Sinag Maynila: The Country's Newest Indie Film Festival

Sinag Maynila 2015

SINAG MAYNILA is the country’s newest independent film festival that showcases quality and thought-provoking movies from young, non-mainstream Filipino filmmakers. 

Conceptualized and helmed by its CEO and Founder Wilson Tieng, together with world-renowned and internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza as Festival Director, SINAG MAYNILA gives grants to independent filmmakers so they can develop their individual material to a full-length film for public exhibition.

As a festival that seeks to inspire, educate and enlighten the viewing public, SINAG MAYNILA will feature films that reflect Filipino culture, while presenting social issues deserving of discussion among audiences here and abroad.

When asked why name the festival Sinag Maynila, Mendoza and Tieng explained that Sinag signifies hope and bright future and Maynila because there's already an identity knowing that it is popular not only in the country, but in the whole world. 

The festival aims to create audience for indie films. According to Mendoza, it's not easy to put up a festival because it's a big investment and risky because you wouldn't know if it's gonna earn or not. Sinag Maynila will create a venue and would like to take that risk of opening the independent film thru the help of friends from partners, schools, and media. The goal is not something that can be attained overnight but the organizers are positive that this will be achieved in time. 

Internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza talks about Sinag Maynila. 
We don't want to be mainstream. We want to be independent and remain independent. We want to create audience for independent cinema. Ayaw nating makipag-compete sa mainstream. That's our goal. - Direk Brillante Mendoza
Tieng even added that there are some indie films that crossed over and became mainstream. Therefore, if the measure of success of a movie is the box-office, then there's also a big chance that indie films go mainstream and be successful like English Only Please and That Thing Called Tadhana.

This festival is promised to be a filmmaker friendly compared to other festivals. They know the sentiments of filmmakers and they paid attention to those. For this season, entries were handpicked by Mendoza and Tieng but with the upcoming seasons, they will already start accepting entries from other filmmakers who would like to join the festival. More details about how to join will be shared during the Closing Ceremonies of the first season.

There are five films that will be featured in Sinag Maynila. Here's a quick overview on what these entries have to tell:


Directed By: Paul Sta. Ana
Written By: Paul Sta. Ana
Cast: Rocco Nacino, Ronnie Quizon, Angela Cortez, Nanette Inventor, and Vincent Magbanua
Also Starring: Archi Adamos, Jelson Bay, Leo Sarmiento, and Denise Jewel Alfonso

Jun, an heir to the duck farm left to him by his late father, must decide between selling the property to secure a future with his partner, or sparing the family of the land’s loyal caretakers of inevitable displacement.
Sinag Maynila - Balut Country
Balut Country | Paul Sta. Ana


Directed By: Zig Dulay
Written By: Zig Dulay
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Micko Laurente, Julio Diaz, Shamaine Buencamino, Lui Manansala
Also Starring: Delphine Buencamino, Erlinda Villalobos, Celio Aquino, Abegail Edillo, and Kiki Baento.

The search for a missing watch instigates the painful quest for the truth in Belyn’s and her son’s life.

Sinag Maynila - Bambanti
Bambanti | Zig Dulay


Directed By: Lawrence Fajardo
Written By: John Paul Bedia, Herlyn Gail Alegre
Cast: JM De Guzman, Ces Quesada, Bernardo Bernardo, Allen Dizon and Ricky Davao
Also Starring: JC Santos, Only Torres, Naoki Takai, Shinpei Suzuki, May Alleman, Kaz Sawamura, Masaharu Iwamoto, Oyee Barro and Ricky Davao.

The film follows the lives of four Filipino migrant workers in Japan - Linda, Benjie, Manuel and Rodel - who, amidst their individual struggles, are suddenly caught together in an even more complex game of hide and seek where staying invisible is the only way to survive.

Sinag Maynila - Imbisibol
Imbisibol | Lawrence Fajardo


Directed By: Jim Libran
Written By: Jim Libiran, Dominic Lim, Iris Lee
Cast: Annicka Dolonius, Julz Savard, Bea Galvez, Elora Espano, Mariz Reyes, Japo Parcero, Odette Khan, Teresa Loyzaga and Denise Marasigan

Top female students of an elite Catholic high school discover their identities and sexualities amidst clashing values. Conflicts between themselves, their families, and their school forces them to grow up and grow in friendship. They face slut­-shaming when a rumor spreads about their participation in a secret orgy.

Ninja Party | Jim Libiran


Directed By: Remton Siega Zuasola
Written By: Remton Siega Zuasola
Cast: Dionne Monsanto, Matt Daclan, Mon Confiado
Also Starring: Publio Briones, Ramon Bagatsing, Jesus Mendoza, Genica Ines Mijares, Charisse Mari Fonacier, Natileigh Sitoy, Maria Cristina Mondragon, Eli Razo, and Ronyel Compra.                                
A young father is torn between solving a crime and committing another crime when one day his only son is kidnapped and the criminals demand him to steal another kid in exchange for the life of his son.

Swap | Rempton Zuasola

Sinag Maynila 2015

Sinag Maynila will have its screening from March 18 - 24, 2015 at these selected SM Cinemas: SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM Manila, SM Fairview, SM Southmall, SM Mall of Asia, and SM Aura Premier. 

Sinag Maynila also plans to screen the films in other SM Cinemas and universities/colleges after the festival period.

For more info, visit Sinag Maynila Facebook Page.


Edward Santos

EDnything is a lifestyle and entertainment blog featuring great deals and happenings in the Philippines. It also features food reviews, gadgets, showbiz, movies and theater plays, and more!


  1. Interesting. We are really flourishing in terms of independent films. Some of the filmmakers here are familiar as they also participated in the Cinemalaya Film Festival. Exciting!

  2. Indie films are interesting but sometimes I also find them too controversial, at least the ones I have seen a long time ago. But I guess they're creating and experimenting for the sake of art.

  3. Indie films are worth watching. Unlike popular movies, they deal with raw emotions and issues that aren't normally captured in mainstream cinema.

    Maria from

  4. Balut Country, Imbisibol and Swap are interesting. It's good that Indie continues to prevail as these films are the only ones watching in the Filipino Film Industry.

  5. It looks very promising and some of the speakers I know from the industry. Looking forward to these indie films.

  6. Good to know they will be showing in SM Fairview. Looking forward to watch more indie films. :)

  7. I'd like to watch many indie films but the problem is, most of them are not that much publicized. Like Mr. Mendoza said "We don't want to be mainstream. We want to be independent and remain independent. We want to create audience for independent cinema.". Good thing there's a showing of entries on March 18, 2015 at selected SM Cinema ->

  8. this is amazing! we need more avenues for indie films to thrive in the philippine cinemas! thanks for sharing this! :D

  9. yvonnembertoldo .March 3, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    Ninja Party and Swap seems like great movies.. Yey meron sa Sm Fairview. :) Thanks for sharing

  10. :) watch tayo nito