Posted March 21, 2018 by Mico Orda in Movies/TV

Sinag Maynila 2018 Closes With Akio Fujimoto’s ‘PASSAGE OF LIFE’

On March 15, Sinag Maynila’s closing night picks its culminating film, Passage of Life, directed by an up and coming director Akio Fujimoto coinciding to his 30th birthday; the film follows a family of Burmese family living in in Tokyo with two sons who can’t speak Burmese and became at odds with them after returning to Myanmar. Cast member Emi Wanibuchi graced the screening and delivered the director’s words:

“Don’t think about political topics, watch this film about family and what you think, this is the most important things, this is my message.”


But wait there’s more. Wanibuchi surprised the audience with a video message with the director himself, as she moves her phone and everyone greeted him a happy birthday, waving their hands. Solar Pictures General Manager Butch Ibanez shared an additional message from Fujimoto expressing his love and enthusiasm for Filipino indie film scene:

“First of all, thank you for inviting our film,  As a closing film and I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to be there. In Japan, we have more chances to see more independent films from the Philippines and I hear the films from the independent industry is getting hot. I myself also fond of your films and I’m always waiting for the new works of Mr. Brillante Mendoza…And other young Philippine filmmakers. As I learned that Sinag Maynila is for those young filmmakers, it is honor to share our fully independent film with you. I hope you enjoy our film, if you have any thoughts, please send me a message in our facebook page, Passage of life and I will answer it anytime. Thank you so much.”

The closing night won’t be complete without Solar Entertainment CEO Wilson Tieng and celebrated director Brillante Mendoza’s closing remarks in which they took the moment to express gratitude and appreciation, of the success and even promises a bigger, a bolder take on the fifth run next year:

Wilson Tieng:  “We are expecting that probably next year we can have a bigger festival but all of these are being in discussion as of now. We had a meeting yesterday, we are looking into a possibility of how to better do this although this year is the best year but we still strive for improvement.”

Brillante Mendoza: “Thank you very much for supporting Sinag Maynila; we’ll see you again next year for better films, more films. We would like to look into more short films and involve the schools and the students.”


Fujimoto’s film on diasporic tale of two brothers, Kaung and Htet’s disconnection of their Burmese heritage lays the dilemma and struggles of their getting in touch to their roots is the film’s framework that explores their perspective what it feels like in reconnecting to your home country and roots, the confusion and finding what home is that their mind speak of but in the end, it is family that connects them together.

Seeing these two child actors bring out a realness evoking their innocence, and the way they act and speak Japanese as authentic as a local and it’s as surreal hearing the intonation of every word and these performances demonstrates Fujimoto’s body of work on directing actors that results in a meticulous on handling the performances with care.


Passage of Life is a poignant film fitting to end the festival because it goes back to the question what makes Sinag Maynila being Sinag Maynila:  curating works of seasoned, up and coming filmmakers’ films that portray social issues and themes truthfully and resonate local and international audiences.

Mico Orda

A passionate, enthusiastic writer, Mico Orda utilizes his filmmaking skills to keep his writer’s edge. He enjoys a lot of outdoor activities, which juice up his creative juices.