Budding filmmakers of Sagay City, Negros Occidental continue to make waves amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, featuring 10 productions in the second edition of the Margaha Film Festival.

Also known as the Sine Margaha, the festival is named after the kilometer-long shoreline of Margaha (black sand) beach of the northern Negros city.

Festival director Helen Cutillar said on Wednesday she is glad that the films’ cast and crew hurdled the challenges brought by the health crisis and came up with remarkable productions.

“They were able to produce quality films despite the challenges of strictly following Covid-19 health protocols during the shoots,” she added.

Photo: SINE MARGAHA. Kent John Desamparado (2nd from right) receives the trophy for Best Director in this year’s awards night of the Margaha Film Festival held on Feb. 26, from festival director Helen Cutillar, Jenalyn Palacios of the City Information and Tourism Office, and Rosalia Alvarado, wife of painter Nunelucio Alvarado. His film “Ang Pagsalop sang Adlaw” also won Best Picture, bested nine other productions. (Photo courtesy of Sagay City Information and Tourism Office)

Cutillar said through the film festival, held in consonance with the Arts Month in February, Sagay promotes local arts and culture and showcases cultural mapping efforts, raising awareness of the city’s tangible and intangible cultural properties.

She acknowledged the city government, which provided each production team seed money of PHP6,000, as well as the Office of 2nd District Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva and the Film Development Council of the Philippines for supporting the Sine Margaha.

This year’s top winner is “Ang Pagsalop sang Adlaw” or “The Immersion of the Sun”, which bagged the Best Picture and seven other major and special awards, including Best Director and Best in Cinematography for Kent John Desamparado.

Produced by Bakhaw Studios and filmed in the upland barangay of Colonia Divina, it tells about the journey of the Amparo family as they bury “Inday,” which revealed more secrets that each of the family members hid for the longest time.

“I’m grateful for the support of my family and the people behind the production of the film,” Desamparado said.

The film’s other awards included Best Production Design by Nelson Emnace, Original Song by Brian Ferraro, and Best Covid-19 Health Protocol Compliance.

Amalea Gay Jontongco was awarded Best Supporting Actress while the whole cast of “Ang Pagsalop sang Adlaw” was given a Special Citation for Ensemble Performance in Acting.

Ba’Lay Production’s “Paraiso”, a mystical film about deforestation in the early 70s, was awarded second Best Picture, and Panganod Productions’ sci-fi movie “Sa Mga Kabati kag Gapamati,” third Best Picture.

“Paraiso” also took the award for Best Actress for Crystal Puying, Best Editing by Charles Hilado, and Best Trailer, while “Sa Mga Kabati kag Gapamati’s” Jonathan Limpangog was awarded Best Supporting Actor.

Other films in the 2021 Sine Margaha included “Pasitib” of PP Studios, “Yuhom” and “Makina” of Duyog Production, “Dalagan” of Lente Film Productions, “Judith” of Anggulo Films, “Save Point” of Majarleka Productions, and “Hunas” of Kumpas Production.

“Judith” received the recognition for Best Screenplay and the Nunelucio Alvarado Panublion Award, while Hunas won Best Poster and Best Actor for Alfonso Macam Jr.

The 2021 Sine Margaha panel of jury consisted of Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino’s Tito Valiente, directors Teng Mangansakan, Keith Deligero, and Arden Rod Condez, Sine Negrense festival director Tanya Lopez, broadcaster and historian Rod Florentino, and writer Kenneth Ian Rivera. (PNA)