A recent graduate of La Consolacion College Manila bagged the Best Picture award in the fifth SineOmni Film Festival held last August 25 at the Cinematheque Centre Manila.
Maria Del Carmen “Mikee” Villapol, who previously won Best Picture in the Mini Short category of IKLI: Super Short Film Festival for her work “Bitin,” topped SineOmni with her new short film “Da Master Plan.” She is an alumna of LCCM and its resident film and theater organization SineDulaang Agustino.
“Da Master Plan” tells the story of Macoy, an imaginative young boy who seeks help from his toy companions to confront the sinister monster tormenting him. Without his disbelieving mother’s support, he must defeat the monster once and for all. It also won Best Sound Design for Jalen Buenaseda.
Mick Quito’s “The Prodigal Daughter” and Angelica Manipol’s “Magdalena” placed second and third, respectively. In “The Prodigal Daughter,” Penelope, a 20-year-old Filipino-American, visits Manila to meet her estranged father for the first time, hoping to understand his departure from her life. Meanwhile, in “Magdalena,” a determined 22-year-old woman named Aira Magdalena navigates the dark and dangerous world of prostitution in a relentless pursuit to escape poverty and complete her education.
“The Prodigal Daughter” also received awards for Best Director for Quito, Best Actress for Ivanka Marie Guillermo, and Best Supporting Actor for Soliman Cruz. On the other hand, “Magdalena” also got Best Screenplay for Manipol and Best Production Design for Cire Alessandra Yaptengco and Khryza Maaba.
The other winners are Edrey Paul Biteng, Jury Prize, and Heidi Bayani, Best Cinematography, for “Magic Memory,” Miguel Luis Nera, Best Actor, and Elizabeth Santos-Nera, Best Supporting Actress for “Genesis,” Adrian Bolante, Best Editing for “Rad,” and Justine Cusipag, Best Musical Score for “Pahimuyong.”
Biteng’s “Magic Memory” is about an emerging local DJ who crosses paths with a girl who offers him a cryptic cigarette, sparking a shared night of indulgence and vulnerability they will eventually forget.
In “Genesis,” also directed by Nera, the titular character reconnects with God as he tries to seek repentance while battling his worsening condition, with the hope of finding his way to heaven.
“Rad,” also directed by Bolante, zeroes in on a man and his dog trying to find a way out of an isolated town exposed to radiation.
In “Pahimuyong” by Randy Pimentel Olesco, Chona, a single mother of two children named Miko and Dante, is involved in illegal drugs and she needs to get their lives out of danger before it is too late.
“Balasa” by Rhonn Mercene, “Byaheng Sikmura” by Kathrino V. Resurreccion, “Chess” by Szackobe Kabro Z. Sanchez, “Crossroads” by Beatrice Talagtag, “Golden Hour” by Nehemiarey Dallego and Ruzzel John Palomillo, “Mamay” by Marione Morales, and “Saida” by Catherine Sevilla complete the entries.
SineOmni is a showcase of the films produced by workshop participants of the Screen/Stage Performing Arts Course for Enthusiasts (SPACE) facilitated by award-winning director Arvin “Kadiboy” Belarmino and Jonathan Montes with mentors Elora Españo, Veronica Reyes, Bel Paquiz, and Tim Rone Villanueva.
Aside from featuring eight new filmmakers and six returning directors, the culmination of this year’s filmmaking workshop also paid tribute to the late filmmaker and mentor Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez.