Five Filipino movies coming to Netflix

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NETFLIX has announced that five Filipino movies will be available on the streaming service in June. The titles come from a “wide variety of genres from horror, comedy, to drama,” according to its regional acquisitions executive.

“We are constantly amazed by the creativity of storytellers and the quality of talent coming out of the Philippines. Filipinos are avid entertainment fans, so at Netflix we are committed to bringing the best stories locally and from around the world to our members here,” said Raphael Phang, manager of content acquisition at Netflix, said in a statement.

“This growing slate of Filipino content on Netflix is a true reflection of the diversity of what Philippine cinema has to offer. And Netflix giving space to more Filipino films is an affirmation that the Philippines has the potential of globalizing its local market,” Mary Liza B. Dino, chairperson and CEO of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Pinoy Sunday (2010), the full-length feature debut of Widing Ho, is a Taiwanese comedy-drama about two OFWs who, during their day off, find a discarded couch that leads them to an adventure. The film stars Bayani Agbayani, Jeffrey Quizon, Nor Domingo, Dave Ronald Chang, Meryll Soriano, and Alessandra de Rossi

“The underlying story and the premise of the story speaks to us all regardless of nationality or background. I think we all have commitments and burdens and temptations and struggles and friendships, passions, and dreams,” Mr. Phang said of the film, during a digital press conference on March 22.


He added that Pinoy Sunday is an “easy watch from start to finish.”

“I never thought the feature debut I made 10 years ago can have a second life and finally get shown to the Philippine audience, thanks to Netflix. It is a tremendous honor to have my second movie after Cities of Last Things (2018) to be included on a platform which has done so much to promote filmmakers’ works from around the world to a global audience. I am lucky to be part of the family,” Mr. Ho said in a statement.

Pinoy Sunday streams starting June 5.

Carlo Ledesma’s horror film Sunod (2019) follows a mother who takes a demanding call center job to pay for her daughter’s medical expenses — but then the office building’s sinister secrets begin to haunt her. The film stars Carmina Villaroel, Mylene Dizon, JC Santos, Kate Alejandrino, Krystal Brimner, Rhed Bustamante, and Susan Africa,

“What’s important is the underlying premise of this horror film is… about doing anything to make ends meet. You can see the quality performance of Carmina [Villaroel],” Mr. Phang said during the conference.

“Having Sunod screen theatrically during the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival was an incredible experience, and now I’m excited for the film to find a new audience online, especially on Netflix, which has the best streaming,” Mr. Ledesma was quoted as saying in the statement. “Speaking on behalf of myself and my crew, we took great pains to make the movie look and sound good, so it’ll be a rush to see it stream in high quality.”

The film streams on June 14.

Eduardo Roy, Jr.’s award-winning film Lola Igna (2019) by might seem to be a comedy at first glance since it is about a cantankerous old woman whose life is disrupted when her family and village realize she has a chance at a world record for being the oldest grandmother alive, but at its core it is about the loneliness of old age, family, and forgiveness. The film won Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Musical Score, and Best Actress at the 2019 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. The film stars Angie Ferro, Yves Flores, and Meryll Soriano.

The film streams on June 18.

Another Eduardo Roy, Jr. film, Ordinary People (locally known as Pamilya Ordinaryo), will also be available on Netflix though no set date has been announced yet. The big winner of the 2016 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival — it won Best Film, Best Editing, Best Actress, and Best Director — Ordinary People revolves around a destitute couple living on Manila’s streets who are forced to take drastic measures to recover their kidnapped son. The film stars Ronwaldo Martin and Hasmine Kilip.

“I felt flabbergasted when I got the news from Netflix that the team loved my film, not just one but two of my films. I’m personally thankful to Netflix for introducing Lola Igna and Ordinary People to a larger audience, not only in the Philippines, but to the whole world. Now my films can be easily accessible anytime, and anywhere around the world,” Mr. Roy said in a statement.

The fifth Filipino film to hit the service is Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s psychological thriller Untrue (2019), about two people who meet in Georgia and embark on a highly volatile relationship as secrets of their past are revealed. The film stars Cristine Reyes and Xian Lim.

The film streams on June 22.

“The key element here is really the psychological portion and how they kind of go back and forth. The performances by the two actors were just fantastic,” Mr. Phang said during the conference.

Aside from the movies, Netflix will also be premiering Filipino-American comedian Jo Koy’s third Netflix special called Jo Koy: In His Elements on June 12. In this special, the comedian comes to the Philippines to celebrate his heritage by telling jokes about life as a Filipino-American while highlighting the culture of Manila. — Zsarlene B. Chua