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Sea Serpent

dir. Joseph Laban
Philippines 2017, 93’
subtitles: Polish and English

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Polish premiere
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Online Availability
25 Nov, 10:00 – 6 Dec
Additional Materials
Awards and festivals
Cinemalaya Independent FF - Best Director, Best Cinematography, Special Jury Prize Young Critics Circle Philippines - Best Film, Best Achievement in Cinematography and Visual Design
Philippines 2017
Duration: 93’
director: Joseph Laban
screenplay: Denise O'Hara, Joseph Laban
cinematography: TM Malones
editing: Mark Cyril Bautista, Benjamin Gonzales Tolentino
music: Jema Pamintuan
cast: Elora Españo, Bembol Roco, Therese Malvar, Anna Luna, Jeric Raval
producer: Nicole Runi, Bong E. Salvejos, Sara Santiago
production: One Big Fight Productions, Waning Crescent Arts
language: Filipino
colouration: colour

Film description

As three siblings are waiting for their father to come back from his fishing trip, their hope starts to wither away. After ninety days, they will have to perform
a traditional burial ceremony. While the eldest daughter is getting used to her new role as the head of the family, the village is haunted by a mysterious plague – hundreds of apples appear by the shore, glistening red dots in the seawater.

This atmospheric story draws on local mythology, creating a slow-paced narration about the circle of life. The director uses motifs from ancient legends to symbolically portray the complex identity of the Philippines – the rich tradition, colonial experiences, and modern challenges causing tensions even in the smallest communities. It is also a beautiful tale about adolescence and assuming the roles the protagonists' lives set for them. About growing up in the world where the rugged, everyday life is permeated with mystique.

The film is set on a small island of Marinduque in Tagalog, a region famous for is rich sea life. The name comes from the world "tagá-ilog", "people of the river".
The director, Joseph Laban, who comes from the region himself, often uses water motifs and their cultural significance in his films. "Sea Serpent" is partially based on the memories from his childhood.

Jagoda Murczyńska

Joseph Laban

Joseph Israel Laban is an award-winning Tagalog journalist, independent filmmaker, playwright, and a Fulbright Scholar. He is the Co-Owner of One Big Fight Productions, a film and television production company. He is also the Founder and Festival Director of the CineTotoo Philippine International Documentary Film Festival, the biggest documentary film festival in the Philippines. In February 2015, he attended the Berlinale Talents at the Berlin International Film Festival. His short film "Antipo" was an Official Selection at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner.


2010 Antipo (kr. m.)

2011 Cuchera

2013 Nuwebe | Termitaria

2014 Ulilang Lubos 

2016 The Sister

2017 Morski potwór| Baconaua | Sea Serpent

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