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Empowering stories: Highlights from the 2023 SineMaya Community Film Festival in Philippine Microfinance

Sinemaya 2023
Mie Baring (5th from L), Leodeliza Noynay (4th from L) and their Unit Manager, Bernadeth Nonol (3rd from L) from CARD SME Bank Salvacion 3P center in Davo del Norte, bagged the Best Film Award for their film “Pangandoy” during the Sinemaya Film Fest Araw ng Parangal. The award was presented by CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip (middlemost), together with CARD SME Bank President Cynthia Baldeo (2nd from L), CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo Dequito (2nd from R) alongside other MFI’s Heads and representatives.

January 11, 2024

SAN PABLO CITY – The Sinemaya 2023: Community Film Festival recently concluded its second edition at SM City San Pablo in Laguna on December 10, 2023, marking a significant milestone in the Philippine microfinance industry.

In this edition, the festival showcased eight inspiring documentary films created by communities of various microfinance institutions in the Philippines. The films were screened in various SM Cinemas, including SM City Manila, SM City Iloilo, and SM City Cagayan de Oro on November 26, 2023.

The competing entrieswere: Letra by CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO) MSU 2 Center from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur; Isang libong hakbang para sa pangarap by CARD Bank Arawan 16 Center from Tiaong, Quezon; Dahon ng Pag-asa by CARD MRI Rizal Bank, Inc. Poblacion 13 Center from Cavinti, Laguna; Pangandoy by CARD SME Bank Salvacion 3P Center from Panabo City, Davao del Norte; Balo by ASA Philippines Purple Center from Alaminos, Laguna; Pagbangon ng Api by SEDP- Simbag sa Pag-asenso K25BG Center from Sorsogon; Bunga ng Pag-sisikap by People’s Alternative Livelihood Microfinance Foundation of Sorsogon, Inc. Padac Center from Sorsogon; and Kami ay babae, hindi babae lang by Negros Women For Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. Center 117 from Guimaras.

About SineMaya

SineMaya, organized by CARD MRI Publishing House, aims to share not only the stories of CARD MRI communities but also the broader impact of the microfinance industry on Filipino families and nation-building. Established in 2017, CARD Publishing aligns with the goal of creating inspiring narratives to support microfinance institutions’ mission of poverty eradication. The festival aims to tap into the creativity and artistry of microfinance clients and their families in filmmaking, providing training in scriptwriting and video editing to enhance production quality.

The theme for this year's film fest, "Pagbangon at Pag-asa: Kasangga ang MFI sa pagharap sa bagong simula", inspired participants to produce documentaries based on their real-life experiences.

In selecting the winners, the eight documentary films were deliberated by five judges composed of MiMAP Executive Director Mr. Jun Jay Perez, APPEND President and CEO Dr. Virginia ‘Jeng’ Juan, Light Tv Radio Executive Director Ms. Annie Bico Cristobal,Film Director and Storyteller Mr. Martin Cabrera, and CDC- UPLB Asst. Professor Mr. John Marvin Embate.

The winners

Pangandoy emerged as the Best Film and bagged the Best Director award. Expressing gratitude, the documentary film’s director Mie Baring highlighted the festival's role in showcasing the talents and skills of microfinance clients beyond their entrepreneurial endeavors. “We are grateful that clients like us were given the chance to showcase our talents and skills aside from being microentrepreneurs,” said Baring.

The documentary film Balo secured the 2nd Best Film and earned awards for Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Cinematography and the Founder’s Excellence Award.

Meanwhile, Dahon ng Pag Asa bagged the 3rd Best Film.

Recognizing the holistic approach of microfinance institutions in community development, several films received Community Development Awards in categories such as Resiliency, Education, Women Empowerment, and Financial Inclusion. Below is the full list of winners:

- Community Development Award for Resiliency: Ang Pagbangon ng Api

- Community Development Award for Education: Isang libong hakbang para sa pangarap

- Community Development Award for Women Empowerment: Bunga ng Pag-sisikap

- Community Development Award for Financial Inclusion: Letra

The People's Choice Award, determined by votes from the viewers on November 26, 2023, was awarded to "Letra”. The film also bagged the Founder's Excellence Award.

Moreover, Rynzel Joy Gamarcha of Kami ay Babae, Hindi Babae Lang won the Young Creator Award and the Managing Director’s Choice Award.

The winners received trophies and certificates, products from Mga Likha ni Inay and CARD Astro Laboratories, international trips, and cash prizes.

The 2024 edition of the SineMaya Community Film Fest has been broadened, announced Ms. Marilyn M. Manila, President of CARD MRI Publishing House. This year, not only Philippine microfinance institutions but also those in the Southeast Asian Region can partake in the festival.

The SineMaya organizing team aims to spotlight the global impact of microfinance in combating poverty in the country through the production of drama films in 2024.