The Mortician of Manila

Nominated for Best Short Doc

Director: Leah Borromeo

25' • Philippines • 2019

English, Tagalog

Orly manages and lives at Eusebio 24hr Funeral Services in Manila, Philippines. His relationships with clients and journalists alike colour the empathy and contempt he holds for the country’s ‘drug war’ victims who, like him, are struggling to survive. One victim, Angelita, loses her son Anthony, in a suspected drug-related police killing. Arriving at Orly’s funeral parlour, she realises she cannot afford her son’s funeral. While her son lies in a wake, Angelita battles the odds, and rising flood waters, to raise more than twice the money it takes to raise her family on in a year. Meanwhile, Vincent, a photojournalist, relies upon Orly to get news of the latest killings to report in his ongoing assignments. A compelling ‘slice of life’ narrative and intimate access lends this film a sobering perspective on the lives behind the headlines surrounding Philippines President Duterte’s so-called ‘war on drugs’.

Producers: Fiona Lawson-Baker, Emile Guertin, Laura Shacham & Katharine Round

Director of Photography: Joshua Reyles Field Producer: Rica Conception Production Assistant / Driver: Francis Martin Mutuc Editor: James Scott

Cast: Orly Fernandez, Angelita Cuevas Solayo, Angelo Solayo, Vincent Go, Brother Jun Santiago

Director's Bio: Leah Borromeo is a journalist and filmmaker at the crossroads of art and journalism. Described as “redolent with mischief” by the New Internationalist, much of her work involves personal narrative, public and private space, social architectures, the environment and the language of journalism. She is available for birthdays and bar mitzfahs, is obsessed with baseball and trashy romantic comedies and will likely turn up to the opening of an envelope. She ignores the advice of her parents and will always talk to strangers. Easily the least educated person in the room.