Independent Film Festivals in the Philippines: A Quick Guide for cinephiles

Manila is now popular as a megacity that is ideal for cinephiles. Although it usually show Pinoy romantic comedies and Hollywood blockbusters, movie-goers today embrace the introduction of independent film festivals which showcase originally made Filipino films.As a matter of fact, it’s no secret that many film buffs from around the world visit the Philippines just to watch local films which help boost Philippine tourism in that aspect. Many luxury hotels and even budget inns in Manila, especially the ones near Cultural Center of the Philippines or Quezon City, get full bookings during the festival duration. Patron of the arts are willing to spend just to take part in these inspiring gatherings!

Film lovers gather once a year in the Cultural Center of the Philippines to support their favorite Cinemalaya entries

Film lovers gather once a year in the Cultural Center of the Philippines to support their favorite Cinemalaya entries

The annual hosting of local film festivals made Metro Manila popular among film makers and film watchers hailing from various parts of the globe. Now, refer to the following list of independent film festivals in the Philippines for a quick guide on what to expect in the indie film industry!

1. Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival

Every July and August, the Cultural Center of the Philippines witnesses the much-awaited Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival which promotes Filipino independent films. Every year, 10 filmmakers from across the country are hailed as top 10 finalists. This all-digital film festival is also a competition that targets to recognize, support, and honor cinematic masterpieces proudly made by Filipino filmmakers. You can watch the local films in Ayala cinemas, CCP, and other selected malls


2. Quezon City International Film Festival


This year’s QCinema International Film Festival was held last October 13th to 22nd with viewing venues including Trinoma Cinemas, Gateway Cineplex, Robinsons Movieworld Galleria, UP Town Center Cinemas, and QCX Museum. In 2012, it was founded by the QC Film Development Commission to provide grants for filmmakers who produce cinematic works that they’ve also directed.


3.ToFarm Film Festival

Officially ran last September 14th to 20th at SM City Cebu cinema, ToFarm Film Festival aims to showcase local entries that honor passionate farmers who ensure abundant feasts. This year, there were 6 official entries that made it to the film festival. With the amazing local stories of the lead characters portraying men and women cultivator, the audience was actually moved by the stories they’ve seen on screen.

4. SINAG Film Festival

The 2nd SINAG Maynila Independent Film Festival ran from April 21st to 26th with film screened in SM North Edsa, SM Manila, SM Aura, SM Mall of Asia, and SM Megamall. Successfully inaugurated in 2005, SINAG is now one of the much-awaited festivals in the country that features best local films with debuts in international film festivals. And the recognition given to chosen Filipino filmmakers abroad immediately provides honor and pride not only to SINAG film festival but also to the entire Philippines.

5. CinemaOne Originals

Annually held in November, CinemaOne Originals is also a renowned film festival in the country that promotes and supports local talents as well as diverse voices of Pinoy indie films. Screened in selected malls across the country, both local and international viewers are lucky to witness such wonderful films that are made by passionate filmmakers in the industry of Philippines indie films. This is proudly produced by one of the leading cable television networks in the country: Cinema One.


Traveling to the Philippines to support the growing independent film festival scene is a good indication not only to the entertainment scene, but for tourism as well. Mabuhay ang pelikulang Pilipino!





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