LOS ANGELES / MANILA — Basurero—a poetic, neo-realist, short film plunging viewers into the complex world of a Filipino fisherman who finds himself embroiled in a dangerous undertaking —will continue its critically acclaimed festival run in competition at the 50 annual Tampere Film Festival, March 4-8, in Tampere, Finland.
One of Europe’s most-important short film festivals, attracting more than 30,000 attendees, Tempere’s international competition is Oscar-, BAFTA- and EFA-qualifying.
Starring Filipino film and television leading man Jericho “Echo” Rosales (Alagwa, Baler, Siargao) as “Bong,” Basurero marks the directorial debut of Filipina-American filmmaker Eileen Cabiling, who also penned the original short screenplay. Manila/Los Angeles-based Cabiling is a Screenwriting Fellow graduate of the prestigious American Film Institute who has worked as a writer for Disney and as a story development producer. Born to immigrant Filipino parents in the U.S., Cabiling is drawn to the subject matter by a desire to explore the psychology of her ancestral home. Currently, Cabiling is set to make her feature-length directorial debut with her original screenplay, Manhid, starring and produced by Rosales.
Basurero made its world premiere in competition in October 2019 at the 24 annual Busan International Film Festival in South Korea where Asian Film Festivals named it one of “10 short films you cannot miss.”Said Asian Movie Pulse in its review, “… bound to leave a strong impact on any viewer and push towards deeper conversation. The way in which director Eileen Cabiling weaves the story of human atrocities while focusing on the plights of one individual elicits a strong emotional connection … boasts an eye for visual storytelling and a strong performance from Jericho Rosales. Simply put, Basurero is a must watch in the realm of short films.”
In Basurero … With few fish left in the sea, Bong, an urban Manila fisherman, struggles to survive. Desperate for cash, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous undertaking, caught in the net of the country ’s unrestrained and violent war on drugs. With nowhere to turn, he becomes a basurero (garbage man), working in the anonymity of night to dump the bodies of drug dealers and users killed by authorities, that they call “trash.” Wracked with guilt and fear, Bong feverishly seeks a way out.
A fictional expose inspired by actual events—with human rights groups putting the death toll as high as 27,000 since 2016—and a story anonymously related to Al Jazeera by Filipino fishermen, who told of widespread human rights abuses among the nation ’s most vulnerable in an unprecedented and unchecked crackdown, with officials “playing both sides of the drugs war.” Rather than serving audiences a high-octane expose of the violence, Cabiling renders a more nuanced portrait, taking viewers inside the psychology of a man trapped by impossible circumstances.
17 Minutes / Tagalog (English Subtitles)
Watch the Official Basurero Trailer:
FESTIVAL SCREENING TIMES:
Thursday, March 5 @ 4 p.m. – PLEVNA 2
Saturday, March 7 @ noon – PLEVNA 4
Basurero is in collaboration with Globe Studios with Quark Henares and Jan Pineda as attached Executive Producers.
Directed and written by Eileen Cabiling, Director of Photography is Jae-Hyuk Lee (Lighting Director, Okja, Black Panther—Korean unit). Produced by Eileen Cabiling, Darlene Catly Malimas, Philippines (Aparisyon, Lingua Franca), Sascha Brown Rice, U.S. (California State of Mind, Mango Kiss), Jose C. Mangual (How the Garcia Girls Spent their Summer) and Eva Husson (Girls of the Sun, Bang Gang).
Says Cabiling, “What attracts me most to Bong ’s story is not just the inhumane politics and the vilification and killings of drug users, sellers and the poor in the Philippines, but also how this character’s circumstances are a window into the complex Filipino psyche’s search for value in the world.”
A Lucena Films and DCM Autodidact Films production in association with Fire of Life Films, Eclipse Production, Jen Lighting Company, Bullet Manila, Globe Studios, Contagious Inc., G-Ward Production, Wapak Sound and Monoxide Works.
Basurero was shot in the urban fishing port and village of Cavite City and in Metro Manila.