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How International Co-Productions made Mikhail Red's Cinematic Vision a Reality

By Ivan Jethro Balagtas
September 15, 2021

Filipino filmmaker Mikhail Red is one of the leading names in contemporary Philippine cinema. Known for narrative-driven stories and forthright political commentaries, he is securing his legacy in this creative pursuit. His filmography traverses different genres but he has a penchant for variations of the thriller genre. Red has six full-length films under his name, Rekorder (2013), Birdshot (2016), Neomanola (2017), Eerie (2019), Dead Kids (2019), and Block Z (2020). 

He is not only unafraid to try new genres but also undeterred to venture in new mediums of film distribution. His film Dead Kids is the first Netflix feature film from the Philippines and he directed the third season of the HBO Asia series Halfworlds (2015-Present).

Mikhail Red was exposed to the cinematic art form at a young age. Being the son of Raymond Red, a prominent figure in the independent alternative film scene, helped him appreciate the art more. He began writing during his teenage years and not too long later, he pivoted to visual storytelling organically. Under the mentorship of Marilou Diaz-Abaya via workshops, he studied filmmaking at the age of 15. At the age of 21, his directorial feature film Rekorder afforded him the Best New Director award at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival.

In a conversation with CREATE Philippines, Mikhail Red talked about his body of work and how it was made possible by international co-productions. 

It is an open secret that great films need a great amount of financial backing to be completed, let alone be successfully distributed. This is where international co-productions comes into picture. “These are competitive pitching events where you get to meet a lot of foreign investors, producers, and you sell your project.”, according to Red. “With an international co-production, I have more flexibility in the type of story I’m making, I can aim for a broader, more global audience,” he added.

In a time where Filipino cinemagoers demand more from filmmakers and studios, scaling the production with the aid of international investors is a sustainable option for filmmakers to create films in line with the expectations of the audiences and theirs.

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