The future of Philippine cinema is online. With moviehouses around the country still closed because of the pandemic, people have shifted their movie watching experience from the big screen to the small screen, particularly Netflix.
Along with Hollywood blockbuster hits, Netflix original movies, foreign films, and the endless stream of television shows, an increasing number of local titles from the Philippines are popping up on the streaming site’s content library, bringing Pinoy-made films to a global audience.
Here are just a few upcoming Filipino films moviegoers can stream and watch on Netflix soon.
1st ko si 3rd (Third is My First)
Translated as Third is My First for international release, this 2014 Filipino romantic drama tells the story of Cory (Nova Villa), a 65-year old woman looking forward to settling down into a long retirement with her husband, Andong (Dante Rivero). But she quickly grows restless, and when an old flame suddenly turns up, she comes to reassess her past. Firestarters’ maiden film is directed by Real Florido and also stars Freddie Webb, Ken Chan, RJ Agustin and Coleen Perez.
Why you should watch it: Unlike the usual romantic comedies, Third Is My First offers a different take on love and romance. This rom-com has won the hearts of audiences and has taken home accolades from international film festivals such as the Hawaii International Film Festival, London Film Festival, Canada International Film Festival and Jersey City TV & Film Festival, to name a few. Actress Nova Villa received her first ever Gawad Urian nomination from this film while Dante Rivero won Best Actor in the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival for his role here. Third is My First starts streaming on Netflix on October 15, 2020.
Saving Sally is a live-action animated film that follows two high-school seniors: Sally (Rhian Ramos), a gadget inventor and Marty (Enzo Marcos), an amateur comic book artist. The official Netflix synopsis reads: “A daydreaming comic book artist’s unrequited love for his best friend fuels his imagination, and his attempts to save her from her hellish home life.”
Why you should watch it: Saving Sally has received critical reception, mainly for the film’s creativity, visual effects, and film score. The film directed by Avid Liongoren took 10 years to complete before it officially landed in the local movie scene as one of the official entries in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in 2016. The animated sci-fi/romance comedy was screened around the world and won several awards from international film festivals. Saving Sally will arrive on Netflix on October 15, 2020.
Iska shows the struggles of a loving grandmother (Ruby Ruiz) raising her autistic grandson on the poverty line and the adversities she faces when she is deemed unfit as a guardian by the media and government. Directed by Theodore Boborol, the cast also includes Soliman Cruz, Beauty Gonzalez, RK Bagatsing, Jomari Angeles, and Jonic Magno, among others.
Why you should watch it: Iska, which was originally screened during Cinemalaya 2019, does not hold back in showing the systemic and societal struggles faced by marginalized sectors. Actress Ruby Ruiz won several awards including Best Actress during Cinemalaya and most recently at the 15th Harlem International Film Festival in 2020 held in New York City for her role as Iska. Iska, by Firestarters Productions, Inc., premieres on Netflix this November.
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Tuos is an independent Filipino film top-billed by Nora Aunor, Elora Españo and Barbie Forteza. The fantasy drama tells the story of an old “binukot” (kept maiden) of Panay Bukidnon tribe in Panay island who needs to choose between keeping the age-old tradition alive by passing her position to her granddaughter or letting the young lady to decide for her own life.
Why you should watch it: Tuos champions Filipino heritage by featuring the culture of the Panay Bukidnon tribe of Panay Island. This film was an official entry at the 2016 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival where it emerged as the biggest winner after taking home major awards such as Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Original Music Score, and Audience Choice Feature Film. No official date has been set yet for its release, following the previous announcement of its arrival on Netflix earlier this year.
"Tuos," starring Ms. Nora Aunor, will be coming soon on Netflix.— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) July 31, 2020
It has garnered five awards during the 2016 Cinemalaya Film Festival: Best Sound, Best Original Music score, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Audience Choice Feature Film. pic.twitter.com/WjgRVd0Mwa
Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story
Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story is an adult animation film that follows the story of a perfume sales cat Nimfa who is torn between her macho askal (mongrel) boyfriend and a charming philandering business dog. The film stars Angelica Panganiban, Robin Padilla and Sam Milby. Additional voice cast includes Empoy Marquez, Piolo Pascual, Arci Muñoz, Eugene Domingo, Yeng Constantino, Moira dela Torre and Bb. Joyce Bernal.
Why you should watch it: The film directed by Avid Liongoren (who also made Saving Sally) is the first animated Netflix film from the Philippines. The pioneering animation film written by Manny Angeles and Paulle Olivenza was produced by Rocketsheep Studio and Spring Films, a local studio that aims to encourage more Filipino animators to create work to add to the global animation industry. Hayop Ka! will be arriving on Neflix on October 29, 2020.
(Banner image by Firestarters)