Basurero, a short film written and directed by Eileen Cabiling, has been making some serious waves at Asian film festivals this year.
In it, a struggling young Filipino fisherman named Bong (Jericho “Echo” Rosales) begins to moonlight as a Basurero, or garbageman, to make ends meet. In this case, “taking out the trash” means covertly dumping the bodies of addicts killed in pursuit of the nation’s uncompromising zero-tolerance war on drugs. It’s a beautiful, brutal character study that has been garnering very positive reviews, and has put Eileen Cabiling on a short-list of rising female filmmakers to watch, especially with her debut feature on the horizon.
Cabiling says: “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.”
Basurero was made in collaboration with Globe Studios, with Quark Henares and Jan Pineda as attached Executive Producers. 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. Manual (How the Garcia Girls Spent their Summer) and Eva Husson (Girls of the Sun, Bang Gang).
The film debuted in competition at the Busan International Film Festival last year, and has been an official selection playing the festival circuit ever since. It can currently be experienced at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival through October 31, 2020.
Reel 360 interview with Eileen Cabiling, writer/director of Basurero
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