Jay Altarejos returns to Sinag Maynila filmfest via erotic drama ‘Jino to Marī’ (Gino and Marie)

Acclaimed director Joselito “Jay” Altarejos—whose “Tale of the Lost Boys” won the Sinag Maynila 2018 Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Box-Office and Best Editing awards—returns to the celebrated festival with a new film, Jino To Mari (Gino and Marie).

Altarejos’ new work takes an inside look into the pornographic film industry. It tells the story of a young man, played by Oliver Aquino, and a young mother, played by Angela Cortez, who are hired to act in a pornographic film. The two are taken to a far place where they face challenges they never imagined. The film title is the Japanese phrase for “Gino and Marie.”

Jino To Mari is one of the five finalists in the Sinag Maynila 2018 full-length feature category, together with Akin Ang Korona by Zig Dulay, Persons of Interest by Ralston Jover, Jesusa by Ronald Carballo, and Pailalim by Daniel Palacio.

Oliver Aquino in ‘Jino To Mari.’

Being selected for Sinag Maynila 2019 marks the Philippine premiere of the movie that had its world premiere last January at the Black Movie: Festival de Films Festival de Films Indépendants-Genève in Switzerland. Also, Jino To Mari is one of eight local motion pictures in the “Panorama on Filipino Cinema” section of the 9th Cambodia International Film Festival held last March 9 to 14 in Phnom Penh.

Altarejos is known for tackling LGBT themes amid social issues, many of his previous films have won recognition in local and international filmfests; these include Kasal which won Director’s Showcase Best Picture at the 10th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, Lihim ni Antonio which won Best Film at the Festival del Mar de Gran Canaria; and Unfriend which premiered at the Panorama section of the Berlinale 2014. “My films are very personal and almost confessional. It’s an expression of what I am,” he said in an interview at the Black Movie Film Festival in Switzerland.

Jino To Mari is Altarejos’ most courageous to date. “It’s provocative, bold and daring… It poses the question, ‘When you take away one’s respect and dignity… what is left of that person?’”

Angela Cortez in ‘Jino to Mari.’

You can catch Jino To Mari at the following theaters and times:

April 4, Thursday, 4 pm at SM North Edsa;
April 4, Thursday, 4 pm at SM Manila;

April 5, Friday, 1:30 pm at SM Megamall;
April 5, Friday, 1:30 pm at Cinema ’76 Anonas;
April 5, Friday, 6:30 pm at Gateway;
April 5, Friday, 6:30 pm at Black Maria;

April 6, Saturday, 9 pm at Gateway (Gala Screening);
April 6, Saturday, 9 pm at Black Maria;

April 7, Sunday, 6:30 pm at Black Maria;
April 7, Sunday, 9 pm at SM Megamall;
April 7, Sunday, 9 pm at Cinema ’76 Anonas;

April 8, Monday, 1:30 pm at Gateway;
April 8, Monday, 6:30 pm at Cinema ’76 Anonas;

April 9, Tuesday, 6;30 pm at Gateway; and
April 9, Tuesday, 6:30 pm at Black Maria.

For more information, log on to www.sinagmaynila.com and www.facebook.com/SinagMaynila/.

Football for a Better Life launches partnerships, unveils Simone Rota docu

When the documentary “Journeyman Finds Home – The Simone Rota Story” was unveiled at the Uptown Ultra Cinema in Taguig, the event also marked the partnership of Football for a Better Life with other sports development programs. The film is presented by Davao Aguilas FC.

Football for a Better Life (FFABL), which aims to empower the youth and uplift their lives through the sport of football, is the main proponent of the documentary. Co-directed by Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga, the docu chronicles the personal struggles of Azkals’ player Simone Rota— from how he was adopted by an Italian couple, to how grew up and played football in Italy, and then returned to the Philippines to join the national team and search for his biological mother.

Since the “Journeyman” work-in-progress was shown last September 2017 at the Cine Europa Film Festival in Shangri-La Mall, the filmmakers have added new footage and interviews. Says Albert Almendralejo, “We have added the grassroots programs that led to the establishment of the Youth Football League and included the Azkals game where Simone was called back to the national team. There is also new information about the lady whom Simone believed was his long-lost mother.”

The premiere event also presented the two sports programs that FFABL is supporting: Women Empowerment through Sports (WEtS), an international youth project whose local organizer is the NGO Bridging the Gaps, and Mindanao1 Futbol, a talent identification mission in Mindanao led by national player-turned-coach Percy Guarin.

