; Cast: Richard Quan, Celina Talavera, and Christopher Roxas; Synopsis: In the midst of war, the only thing Yoshiaki wants is, in his own little way, he ensures that Filipinos are safe.
2. Promdi (drama), directed by Charlotte Dianco; Cast: Kiko Estrada, Shaira Diaz, Chris Leonardo; Synopsis: Promdi is a story about farm boy Fernie who dreams of a better future not just for himself but for his family. He leaves his simple life in the province to study in the city thru a scholarship. He takes part-time jobs just to support his daily expenses.
3. Rendezvous (fantasy drama-romance), directed by Marvin Gabas; Cast: Ms. Gina Pareño, Patani Daño, Jiana Aurigue, Tonz Are; Synopsis: The film is about a water entity named “balud”, a merman, who fell in love with a girl, Mira.
4. Playground (drama), directed by Dave Cecilio; Cast: Neptali Toribio, Buboy Villar, Lance Raymundo, China Roces, and Rosanna Roces; Synopsis: Playground is about an out-of- school boy from the province who goes to Manila with a dream of becoming a professional dota player to earn enough money for the educational needs of his younger sister.
5. Pur Laine (comedy-drama), directed by Filipino-Canadian filmmaker Alexander Cruz, based in Quebec, Canada; Cast: Christian Paolo Lat, Celestine Caravaggio, and Issabelle Lafond; Synopsis: It is a story about an old man who suddenly dies, leaving his most recent wife to sell the house and start a new life. When his daughter from a previous marriage appears and claims the house is hers, all hell breaks loose.
Five Documentary Films (Shorts):
- Durungawan (Window) – directed by Daniela Mariel Laygo
- Landong (Shadow) – directed by Ma. Toiza Gorantes
- Takip Sining (Hidden Art) – directed by Sophia Louise Geslani
- Serbedora (Servant) – directed by Roxanne Gomez
- Liwanag (Light) – directed by Arby and Christine Laraño
25 Short Films
This year, a great line-up of new short films are in competition, both from film students and professional practitioners. Out of the total 71 short film entries submitted from different universities and provinces all over the country, the following made it as the Official 25 Finalists in this category (random order):
- Limang Oras (Maricel Cariaga)
- No Man Is An Island (Nash Ang)
- Saranggola (Cielo Bagabaldo and Gloria Soriano)
- Bisperas (Ralph Lauren Quincena)
- Dalit (Belle Kay Loyola)
- Healing (Karla Urquiaga)
- Saglit (Divine Angeo and Kristine Medenilla)
- Paano Bihisan Ang Isang Ina? (Tim Rone Villanueva)
- Delta (Eluigi Macalintal and James Garcia)
- Ang Huling Bucket List (Bibo Ebuen)
- Dama (Trisha Marie Antonio)
- 12. Cicatriz (Scar) (Rosahlee Bautista)
- Theo (Margaret Summer Castro)
- Wa, Nan (Marie Bernadette Tayag)
- Kung Di Man Dumating Ang Gabi (Margarette Jane Lirio)
- Starlight (Reinette Natividad)
- Apo-Dios (God) (Victor Elijah Gador)
- Ang Lumunod Sa Atin (Sonia Regalario)
- Kumari (Angela Aguila and Juan Carlo Diaz)
- The Rookie (Jojo Nadela)
- Ang Nagliliyab Na Kasaysayan ng Pamilya Dela Cruz (Jade De Chavez Valencia)
- Brujo (Witch Doctor) (Kurt Neil Johahn Jimenez)
- Joker (Egai Castañeda)
- Sintas (Arjanmar Rebeta)
- Sayote Man (Conan Altatis)
The Jury members in the Documentary Shorts and Full Length Films are: multi-awarded scriptwriter and author Mr. Ricky Lee, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s entertainment journalist Ms. Marinel Cruz, film critic Mr. Noy Lauzon, and award-winning filmmaker Mr. Joselito Altarejos.
Meanwhile, the Jury members for the Short Film competition are: award-winning director Mr. Zig Dulay, FDCP Executive Director Mr. Will Fredo, and producer-filmmaker Mr. Albert Almendralejo.
This year, legendary and iconic actor Mr. Eddie Garcia is the recipient of the SIFFMP Lifetime Achievement Award, based on his outstanding achievements during his long career, and whose contributions to the improvement and promotion of the local film industry over the years are truly exceptional.
During the previous years, the festival bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Awards to world-renowned Filipino director Brillante Mendoza and multi-awarded actress, Superstar Ms. Nora Aunor.