Published in Rappler.com (August 13, 2012)
MANILA, Philippines – If you’ve seen or heard of the indie film Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (The Woman in the Septic Tank, 2011), Philippine cinema’s highest-grossing independent film to date, then you will have an idea of the kind of sensibility that it takes to capture a subject so irreverently yet so truthfully.
In the film, 3 film school graduates take on the lofty dream of producing an Oscar-worthy independent film about — what else? — poverty and prostitution in the Philippine slums (in this case, Payatas).
The film shows the young filmmakers experimenting with different treatments, exposing the tired old assumptions and formulas of Pinoy indie filmmaking.
It poked fun at the way the industry moved and looked at itself, and it made audiences laugh with recognition. It also made them think of the way Philippine art cinema kept on presenting itself to the world.
The film broke box-office records at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and was later on bought by Star Cinema for a wider release. It became the most successful indie film in Philippine history, and won numerous awards for lead actress Eugene Domingo, director Marlon Rivera and screenwriter-producer Chris Martinez.
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