“Sport empowers women and develops values in children. This is the advocacy of Football for a Better Life and serves as our humble contribution to national development,” states FFABL founder and president Mr. Almendralejo.

“Journeyman” is set to compete in the European Philippine International Film Festival, which will be held from March 7 to 9 in Florence, Italy. “Journeyman” is also slated to screen in the Sinag Maynila Film Festival, and in the 17 regional football association areas where the Mindanao1 Futbol talent identification search are being conducted. “We are happy to offer all proceeds of the Simone Rota special film screenings to endeavors that promote sports to women, kids and orphans, particularly to Women Empowerment through Sports, Mindanao1 Futbol and Buklod Kalinga sa Kapwa Foundation,” says Mr. Almendralejo.

In a statement, Bridging the Gaps (BTS) said that the support is a boost to their goal of “developing, testing, and spreading new educational methodologies for young women empowerment through sports…” BTG has chosen Simone to be an ambassador of their cause.

For Coach Percy Guarin, the tie-up with FFABL complements his program’s vision. “That is to touch lives through football and give kids plenty of opportunities to play and express themselves and discover new skills.” In particular, Coach Percy said that the “Journeyman” docu is going to be an inspiration. “Seeing the movie of Simone will give children hope that someday their dream will be a reality.” The film is supported by the Philippine Italian Association, Elan Vita Diagnostic Solutions and Puma.

Raymond Francisco, Ronwaldo Martin topbill Joel Lamangan’s ‘Bhoy Intsik’

A gay thief and his young protege: These are the two main characters portrayed by seasoned theater actor and television commercial director Raymond Francisco and Coco Martin’s younger brother Ronwaldo Martin in “BHOY INTSIK”.

Raymond, known to his friends in showbiz as “RS”, embarks on a new journey in his colorful career as an artist– as a first-tilnc lead actor in the said independent feature film he produced under his Frontrow Entcrtain1nent.

Under the direction of award-winning 1nastcr director joel Lamangan. “BHOY INTSIK” is among the five (5) finalists of Sinag Maynila 2017 indie film festival with Brillante Mendoza as festival director and Wilson Tieng, chief executive officer of Solar Entertainment, main proponent of the three-year-old festival.

The film tackles the story of Bhoy Intsik (Raymond Francisco) and Marlon (Ronwaldo Martin), two small-time felons whose paths crossed, starting a petty mutual disdain for a competitor in their illegal business in the community of the living-dead, and both eventually became allies.

“Being both the lead actor and producer of this film is definitely a big challenge for me,” says Raymond. “I had to separate my role as a producer and as an actor.”

“During the pre-production stage of the film, I functioned as a producer. But when the cameras started to grind, I had to shut off the producer side of me to concentrate
on my role, and leave all the production aspect to my director and the team.”

How would he rate Ronwaldo Martin as a newbie actor?

“Yes, he’s new in the business, but a very professional talent. I felt a screen chemistry with him as co-actors, as far as our roles were concerned – without any malicious angle, even if I’m a gay in the story and he’s straight.

“I’m also deeply honored to have Direk Joel as my director who guided us on how to give color to our respective roles.”

The movie also stars }eric Raval, Mon Confiado, Elora Espafio, Jim Pebanco, Tony Mabesa, Shyr Valdes, Mike Lloren, and Liz Alindogan.

“Bhoy Intsik” is slated to be shown from March 9 to 14 in SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, Gateway, and Glorietta 4 cinemas.

GUIDE: Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival 2017

The third Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run from March 9 to 14 at the following cinemas: SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, Glorietta 4, Gateway Mall. Copied from Cinema Bravo

The invitational opening ceremonies will be held on March 9 at Sky Park, SM Aura Premiere. Awards night is on March 12 at Samsung Hall.

Screening Schedules

sinag-maynila-2017-screening-schedules

The local film festival’s new tagline “Sine Lokal, Pang-lnternasyonal” lives up to its core as the roster of finalists handpicked by Sinag Maynila CEO and Founder Wilson Tieng and world-renowned and internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Ma Mendoza have been announced. “The upgraded mechanics for this season may have been a risky move, but we are very happy with the outcome,” says Tieng. “We are looking forward to the reception of these films here and of course, internationally.” Copied from Cinema Bravo

With the tremendous success of Sinag Maynila’s debut in March 2015, more talented filmmakers took their chance in getting a nod to be part of the competing roster as it has been closely associated with the opportunity for international recognition. This year’s categories include Full Length, Short Film, and Documentary.

