Filipino short film makes it to Outfest Fusion

Young men turn up dead in ‘How to Die Young in Manila.’ (Petersen Vargas)

Filipino short film How to Die Young in Manila has been selected as one of the features in the “Shorts: Surrealness” program of this year’s Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC (queer, transgender, black, indigenous people of color) Film Festival, which will be held from 16 to 20 April in Los Angeles, California, United States.

Directed by Petersen Vargas, who has helmed feature films such as the 2016 Cinema One Originals Best Picture 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten; the first Filipino gay web series Hanging Out (2016); and the Boys’ Love series Hello Stranger (2020), How to Die Young in Manila was originally a teaser for a feature-length film, Some Nights Feel Like Walking.

The 12-minute film, written by Vargas, Jade Castro and Kaj Palanca, follows a teenage boy venturing into the streets of Manila at night for an anonymous hookup. He follows a group of young hustlers, who turn up dead one by one. It is a depiction of queer desire set against a brutal world created by a corrupt government. The film stars Elijah Canlas, Kokoy de Santos, Migs Almendras, Kych Minemoto and Shu Calleja.

How to Die Young in Manila had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, held from 21 to 30 October 2020 in Korea. It was then screened at the 31st Singapore International Film Festival from 26 November to 6 December 2020. It was recently featured at the Glasgow Short Film Festival in Scotland from 22 to 28 March 2021.

Founded in 2004, the Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival has been putting the spotlight on queer stories and championing LGBTQ+ representation.

This year, it will have both online screenings and outdoor drive-in events with a program of 10 feature films and over 40 short films from 18 countries.


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