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Who We Are

Behind the curtains of the Santa Maria Music and Film Festival lies an inspiring tale of tenacity, vision, and the transformative power of belief. Our festival, a beacon for filmmakers and music enthusiasts, finds its roots in the indomitable spirit and passion of Jenn Maliwanag, our esteemed founder and festival director.


Her voyage into the cinematic universe wasn't predestined or conventional. Entering the renowned Harvard with no prior filmography to her name, she found herself amidst seasoned peers.  It was there that a discerning professor recognized the magic in her gaze—the ability to "see what others can't." He believed in her unique perspective, her unconventional shots, and the novel stories she wanted to tell. Under his mentorship, Jenn transcended her initial inexperience, emerging not just as a filmmaker but as an artist with a voice.


This mentorship bore fruit, and Jenn's creative endeavors began gaining international recognition. The film world took notice as she garnered numerous awards across a spectrum of categories: Best Short Film, Best Documentary, Best Experimental Film, Best Drama, and even Best First-Time Director. With every accolade, Jenn's aspiration grew—not just for personal success, but to cultivate a platform where others, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, could shine.


The Santa Maria Music and Film Festival is the realization of that dream. Nestled in the tranquillity of Santa Maria, Laguna, this festival stands as a testament to aspiration, belief, and the magic of cinema and music. Our open-air theater, set against nature's backdrop, invites attendees to immerse themselves in a realm where visuals and sounds interweave to craft unforgettable stories.


Influenced by the ethos of giving everyone a chance, much like Jenn was given, the festival runs quarterly finals, culminating in a grand annual spectacle. It's a space where every filmmaker, regardless of their background, can share their story.


Today, as you explore our festival and the narratives we bring to the forefront, remember our core belief—to see the unseen, to hear the unspoken, and to celebrate the stories that often remain untold. Welcome to the Santa Maria Music and Film Festival. Your journey into the world of untapped tales begins here.

Our Mission

Our Mission

To illuminate the unseen and amplify the unheard, championing the art of storytelling in its purest form. Guided by our mantra, "See what others can't," we aim to provide a platform for creators and artists to showcase their unique perspectives and challenge conventional narratives.

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