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FULL-LENGTH FEATURES Copied from Cinema Bravo

1. “KRISTO” by HF Yambao

The story delves into what is supposed to be a victorious day for Boy whose first born; Jemjem, graduated from elementary with honors. Throughout the story, bits and pieces of fighting against oppression of losing his main livelihood as a vendor, of fighting for his winnings in a bet to game fowls, fighting for his honor as a family man, and eventually fighting for his own life against fate will be revealed. “KRISTO” stars Angela Cortez, Julio Diaz, Kristoffer King.


2. “BEYOND THE BLOCK” by Ricardo Carranza

Spanning fifty years and charting a path across three continents, “Beyond the block” weaves a thoughtful, personal account of Hip Hop Dance in the Philippines. From the sensational TV program of “Penthouse 7” in the 70s to the cult classic “Dance 10” in the 80s to the struggles of Filipino contingents in today s biggest international dance competitions, the film lovingly showcases the special place of dance in every Filipino life.


3. “LADYFISH” by Jason Orfalas

Expelled from her nine-year occupation in the call center industry and discriminated upon because of her homosexuality, Kaye Cienfuegos, struggles to make ends meet. Her search for p lace and identity is cut short when her best friend Bonn appears on her front door with her adopted Swedish son Bjorn, and together they face obstacles to provide for their basic needs and rights in a society where a fair chance is out of reach. “LADYFISH” stars JC Santos, Martin Escudero, Brenda Mage, Ruby Ruiz.


4. “BHOY INSTIK” by Joel Lamangan

Two small-time felons’ paths crossed, starting a petty mutual disdain for a competitor in their illegal business: BHOY INTSIK and MARLON, the key personalities in the community of the living-dead. “BHOY INTSIK” stars RS Francisco, Ronwaldo Martin, Elora Espano, Jim Pebanco, Tony Mabesa, Jeric Raval.

 


5. TU PUG IMATUY (The Right To Kill) by Arnel Barbarona

In an indigenous community in Mindanao, the couple Dawin and Ibunay raise their three children amidst the threat of a mining company.

When their youngest child dies from illness and gets buried, the family later encountered soldiers assigned to protect the mining firm from guerrilla rebels. The soldiers instead turned their attention on the couple. Their harvest gets thrown away, and Ibunay gets raped. Both were forced to guide the soldiers in their search of the rebels.

The search leads them to the community school where the soldiers held the teacher and the children. Ibunay manages to help them escaped but this enraged the soldiers and they vent their anger on Dawin. Ibunay’s recourse in this course of events is to fight for her dignity and for the survival of her family and her tribe from the abuses of the military.

“Tu Pug Imatuy” is the indigenous Manobo term for “The Right to Kill”.  The movie is inspired by actual events in Mindanao where indigenous peoples have been subjected to abuse and attacks in the course of the government forces counter-insurgency campaign.

Starring Jong Monzon, Obunay Sulatan, Jillian Khayle Barbarona, Henyo Ehem.


SHORT FILMS Copied from Cinema Bravo

1. “I Am Jupiter, I am the Biggest Planet” by Matthew Victor Pastor

Silence in the red light district of Manila.

2. “Ang Langit, Burger at ang Universe” by Emmanuel Escalona Jr.

It took burgers and one girl for a man to discover his place in the universe.

3. “Aliens Ata” by Karl Glenn Barit

Two brothers deal with the sudden loss of their father and an eventual separation from their overseas-Filipino-worker mother. Some things are hard to grasp that’s why they look to the sky for answers. Could it be aliens?

4. “Ang Hindi Ko Masambit” by JoseMaria Javier Manoos

A deaf kid who dreams of going to school faces a series of rejection from his mother because of an unprecedented past.

5. “Tulay Buhay” by Paul Arrenze Dionela

In the streets of Manila, the homeless stuggle to live. Some fool others; others don’t want to be fooled and some immitate some in order to survive.


DOCUMENTARIESCopied from Cinema Bravo

1 . “Hango” by Avelino Mark Balmes Jr.

Follows the story of a grandfather and his grandchild who works as fishermen in Bacoor, Cavite.

2. “Kupkop” by Jaynus Olaivar

A documentary that revolves around the life of 3 kids with cerebral palsy, who were aboned by their parents due to their condition. They were able to find love and affection from people who, may not be their kin1 show compassion without any form of compensation.

