“Balo” by ASA Philippines Foundation Captivates Audiences at Sinemaya 2023

"Balo" by ASA Philippines Foundation Captivates Audiences at Sinemaya 2023

By Chaela Ruth B. Alimpuangon | Date Posted: December 11, 2023
Sinemaya 2023 Awarding - ASAPHIL

At Sinemaya 2023 Awarding ceremony, in photo from left to right: Mr. Michael Fausto, Regional Administrator; Mr. Horacio Bayona Jr., Scholar; Ms. Carolina Bayona, Client; Ms. Ma. Regina Pacifico, COO; Ms. Christine Mae Luna, Branch Manager; Mr. Angelo Vergara, Area Administrator at SM San Pablo, Laguna, December 10, 2023.

San Pablo, Laguna 

The second edition of Sinemaya, the community short film fest, concluded on December 10, 2023, at SM City San Pablo, Laguna. This event presented documentaries from respected microfinance institutions, including the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. (NWTF), People’s Alternative Livelihood Microfinance Foundation of Sorsogon, Inc. (PALMFSI), SEDP-Simbag sa Pag-asenso, Inc., Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), and ASA Philippines Foundation, Inc.. Each film excellently embodied the theme – ‘Pagbangon at Pag-asa: Kasangga ang MFI sa pagharap sa bagong simula.’

The film fest culminated in the announcement of the top three documentary films.  “Pangandoy” by CARD SME Bank claimed the Best Film title, followed by “Balo” by ASA Philippines Foundation in second place, with “Dahon ng Pag-asa” by CARD RBI completing the top three. These supreme works were celebrated for their captivating storytelling and potent portrayal of the core theme.

“Balo,” the first-ever entry by ASA Philippines Foundation, not only secured the 2nd Best Documentary Film award but also garnered multiple additional recognitions, including Best in Screenplay, Best in Editing, and Best in Cinematography. Their expertise in film direction was evident, earning them a nomination for the Best Director category. Further honoring their achievement, ASA Philippines Foundation received the distinguished Founder’s Excellence Award, chosen by Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CARD MRI.

Written and directed by ASA Philippines scholar Horacio Bayona Jr., “Balo” narrates the heartfelt story of his mother, Nanay Cathy, a widow and mother of five, striving for a better life in spite of the odds. This powerful documentary formidably presents her journey towards triumph over adversity, supported consistently by ASA Philippines Foundation. Her narrative serves as a testament to the transformative power of relentless efforts, courage, and hope.

ASA Philippines Foundation’s exceptional performance at Sinemaya 2023 earned them various rewards, including Astro Products, botiCARD products, Mga Likha ni Inay, cash prizes, and an international Lakbay Aral trip.

Established by CARD MRI, Sinemaya is a unique platform that encourages the creativity and storytelling prowess of MFI’s clients and their families. Open to all Microfinance institutions in the Philippines with three or more years of establishment, the festival provides participants with training in scriptwriting and video editing for more compelling narratives.

“Sinemaya,” a combination of “Sine,” meaning a place to watch, and “Maya,” a national bird (MAYA PULA) until 1995 symbolizing humility, simplicity, resilience, and determination of Filipinos, perfectly encapsulates the festival’s spirit.

With the success of this year’s entries, Sinemaya 2023 has undoubtedly raised the bar for sharing inspiring microfinance stories through the art of filmmaking. The incredible contributions from organizations like ASA Philippines Foundation only further underscore the importance of this platform for empowering and enlightening viewers alike.

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