How Sinepanghalina Captivates And Educates Aspiring Filmmakers

The non-profit’s founder waxes philosophical on his group’s advocacy and the state of the movie industry in the Philippines.

Movies can teach viewers lessons, especially when they’re made by well-trained filmmakers. To that end, some production people from the film industry formed a group called Sinepanghalina. The name is a combination of three Filipino words sine (cinema), pang (for), and halina (encourage). 

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It has 90 members from different walks of life, all of whom are united by their intense love for films. Sinepanghalina produces social media content to educate, entertain, and inspire netizens who want to learn more about the production process. Their core audience is composed mainly of aspiring filmmakers and entertainment industry professionals.

How Sinepanghalina Started

According to its founder Ralph Quincena (who got into filmmaking when he was a Far Eastern University sophomore), “I named the production I founded Sinepanghalina because we wanted to captivate people. Coincidentally, at the same time, a film of ours transcended the bounds of our university – making it into 13 countries around the world.”

He said his fascination with scriptwriting and passion for the horror genre made him want to create short films. However, he admits that his first efforts weren’t very good. But that didn’t stop him from trying. Eventually, he and his friends earned recognition here and abroad with their work. Now they’re paying it forward with Sinepanghalina.

The group caters to more than a hundred thousand followers on Facebook. Quincena says his team didn’t resort to any social media trickery to get to where they are. They didn’t buy followers or anything like that. Instead, consistently putting out content for two years and continuing to hone their craft is how they came to be at the top of their game.

According to Quincena, the secret of Sinepanghalina’s social media success is that the people behind it have genuine intentions, and that makes them relatable.

No photo description available.
Photo from Sinepanghalina’s Facebook page.

How it’s going

Thanks to his work with Sinepanghalina, Quincena learned to love, appreciate, and see beauty in local indie and mainstream films. He also believes that no matter how much someone dislikes a specific film, someone out there will appreciate it. 

However, he stressed that he doesn’t like films that were made with bad intentions. “I’m referring to films that defame or destroy innocent people. A film is an art form, and if people use it for bad things, I don’t think they deserve to get attention or to be even watched,” he says.

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On another note, Quincena says the difference between indie and mainstream films is that the latter–no matter how repetitive they are or aren’t–give people joy and hope. Indie films usually have sad narratives. But he thinks that’s a good thing. He believes indie films’ tragic endings are a way for filmmakers to process repressed or strong emotions. In general, he feels modern Filipino cinema is on the right track.

When asked for a pearl of wisdom he can offer aspirants, Quincena recited an oft-quoted adage that goes, “The world will disappoint you most of the time, but you should never forget to believe in yourself.” 

He wants to remind would-be filmmakers that there will always be struggles. They will encounter many roadblocks along the way, but they should constantly remind themselves of their goals. He advised them to keep pressing on no matter how challenging things become.

For filmmaking tips, movie-related memes, and updates on their workshops, check out Sinepanghalina on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Featured Image Daniella Sison

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