3. “The Recycled Spirits of Roel Cabato” by Noah Del Rosario

Meet Roel Cabato: an llocano-lfugao artist and environmentalist from Baguio City, who spends his time creating artworks from whatever he can find in his home/art space called Hanan’chi (Aninito Art Space and Cafe). His works represent his spiritual connection with Ifugao culture as well as his advocacy for environmentalism and recycling.

4. “Pagrara Sang Patipuron (Weaving a Circle)” by Jean Clare Dy, Manuel Domes

Pagrara San Patipuron follows a group of indigenous Aeta women weaving artists in Nagpana, a sitio up in the mountains of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. The film explores their artistic processes and products, reflecting negotiations between tradition and modernity. With the help of two your artist entrepreneurs in the community, the women were empowered to explore their artistic imagination and extend the limits of the design process in the hope of transcending their present realities.

5. “Krudo Boys” by Mirielle De Lara, Angelica Domingo, Dannieleth Julapong, Maria Agnes Malvar, Bea San Juan, Nathaniel Santiago

Renato together with his brother Alyo, are two of the few men who call themselves “Krudo Boys”. They scavenge for spilling crude oils coming from ships in Navatos City using only their worn-out boat and a piece of foam then selling it to the consumers. With this kind of grueling labor, they strive to work hard in order for them to provide food and shelter for their family.

WINNERS: Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival 2016

The winners of Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival 2016 were announced April 24 at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura Premiere, Taguig City. (READ: Guide to Sinag Maynila 2016)

Here is the full list of winners of Sinag Maynila 2016:

Best Film: MRS.

Best Actress: Elizabeth Oropesa for MRS.

Best Actor: Alvin Anson for EXPRESSWAY

Best Director: Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr. for MRS.

SM People’s Choice Award: LILA

Blink Box Office Film: LILA

Best Screenplay: Joselito Altarejos & Archie del Mundo for TPO

Best Production Design: Marielle Hizon for LILA

Best Cinematography: Albert Banzon for MRS.

Best Editing: Benjamin Tolentino for EXPRESSWAY

Best Musical Score: Francis De Veyra for EXPRESSWAY

Best Sound: Drew Milallos for TPO

Short Film 1st Place: APUHAP
Short Film Runners-up: ANG KAPINUNAN KAN MGA ALON SA DANAY by Jennifer Lyn Romano & THE FORESEEING by Daniel Morial & Jeth Ordeniza (TIE)

Cinefone 1st Place: 99% by John Barcena
Cinefone 2nd Place: LITRATO NG NAKARAAN by Angelika Deofilo, Danilo Garcia & Samantha Mariano
Cinefone 3rd Place: ESPAYB by Ebone Cimafranca, Jacquiline Hidalgo, Jessica Rubete & Juselle Roble

Elizabeth Oropesa, Lotlot de Leon topbill Adolf Alix Jr.’s ‘Mrs.’

In “Mrs.”, 70-year-old Virginia (Elizabeth Oropesa) shares the old ancestral house with Delia (Lotlot de Leon), her ever-loyal maid. Delia is marrying her long-time boyfriend, Rene, and tearfully confides to Virginia that she wants to go home to her parents in the province to start a new family life with him. Haunted by a past that Virginia tries to conquer—her only son Sonny Boy who disappeared years ago, what follows shows a portrait of a woman and a mother trying to juggle the sad realities of life in a cycle of life and death.

Direk Adolf talks about the birth of this unique story about the struggle in a life of a mother. “Minsan napag-usapan namin nung writer ko yung idea na kung namatay yung anak mo, may closure ka. Pero kung nawawala lang siya, paano mo tatanggapin yung idea na isang araw makasalubong mo siya or isang araw baka mabalitaan mo na wala na siya.” He continues, “Pero wala akong personal experience sa mga bagay na ‘yon. Nagka-interes lang ako dahil napaka-rich nung ganitong situation.”

Elizabeth Oropesa plays the role of Virginia, the homeowner of the ancestral home that sits on a faultline. “[It’s] a very interesting character. I’ve never had any character like this. Maraming masalimuot na iniikutan yung character. Parang love story namin ni Lotlot ito. May boyfriend siya pero ayaw niya kong iwan ever at siya rin mahal na mahal ko, parang pamilya ko na at parang iniisip ko hanggang sa mamatay ako ay siya na yung kasama ko.”

