Mindanaoan film wins Sinag Maynila 2017

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - A film on the plight of indigenous groups in Mindanao bagged Best Picture in the Sinag Maynila 2017 Film Festival. 

Out of five feature films in the running, Arbi Barbarona's Tu Pug Imatuy won the Best Film category at the festival's awards night on Sunday at the SM Aura Samsung Hall.

Tu Pug Imatuy, or "The Right to Kill" in Manobo, is a story about an indigenous couple whose way of life is thrown into disarray following an encounter with the military.

The film also swept Best Actress award for its lead Malona Sulatan, along with the Best Director, Best Screenplay. and Best Musical Score awards.

Sulatan was incredulous over her win, since this was her first film.

"Wala akong background sa acting, walang workshop. Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala. Hindi ko rin masabi... Mahirap. Basta napakasaya ko sa gabing ito," Sulatan said.

("I have no acting background. Not even a workshop. I can't believe it. I don't know what to say...It's difficult. I'm just so happy tonight.")

Sinag Maynila will run until March 14, with entries being shown at SM Megamall, SM North Edsa and Gateway.

Here is the full list of winners:

Feature-Length Film

  • Best Film: Tu Pug Imatuy
  • Best Director: Arbi Barbarona, Tu Pug Imatuy
  • Best Actress: Malona Sulatan, Tu Pug Imatuy
  • Best Actor: Kristofer King, Kristo and Raymond Francisco, Bhoy Intsik
  • Best Supporting Performance: Julio Diaz, Kristo
  • Best Screenplay: Arnel Mardoquio, Tu Pug Imatuy
  • Best Cinematography: Bryan Jimenez and Arbi Barbarona, Tu Pug Imatuy
  • Best Production Design: James Arvin Rosendal, Kristo
  • Best Editing: Diego Marx Dobles, Kristo
  • Best Sound: Albert Michael Idioma, Kristo
  • Best Music: Arbi Barbarona, Tu Pug Imatuy

Best Short Film: Karl Glenn Barit, Aliens Ata

Best Documentary: Avelino Balmes Jr, Hango

The Sinag Maynila Awards Night was also graced by Korean actress Lee Song Lee and director Lee Sang Woo for the special screening of their film "Walking Street."

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For acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza, the contending filmmakers were challenged to experiment with the film festival's theme "Sine Lokal, Pang International" [Local Films for International Viewing].

"One thing really interesting is, napaka-diverse nila [they're very diverse]. Even the themes, merong documentary, even 'yung aesthetics magkakaiba [the aesthetics vary]," Mendoza said.

Because of Sinag Maynila 2017's sucess, Solar Entertainment Corporation president and chairman Wilson Tieng said to watch out for its next film exhibition.

"We're gonna make it bigger and it has always been our plan, kami ni Brillante Mendoza, to push it further and have more films so that they can be seen by everyone, not only Filipinos here or people living in our country but people living everywhere in the world," Tieng said.