5 Films to Watch on YouTube If You Want to Explore Filipino Indie Cinema
In the past weeks of staying in, you’ve probably have finished a number of movies and TV shows available on Netflix. From American thriller shows to youth programs, fresh out-of-the-box anime to new episodes of K-drama series, your list of your ‘must-watch’ has started to run short. This lockdown, if anything, only heightened our fear of boredom, thus the insatiable hunger to consume content to keep ourselves pre-occupied.
If you’re looking for something other than your usual shows, maybe it’s time for you to dip your toes on local independent cinema. By chance you’ve pressed play to ‘Birdshot,’ ‘Heneral Luna,’ or ‘Kita Kita’ during your Netflix film hunt and been curious for more Filipino indie flicks to watch, there are more to find in the realms of—you guessed it—YouTube.
Kill those idle moments exploring the beauty and wonders of Philippine independent film. You’ll be surprised that there’s more to these pictures than just cultural exposition—the tales our storytellers produce have more than meets the eye. Settle in your coach and sample on these five Chalk-recommended films—we’ll guarantee these will be worth your time.
This award-winning ‘mockumentary’ by Jerrold Tarog and Ruel Dahis Antipuesto, released in 2007, follows the journey of Ryan Pastor (played by Jerrold himself) to cover the Sinulog Festival in Cebu with his girlfriend. In the search of subjects to film, he encounters a former Mindanaoan mayor who’s eager to reveal his crimes in front of Ryan’s camera. Secret after dirty secret gets peeled throughout their time together—and eventually ends in a ‘killer’ ending. Don’t say we didn’t try to warn you!
2. Bar Boys
This comedy-drama film’s charm doesn’t just get it from its good-looking leads—its inspiring storyline wins our vote, too. The movie begins with a scene of the group of barkada (played by Carlo Aquino, Rocco Nacino, Enzo Pineda, and Kean Cipriano) inside a computer shop, playing an online game as they await the result of their law school admission test. The story proceeds to their lives as law students and the challenges, decisions, and sacrifices to be made in order to reach their dreams.
Remember those days when your class in the UPCAT phase? This Felix Roco-starrer brings us back to the good ol’ days of determining your course, going to reviews, urging your friends to take the exam, preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for The Day, rushing to your designated exam room, shading your answers properly, and (over)thinking of what comes after the result. Roman Olivares’ ‘UPCAT’ brings both light and dark moments into the picture—an emotional mix that doesn’t overpower one another.
Yeng Constantino’s first venture as a lead character in a movie portrays a tomboy-ish veteran call center agent who accidentally falls in love with her gay co-worker. But more than just the love angle, this Siege Ledesma film tackles the never-ending course of passage to maturity, and the story of Estela (Yeng) and Trevor (Felix Roco) goes beyond its relatable morning dates and vintage-shopping hangouts.
To say that psychological thriller ‘Bliss’ is breathtaking is an understatement. Iza Calzado’s Jane Ciego, an actress who got in an accident during a film production that left her disabled, then went through a rollercoaster ride to insanity, stuck with a peculiar nurse named Lilibeth (Adrienne Vergara). There are lots of mysteries to be uncovered, and hopping on the slow ride of unraveling illusions from reality is a real draining, but nonetheless exciting and mindblowing, viewing experience.
Loved these recos? Find more independent films in TBA Studios and Cinema One’s YouTube channels.
Banner photo screencapped from Cinema One’s YouTube channel