7 Award-Winning Filipino Movies To Watch On Netflix 2021: Heaven's Waiting, Birdshot, And More
Netflix is a treasure trove of must-watch movies, now made even more exciting with the addition of these local films
With the much-anticipated release of Trese on Netflix, we've begun counting down some of the award-winning must-watch movies you can binge right alongside it! Welcome these celebrated Filipino originals you can add to your list today.
Heaven's Waiting (Hintayan Ng Langit)
Veteran film stars, Eddie Garcia and Gina Pareno, team up for the heartwarming film entitled Heaven's Waiting. Originally released in 2018, the film centres around two ex-lovers who cross paths yet again—this time in Purgatory. The film, which has received glowing reviews, also won the Audience Choice Award and Best Screenplay at the 2018 QCinema International Film Festival. It also took home the Golden Sarmatian Lion Award (President's Prize) from the 12th Orenburg International Film Festival in Russia.
In 2017, Birdshot made headlines as the Filipino Academy Award contender for the foreign language division. Though it didn't win, the movie and the cast still boast numerous accolades including Best Picture at the Asian Future Film Competition of the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival. Additionally, Mary Joy Apostol, who plays protagonist Maya, won Best Actress at the ASEAN Film Awards.
The movie shows her journey after she unwittingly shoots an endangered Philippine eagle. Interestingly enough, it was inspired by the true story of a farmer in Bukidnon who killed, cooked, and ate an eagle in the wild.
Kalel, 15 is a 2019 drama that revolves around the story of a 15-year-old Catholic schoolboy diagnosed with HIV. Though Kalel is but a child, he must now face the harsh realities of living with his diagnosis. The film won the Gawad Urian Award for Best Screenplay just last year (2020). Its director, Jun Lana, also won the Best Director prize at the Estonian Black Nights Film Festival in 2019.
For something a bit more lighthearted, tune into Lola Igna, a dramatic comedy that tells the tale of its eponymous protagonist, a stubborn centenarian with the chance to become "the oldest living grandmother in the world". The movie, which throws her in with her great-great-grandson Tim, is a heartfelt and touching narrative that's topped the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino Awards in 2019. It was named Best Picture and was awarded for Best Musical Score and Best Screenplay as well; Angie Ferro also won Best Actress for her role as Lola Igna.
Ordinary People (Pamilya Ordinaryo)
The harsh realities of teenage parents living in poverty are explored in the award-winning movie, Ordinary People. After their child is kidnapped, Jane and Aries resort to desperate measures to find their child, revealing the systemic failures that are both obvious and rampant in Philippine society. This 2016 drama has won an incredible number of accolades including, but not limited to, Best Film at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2016, and Indie Movie of the Year at the Star Awards for Movies in 2017. It was also nominated as Best Film at the 2016 Stockholm Film Festival.
The cast itself has won a slew of awards at the Harlem International Film Festival, the Hanoi International Film Festival, and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
The driving force behind the film Metro Manila is Oscar Ramirez and his family. Originally a farmer, Oscar relocates his family to the city in order to find a better quality of life. However, things soon devolve when his job at an armoured truck company puts his life in danger. Released in 2013, the film boasts an Audience Award from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and a Hamburg Film Critic Award from Filmfest Hamburg. Not to mention, it was also nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language at the British Academy Film Awards.
Anne Curtis shows off her action prowess in the 2018 movie, BuyBust. Sometimes viewed as social commentary, BuyBust centres itself around a team formed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The group conducts a failed drug bust in a Manila slum and find themselves trapped by the settlers. This action-packed thriller has been nominated multiple times at the 2019 FAMAS Awards and has won Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Music at the 2019 Gawad Urian Awards.