Sinag Maynila 2015: Hit or Miss?

The recently concluded Sinag Maynila Film Festival featured 5 films from Filipino directors selected to tackle social issues through their lenses. But with all the competition in this niche of independent film festivals, just how exactly did it fare? The most prestigious among these competitions, Cinemalaya Film Festival, has been having a run for its money since the advent of similarly themed contests such as Cinema One Originals and QCinema. With the launch of Sinag Maynila, would it be doing the same?

Entering this niche, there has to be knowledge on the typical attendee. People flock to these festivals looking for films with depth, with stories yearning to be told in justice of their beauty. They can be satiated with either cerebral or emotional tales, but what they bargain for here is the impact—how a movie could actually shake them up and think or feel things through.

Seeing some films in Sinag Maynila, the ones hailed as the best in their crop, one is still left yearning. Cliffhanger endings are the trend but there is a fine line between letting the audience guessing and just cutting the story short. Personally, most felt prematurely cut. There is promise, but its potential wasn’t entirely achieved. Despite the nobility of the cause in portraying social issues, it was not able to shake its audience to yield thorough action – be it to take steps in addressing the issue or to spread the movies through word of mouth.

The lackluster performance of the festival may be attributed to some factors which probably have snowballed to its end result. Albeit accessible such that the movies were carried in selected SM Cinemas, maybe the real hype does happen in small spaces which allows for its like-minded audience to mingle and exchange ideas with each other. Maybe it was the selection process, being too exclusive and non-selective. A number of speculations may follow but would still be an absence of a resolution, much like its presentation.

Despite this, Sinag Maynila is not doomed. Lessons will be learned and may be built upon to allow for improvements. It is a young festival with a noble cause. And if Sinag Maynila is to be come as prestigious as its contemporaries, it must continue on and evolve.

Categories: #experience

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