Antique’s pride and Cinemalaya Best Film “John Denver Trending” represents Philippines in Busan Film Fest

John Denver Trending
John Denver Trending is the first Pinoy movie to compete in the festival’s New Current section after 5 years. Credits to John Denver Trending Facebook.

A multi-awarded indie film from Antique in Western Visayas is representing the Philippines at the 24th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) to be held from October 3 to 12 in South Korea.

“John Denver Trending”, starring Antique’s Jansen Magpusao and directed by Arden Rod Condez, was filmed in the director’s hometown in Pandan, also in Antique. The film, with actors speaking in the local language of Kinaray-a, won the Cinemalaya 2019 Best Film (Full-Length) Award.

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John Denver Trending tells the story of a young male student who was cyberbullied after he was accused of stealing his classmate’s gadget. It is the first Filipino film to compete at the BIFF since the country was last represented in 2014.

The Cinemalaya 2019 big winner is top-billed by award-winning actress Meryll Soriano. Jansen Magpusao, in the title role, bagged the Cinemalaya 2019 Best Actor award.

The Cinemalaya 2019 Best Film also won several other awards:

1. Best Cinematography
2. Best Editing
3. Best Original Music Score
4. NETPAC Award for the Full-Length Category at Cinemalaya 2019

The Filipino independent film will compete against entries from other countries such as China, India, Tran, Iraq/Qatar, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Taiwan, Vietnam and host country Korea at the festival’s New Currents Section.

The John Denver Trending Facebook page invited Filipinos to support the movie as it competes in the international tilt.

“Sa lahat po ng sumama sa aming pelikula mula Pandan papuntang Metro Manila, samahan nyo ho kami sa aming byahe papuntang Busan. Kamsahamnida! (To all who supported our film from Pandan to Metro Manila, join us on our journey to Busan. Thank you),” posted John Denver Trending.

Award-winning filmmaker Arden Rod Condez welcomed the news that the Philippines will again compete at the BIFF, saying, “After 5 years, the Philippines is competing again at the New Currents section of the 24th Busan International Film Festival via John Denver Trending.”

“Quoting the First Cut Lab, ‘this is also the only film that the festival was keen to select even though not holding a world premiere status,'” Condez added.

The 24th BIFF will also feature Filipino films in non-competition screenings including “Verdict” of Raymund Gutierrez, “Lingua Franca” of Isabel Sandoval, and “Mindanao” of Brillante Mendoza.

More Filipino films can be viewed in South Korea, just before the 24th BIFF, at the 1st Korea Pinoy International Film Festival (KPIFF) scheduled to be staged on September 28-29. The blockbuster film, “Hello, Love, Goodbye”, along with other Filipino films, will screen at the Arirang Cine Center in Seoul.

SEND well wishes in the comments below to John Denver Trending for raising the Philippine flag in South Korea!

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Atom Pornel is a tourism and broadcast journalism major who loves local art and heritage and is passionate about anything good news from the Philippines. Born from a Bicolano-Odionganon father and Waray mother, he has grown appreciation of our diversity as nation.