The loyal househelper Delia portrayed by Lotlot de Leon talks about the other perspective of the film. “Dito sa pelikulang ito makikita niyo ang realidad ng buhay, kung paano talaga magmahal at mag-alaga ang isang kasambahay, at kung paano rin siya mahalin ng pinagsisilbihan niya.”

The 2nd Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run from April 21 to 26, 2016 in select SM Cinemas. For more updates, log on to http://sinagmaynilafilmfestival.com/, on Facebook via SinagMaynila, Twitter and Instagram via @sinagmaynila.

The roster of SMFF 2016 films also includes EXPRESSWAY by Ato Bautista, LILA by Gino M. Santos, DYAMPER by Mes De Guzman, and T.P.O. by Jay Altarejos.

Aljur Abrenica, Alvin Anson star in Ato Bautista’s ‘Expressway’

A syndicate old-timer named Ben (Alvin Anson) needs to do one last assignment before the boss he works for grants him his much delayed retirement. Assigned to be his partner is the neophyte Morris (Aljur Abrenica), a trigger-happy, sadist who yearns to impress the syndicate boss. For Ben, this last assignment turns out to be a journey of introspection, self-healing and redemption. With this awakening, he takes it upon himself to pull Morris out of the eventual hell-of-a-life he says he has lived as a hitman.

Actors Alvin and Aljur talked about their passion for their characters and this film in a recent interview. Alvin shares, “Very personal kasi sa akin ‘tong movie because Direk Ato offered this film to the late Rudy Fernandez… I’m very close to Kuya Daboy [and] I’ve done a lot of films with him.” On the other hand, Aljur’s fans will see his daring side as he also takes part in a risqué scene in the film. Staying true to his craft, Aljur goes deeper into his role. “Before I did this film, may konting background na ko sa pagiging isang killer,” he says. “Nag-research ako kung paano siya nasanay kasi wala naman pinanganak na ganun agad yung kayang gawin.”

EXPRESSWAY also stars RK Bagatsing, Kiko Matos, Inez Bernardo, Japo Parcero, Arpee Bautista, and Jim Libiran.

The 2nd Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run from April 21 to 26, 2016. For more updates, log on to http://sinagmaynilafilmfestival.com/, on Facebook via SinagMaynila, Twitter and Instagram via @sinagmaynila.

The roster of SMFF 2016 films also includes MRS. by Adolf Alix Jr., DYAMPER by Mes De Guzman, T.P.O. by Jay Altarejos, and LILA by Gino M. Santos.

Mes De Guzman’s ‘Dyamper’ depicts real-life struggle in Nueva Vizcaya

Director Mes De Guzman’s film ‘Dyamper’ is about three friends wait along Dalton Pass every dawn to jump at the back of rice delivery trucks to steal the goods and sell it at the wet market as their means of income. One of them accidentally gets a pack of drugs in one of the trucks they jumped and finds themselves in jeopardy when its owners track them down to retrieve the stash, and gives them a chance to get off the hook by means of taking on a risky mission.

Alchris Galura plays the character of Tinoy, one of the jumpers. He finds it difficult to say much about his role, out of fear that he might give away the story. “May tinatakasan siya. Period.” Co-star Lisa Dino adds, “Tinoy’s character is interesting because he’s trying to escape from his reality, thus creating a new reality for himself at dun nag-start yung conflict.”

Lisa’s character Elena is the object of motivation for Tinoy. “Nasagasaan ‘yung asawa ko tapos dahil sa guilt, nag-iiwan siya (Tinoy) ng mga pagkain sa bahay namin to make-up for what happened kasi bed-ridden ‘yung asawa ko. It grew into some sort of weird attraction between Elena and Tinoy,” she tells.

According to Direk Mes, ‘dyampers’ are not uncommon up North. “Taga-Nueva Vizcaya ako at nasasaksihan ko na ‘tong mga ganitong sinasabing pagda-dyamper. Dito, literal na tumatalon sila sa truck at sa tingin ko kaya ko na rin siya sinulat dahil wala pa ‘kong napapanood na pelikula na tumatalakay nito.

The cast of “DYAMPER” also includes Carlo Aquino, Tim Mabalot, Kristofer King, and Debbie Garcia.

The 2nd Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run from April 21 to 26, 2016 in select SM Cinemas. For more updates, log on to http://sinagmaynilafilmfestival.com/, on Facebook via SinagMaynila, Twitter and Instagram via @sinagmaynila.

The roster of SMFF 2016 films also includes EXPRESSWAY by Ato Bautista, LILA by Gino M. Santos, T.P.O. by Jay Altarejos, and MRS. by Adolf Alix Jr.

