The #SinagMaynila Experience Part 1

When I first saw the teasers of Sinag Maynila last year, I thought that it was just one of those movie festivals that would come and eventually would go. To add, I hated disliked the teasers. They portrayed the most common themes in the independent movie industry (and in black and white too). Women crying. Children being wrongfully accused of theft. You know the drill. The scenes were just a bit over-the-top for my taste. However, whatever my first impression was, I was proven wrong. After watching the five films claimed to be “significant”, I laughed and cried. I was moved and inspired. I was changed. I was a different person each time I went out of the movie theater.

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More than a week ago,  the first Sinag Maynila Film Festival was launched. Knowing that it only showed five movies and that internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza served as a the festival director, my inner indie film fanatic curiosity was switched on. I ran to the nearest mall after work (SM Aura) and to my surprise, the gala screening for three of the films were going to be held there. I literally ran to the ticket booth. There, I saw a familiar face. It was Junjun Quintana (Quick Change, A Philippino Story)! Junjun originally played the role of Rodel in the play version of the Virgin Lab Fest entry with the same title. I wanted to take a picture with him but he disappeared before I could gather the courage to do it. After buying tickets for Balut Country and Imbisibol, I went to the food court area and there he was, just sitting with other indie film people. I was too shy to directly approach him there and there so I did something ridiculous and a little stalkery-ish. I sat on the bench adjacent to where he was sitting. So we were sitting back to back. I could hear them talking but I wasn’t listening of course. My mind was too busy rehearsing how I would ask him for a photo.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD