Basurero shares its back story at RIFF 2021 Q&A

As I evolve as a storyteller, I am realizing how storytelling continues to deepen this existence by connecting me with others in such moving conversations.

Amongst my family, childhood friends, even my third grade teacher, an author, poet, artist named Ryan Kent appeared. he was representing RVA Magazine covering the Richmond International Film Festival screening.

I learned that Ryan thought the film was about drug addiction. He was completely taken by the film and what it was really about. I don’t think he knew much at all about the Philippines and its layered indigenous colonized history and complex psyche.

He had no idea about the thousands of extra-judicial drug-war killings. Just like many of the audience members that have screened the film outside of SE Asia- like in Finland, Portugal, Johannesburg, Dublin, Canada, Mexico, Greece, Denmark, Turkey…For most of the world, the Philippines and what is happening there is barely covered in the World News. At least that is the case here in the United States.

BUT for me – I am a Filipino. It is the divine clay I have been gifted in this lifetime to play with, explore with and work with as an artist and storyteller. Life for me as a Filipino is cathartic — controversial, treacherous, mystical, whimsical, deeply painful at times, conflicted, angry — transformative, at the very same time humorous (joke-joke), happy, tribal and beautiful. I mean colorful!

The Basurero team of artists and I never intended on having any didactic answers when making this film. For us it was an exploration into a psyche of a man willing to dump killed bodies for cash. What is that inner landscape about? How is that justified? Why is he doing this? We wanted to pose the question – How can one find self-value, love and purpose in a system or mind-set that does not care for or value him?

And as we developed the story, prepped and edited — it enlightened us all how “the mundane-day after” can reveal so much.

I am honored to share this one artist’s (journalist, musician, poet, author) – Ryan Kent’s- thought-provoking insights about our film and how it affected him personally.

Thanks Ryan for watching our film and for the conversation. It means so much that our film from the Philippines is creating discussion, making its impact on a personal and collective level.

Thank you RVA Magazine for the the space to be heard, especially in my the town where I grew up as a minority and often felt unseen and unheard.

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