JOHN DENVER TRENDING
by Arden Rod Condez
A 14-year-old farmboy’s life is suddenly upended when a video of him brutally attacking a classmate went viral.
Jansen Magpusao, Meryll Soriano, Glenn Mas, Sammy Rubido, Vince Philip Alegre, Jofranz Ambubuyog, Christian Alarcon, Zandro Leo Canlog, Andy Yuarata, Ricky Perez, Renato Sagot, Enrique Sanchez, Bert Briones, Elmer Yuarata, Eldin Labris, Sunshine Teodoro, Luz Venus, Estela Patino, Joerlyn Samulde, Akia Buenaflor, Shan Estoya, Jinalyn Tandoy
Arden Rod Condez hails from Pandan, Antique, Philippines. He has been a writer of ABS-CBN Corporation, the largest media conglomerate in the Philippines, for almost 15 years.
He is a graduate of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas with a degree in Broadcast Communication. He also took a second major in Literature, specializing on the literature of Western Visayas in the Philippines. Western Visayas cradles the oldest Malay settlement in the Philippines and until now, its people practice pre-Hispanic traditions. It is these old traditions at a time of burgeoning influence of modern technology that he wants to do films about.
“John Denver Trending” is Mr. Condez’s directorial debut. The script won second place at the Screenplay Category of the 68th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. The project was proclaimed Best Project at the 2018 Hanoi International Film Festival Project Market in Vietnam. It was also selected for the 2018 Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market in Singapore. The film was also one of the only two Filipino narrative features to be selected at the first-ever First Cut Post-Production Lab in the Philippines, an editing mentorship headed by Matthieu Darras, the former artistic director of the Torino Film Lab.
Millions of Filipinos, including me, live away from our families because of work. For us to quell the longing, we use social media. This is why even if we have one of the slowest internet speed, we are still one of the largest number of social media users worldwide.
But in recent years, we begin to witness the danger of social media particularly to the vulnerable Filipino millennials.
In 2017, our neighbor’s son fled after a video of him bullying another kid surfaced online. A boy in a town committed suicide when he was accused of stealing a gadget. A girl in another city killed herself live on Facebook. These troubling tales of Filipino millennials make me question, how does someone come of age in the time of social media?
Featuring the local color of my hometown, Pandan, Antique, and shot with almost all non-professional actors, speaking our very own language of Kinaray-a, “John Denver Trending” explores this pressing question.
Director/Screenplay Arden Rod Condez
Cinematography Rommel Sales
Production Design Harley Alcasid
Editing Benjo Ferrer III
Original Music Score Len Calvo
Sound Mikko Quizon, Kat Salinas