Independent films have been at the forefront in recent years like never before, and Filipino filmmakers have been receiving numerous recognitions from various festivals in and out of the country. International award-giving bodies have started to discover the promising talents of Filipinos – rookies and veterans alike – in sharing their stories and presenting Filipino culture through moving pictures.

There are plenty of independent films that you should see, but here a few to start with. 

Ang Babaeng Humayo by Lav Diaz

Ang Babaeng Humayo or ‘The Woman Who Left,” explores the abuse of power and the injustices done because of the privileges of the elite. Horacia, a schoolteacher, was accused of a crime she did not commit and stayed in jail for 30 long years. She was only released because someone else has admitted to the crime. After which learns that her husband had died, daughter moved out, and son has been missing and presumed dead.

Ma’ Rosa by Brillante Mendoza

This drama will take you to the dark heart of police corruption in Manila and a cold, hard look at what it means to be poor. It tells the story of Rosa and her husband who sells ‘shabu’ or crystal meth for a living. When they got arrested, their 4 children does everything they could just to bail their parents out of jail.

Die Beautiful by Jun Robles Lana

This is a story of a transgender woman, Trisha, who was disowned by her father and dies right after winning the crown in a beauty pageant. Her last wish is to remain beautiful even in death. So her friends fulfilled her wish during the seven days of her wake, they recall her life as a sister, a friends, a lover, a wife, a mother, and of course, a queen.

Respeto by Treb Monteras II

This is a drama independent film about a young rapper meeting an old poet. It focuses on how powerful Filipino poetry is in the form of Pinoy hip-hop rap battles and Balagtasan poetry, amidst the madness brought by the War on Drugs and demolitions threatening their community.

Toto by John Paul Su

This is a dark comedy that orbits around a Filipino room attendant named Toto. He wanted to get a US visa to get a chance in life and give his family a better life. However, his scheme puts his loved ones in danger. He then is forced to reevaluate the cost of fulfilling his lifelong dream.

If you haven’t seen the movies listed above, please watch them. Independent films should be patronized because it shows the rawness and truth of the life in the Philippines.

Do you have any independent film recommendations? Please leave us a comment below!