Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s debut feature “Verdict” produced by 2009 Cannes best director winner Brillante Mendoza’s Center Stage Productions and co-produced by Films Boutique, Playtime, and Bord Cadre is on a roll with positive film reviews featured from top international press including Screen Daily, the Hollywood Reporter, and Variety.
The crime drama feature which stars Max Eigenmann, the late Kristoffer King, Jorden Suan, and Rene Durian follows a domestic violence case through a legal process. It is a product of the Brillante Mendoza Film Workshop and the Armando Lao Found Story School of Filmmaking.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that writer-director Gutierrez’s first film was “clearly long-awaited, with the director’s two most recent shorts, ‘Judgement’ and ‘Imago,’ selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in Cannes.”
According to Screen Daily, Gutierrez “proves to have a distinctive voice. His swiftly flowing and female-focused narrative, which balances its underlying social issues with strong storytelling, should see ‘Verdict’ gain a solid foothold on the festival circuit after its world premiere in Venice’s Horizons section and screenings at TIFF.”
Meanwhile, a film review from Variety emphasized that “Gutierrez seizes a grippingly refined rhythm and a disheartening scenario that could be considered a prototype for every unfairly discredited female ever. […] it’s nearly impossible not to feel for all the unnamed women around the globe whose wings have similarly been clipped.”
From being one of the competing films under the Horizons (Orizzonti) section at the 76th Venice Film Festival to its Canadian premiere at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), “Verdict” was presented at the 46th Telluride Film Festival (TFF) under the main program The Show last August 30 to September 2, 2019 in Telluride, Colorado in America. It is the only film from Southeast Asia under the Venice Film Festival’s official selection and the only Filipino feature film selected at TIFF and TFF this year.
Through FDCP’s International Film Festival Assistance Program (IFFAP), director Gutierrez and actress Max Eigenmann attended the Venice Film Festival.
FDCP Chairperson and CEO Mary Liza Diño exclaimed her pride and excitement for “Verdict.” She said, “We are very proud and happy with the overwhelming positive reviews for ‘Verdict’ as it travels in A-list international film festivals. As a Filipino film, not only does it evoke mastery of craft from a first-time director. More importantly, its timely and relevant story—that while local, still resonates in these current times and highlights the need for action in discourse regarding the rampant abuse of women everywhere—is truly moving and something that we are proud to showcase. It’s also a great dedication to the late Kristoffer King, one of the most talented actors of his time.”
“We are confident that ‘Verdict’ will go on to make its stamp around the world. We wish Raymund and his film the best of luck!,” she added.
Last March, “Verdict” was acknowledged as a Work-in-Progress project at the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), the leading film project market in Asia.