Cast: Jansen Magpusao, Meryll Soriano
Best Film, Best Actor, 2019 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival
Official Selection, 2019 Busan International Film Festival
John Denver is a bullied, poor farm boy accused of stealing his schoolmate’s iPad. When he finally retaliates after all the harassment, his playground blows go viral and upend his family’s life. Set in a rural village in present-day Philippines where tradition is interwoven into everyday life, the boy is put on trial on social media. Everyone weighs in on his actions, even strangers from faraway lands. The boy’s only advocate is his mother, played ferociously by Meryll Soriano (Donor), who defends him round-after-round from teachers to policemen as misinformation spreads. At stake: the boy and the truth.
In his directorial debut, Arden Rod Condez puts the spotlight on his hometown of Pandan, Antique, with the care and intimate detail of a local. His insistence on portraying the normalcy of pre-colonial traditions, such as the village healer or the making of accessories from coconut fibers, as well as the use of the local Kinaray-a language, shows us a life where cultures are converging at breakneck — and explosive — speeds.
With non-professional actors and intricately-plotted Facebook narratives, JOHN DENVER TRENDING is a fateful melodrama of a community struggling to take care of its own, while social media assumes the role of judge, jury, and sometimes executioner.
Admission includes a special pre-screening reception from 6:00PM-7:30PM.