I was fortunate to have been part of the jury of the 6th Mindanao Film Fest. And together with film historian Teddy Co of the NCCA and local filmmaker Rudolph Alama, I watched, critiqued, and chose the best among the field of contenders. It was an enjoyable task, but very much taxing.
I liked one of the films very much. It was, in fact, my personal favorite. (Obviously, I was outvoted. Hehe!) The film is Director Ronald Gary Bautista‘s Ang Sipyat which he made in collaboration with his brother and student Leo Jeorge Bautista under the production outfit Studio Beta. The film won Best in Sound in the 6th MFF and was a strong contender in most categories.
Ang Sipyat (The Error) is the story of a famed thief who made the mistake of victimizing a girl. His victim, it turns out, has two siblings who are skilled in martial arts.
The story seems simple enough. Shallow, in fact. But upon watching the film, as cliche as it sounds, there is more to it than the summary says. The story has a slight but not off putting twist. Can’t tell you more coz it would spoil the fun of watching the film. It’s an easy and enjoyable story for any movie goer.
Being the film noob among the jurors, I took on the role of giving voice to regular movie goers. For me, and probably for most other movie watchers, this film is certainly a gem. Technically, the film is excellently done. The lighting and cinematography are good. Enough to highlight the skills of the Bautista brothers but not too much to become an annoyance in the story-telling. The sound and musical score make the story and the important fight scenes become more life like and engaging.
The fight scenes are superbly done. I’m going out on a limb here to say that the polished and well-executed fight scenes can rival the most expensive action films made by the big production houses in Metro Manila.
And unlike most digital or indie films that employ amateur actors, there are no annoying amateurs in this film. Everyone performed just right to give life to their characters. The lines aren’t too cheesy or too macho unlike most lines in most Tagalog action films are. It’s action-packed and sentimental at just the right moments.
Got to hand it to the director, who got “in your face’d” a couple of times during the awards night. He executed this film really well. From cinematography to sound to acting to the choreography of the fight scene, this film had the right mix of what every enjoyable action film should have. Excellent action and fight scenes relevant to an interesting story.
What I liked most about this film, as I did with most of the 6th MFF films is how it highlights the Mindanaoan filmmaker and the Mindanaoan life without being too preachy or “nosebleed” inducing. It was subtle. And the fact that it was an excellent film is enough for it to be hailed as a good representative of the Mindanaoan in the realm of arts and culture.
If there’s one thing I don’t like about this film, I can’t seem to point my finger to it yet. Maybe I can be more objective when I get over the fact that I like it so much.
It is now ranked as one of my must-see Filipino films along with my all-time favorites Batch 81, Oro, Plata, Mata, and Tuhog. Here’s a link to Ang Sipyat’s Trailer.
Congratulations to Gary Bautista, Leo Bautista, and their crew at Studio Beta for “Ang Sipyat!” I’m looking forward to more superbly interesting films from you. 😉
This is just the first of my series of reviews of the 6th MFF films. Pardon me as I catch up on my backlogs.