Janine Gutierrez, Enchong Dee escape dark past in Gino M. Santos’ ‘Lila’

‘Lila’ is a psychological-thriller by Gino M. Santos for this year’s Sinag Maynila Film Festival. “The film is my first horror film. It’s a challenge because we need to make the film as unique and as Filipino as possible,” says Gino.

The story is about Jess (Janine Gutierrez), a young woman running from her past and moves into the house of a warmhearted landlady. She finds a diary in her room that belonged to an old tenant.  As days pass, strange occurrences ensue and the diary’s words take an eerie turn when Jess finds herself in the middle of a malevolent turn of events from a dark past not entirely her own.

Janine shares, “I really like the story of Lila because it’s a mix of different genres—it’s not just horror or suspense. A lot of the ideas are left for the audience to figure out.”

Kapamilya actor Enchong Dee stars as Janine’s cousin in the film who tries to help Jess escape from her past. He gives a heartfelt message to the audience saying, “Wag nating hintayin na sa ibang bansa pa mapansin ‘yung ganda ng isang pelikula tulad nito at ng iba pang mga kasama sa Sinag Maynila. Be amazed with what our filmmakers can do.” The film also casts Sherry Lara, Miggs Cuaderno, Kate Alejandrino, and Socrates Jose.

The 2nd Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run from April 21 to 26, 2016 in select SM Cinemas. For more updates, log on to http://sinagmaynilafilmfestival.com/, on Facebook via SinagMaynila, Twitter and Instagram via @sinagmaynila.

The roster of SMFF 2016 films also includes EXPRESSWAY by Ato Bautista, MRS. by Adolf Alix Jr., DYAMPER by Mes De Guzman, and T.P.O. by Jay Altarejos.

Mara Lopez plays battered wife in Jay Altarejos’ ‘T.P.O.’

T.P.O. tells the story of Miguel (Oliver Aquino), an abusive husband to TERESA, a former town-beauty queen (Mara Lopez).  They have an eight-year old son, JR (Micko Laurente).  Their small family lives with Miguel’s parents (Menggie Cobarrubias and Dexter Doria). The family is shattered by the vicious cycle of domestic abuse.

After a night of beating,  Teresa, goaded by a friend (Yayo Aguila), seeks TPO (Temporary Protection Order) from the court. TPO is a legal remedy that a woman can avail of  under Republic Act  9262 (Violence Against Women and Children Law) to protect her and her child against anyone harming them. Teresa is granted the TPO against Miguel. But in this legal tug-of-war of familial rights, their son, JR, is ignored. Until, he shows aggression in school. But Miguel’s parents coax Miguel to file for Child Custody. Just like our legal system, the film slowly unravels their story. 

TPO is a cautionary tale on domestic abuse that examines the lives of a small family victimised by it.  The director employs a static-cinema approach in a non-linear narrative.  TPO is his second film on his trilogy about domestic abuse.

“My film that will be shown during the festival would be my third attempt,” Direk Jay reveals. “I’ve shot something, I have a story in my mind, [but] when I saw some of the footage, they’re so experimental that it is not the requirement of the festival, so three times nabugbog sa pelikula ko pero iba’t ibang atake.”

The character of Mara is abused emotionally, physically, and mentally. “It was pretty challenging. I’m really glad that Direk Jay Altarejos talagang natulungan niya ko sa mga eksena,” she shares. “The nice thing about this film is that maganda siya para sa mga kababaihan na takot magsalita, takot lumaban… I hope mabigyan sila ng courage to stand up for their rights.”

T.P.O. also stars Micko Laurente, Menggie Cobarrubias, and Lui Manansala.

The 2nd Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run from April 21 to 26, 2016 in select SM Cinemas. For more updates, log on to http://sinagmaynilafilmfestival.com/, on Facebook via SinagMaynila, Twitter and Instagram via @sinagmaynila.

The roster of SMFF 2016 films also includes EXPRESSWAY by Ato Bautista, LILA by Gino M. Santos, DYAMPER by Mes De Guzman, and MRS. by Adolf Alix Jr.

Conceptualized and helmed by CEO and Founder Wilson Tieng, together with world-renowned and internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza, Sinag Maynila gives grants to independent filmmakers so they can develop their individual material to a full-length film for public exhibition. Five chosen filmmakers closely collaborated with Tieng and Mendoza. This collaboration resulted in stories that reflect the Filipino culture while illustrating messages that will resonate globally.