Follow the story of a mother-and-son’s heartbreaking fight against discrimination and bullying in Cinemalaya 2019’s Best Film “John Denver Trending,” the latest film to join iWant’s collection of more than 1,000 free movies.
The film centers on the life of 14-year-old farm boy John (Jansen Magpusao), who is wrongly accused of stealing an iPad. As he defends himself, he gets into a brawl with a classmate, and his whole life is changed when a video of the incident spreads online. With no one but his strong-willed mother Marites (Meryll Soriano) on his side, a victim of cyber-bullying must go up against fake news, corrupt law enforcement, and incompetent local politicians to prove his innocence.
A film of firsts, “John Denver Trending” is the first feature film directed by Arden Rod Condez and features an ensemble cast who are mostly first-time actors, including Jansen, who won the Cinemalaya 2019 Best Actor award. It also used Kiniray-a, the native language of Antiquenos, and was shot in Pandan, Antique, the director’s hometown. The cast also includes Glenn Mas, Sunshine Teodoro, Sammy Rubido, Vince Philip Alegre, Jofranz Ambubuyog, Christian Alarcon, Zandro Leo Canlog, Luz Venus, Andy Yuarata, Estela Patino, at Renato Sagot.
Aside from Best Film, it also won the NETPAC Jury Prize, Best Actor, Best Editing, Best Cinematograpy, and Best Original Score at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2019. It also bagged major awards at the Vesoul International Film Festival in France including Special Jury Prize, Audience's Choice Award, and Critics' Choice Award, as well as several recognitions from various international film festivals. “John Denver Trending” is now in competition in the 14th Asia Pacific Screen Awards and will be up for nominations.
Critic Wanggo Gallaga of ClickTheCity favorably wrote about the film’s relevance to today’s society, saying that it is “a well-crafted and heartbreaking drama that understands the concept of restraint… captures a very real situation in today’s world of online witch hunts and slander.”
Allan Hunter of Screendaily also commended the film’s storytelling, indicating “the defiance in Soriano’s mother and the anguish of Jansen Magpusao’s demonised, ostracised teenager lend real heartache to a film that speaks to a generation who live by social media.”