LA FilmForum presents John Torres screenings June 30th and July 2nd

FilmForum (2020 APG awardee) is delighted to welcome John Torres from the Philippines for two public screenings, one at Whammy! Analog on June 30, and one at 2220 Arts on Sunday July 2. Torres has been hailed as the “poet of Philippine cinema” with his five features and multiple short films utilizing a wide array of imagery and expression in his investigations of national and personal history, artistic creation, trauma and desire.

The screening at Whammy! is the US premiere of his latest feature film. People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose. The screening at 2220 Arts will include the newly commissioned film and additional shorts.

“John Torres is the poet of Philippine cinema. A poet with his own rules and ways of working.” -International Film Festival Rotterdam

"...Torres is not only one of the best Filipino directors of his generation, but also one of the (already fulfilled) promises of contemporary cinema." -Festival Internacional de Cine UNAM

John Torres is an independent filmmaker, musician and writer. He has made more than a dozen short films and five features. His work fictionalizes and reworks personal and found documentations of love, family relations, and memory in relation to current events, hearsays, myth, and folklore. He teaches at the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University and conducts filmmaking workshops and co-organizes artist talks and screenings in Los Otros, a Manila-based space, film lab, and platform committed to the intersections of film and art, with a focus on process over product. A special focus of his works has been shown at the Viennale, Seoul, Cosquín, and Bangkok.

Friday June 30, 2023, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum and Whammy! Analog present

People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose

US premiere!

At Whammy! Analog, 2514 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Entrance in the rear off Rampart

In person: John Torres

Community partner: Fil/Am Arts

Tickets: $12 general, $6 students/seniors, free Whammy! and Filmforum members

Masks are still required at Filmforum shows - N95 or KN95.

For more event information:

People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose

2016, color, sound, digital, 89 minutes, US premiere!

People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose is a self-reflexive slow fever dream of a film that lies close to documentary but also seems like a new form. Connecting with actor Liz Alindogan and some twenty rolls of film she had from an unfinished film by Filipino director Celso Advento Castillo, Torres edited and created a new soundtrack, re-uniting the original cast members to provide commentary while watching the film decades later. The original work, shot in the 1980s, while Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” was also filming nearby in the Philippines and the People Power movement was forming that would lead to the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos, followed a desperate group of Vietnamese attempting to escape on a boat bound for the Philippines during the Vietnam War, but with some lurid erotic moments and splashes of violence. The edited work identifies the heart of that film as an expression of existential angst of a never-ending journey, but overlaid with beautiful film decay and with editorial comment of the gossip and politics of the film’s creation.

In the country of his birth, Celso Advento Castillo (1943-2012) is lauded as ‘the Saviour of Filipino cinema’. His oeuvre of more than 60 films is highly original and extremely diverse. He has made thrillers, action and horror films, and in the 1970s also put ‘bomba films’ on the map: erotic drama in which he was able to also tell stories – often with a moral. In the 1980s, he worked on a feature film with the then 19-year-old actress Liz Alindogan, the sexy promise of the moment. Unfortunately, financial and logistics problems meant the film was never completed.

More than 30 years later, John Torres used 20 recovered film rolls from this project to make a new film. Mixed with found footage and with a new overdub, this is a making-of film with a mysterious twist. A homage to the master, but also to the power of cinematic imagination. - International Film Festival Rotterdam

“Moving through the history of the Philippines, the legacy of the national cinema, the nature of filmmaking, and the ontology of film, “People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose” is one of the most exciting films we've seen recently.” -- I-Lin Liu, Asian Movie Pulse

Sunday July 2, 2023, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

John Torres: Poet of Philippine Cinema

World premiere!

Sunday July 2, 2023, 7:30 pm

At 2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90057

Free parking on Beverly Blvd and at the church lot across the street

In person: John Torres

Community partner: Fil/Am Arts

Tickets: $12 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members


We still have to close our eyes

2019, color, sound, 13 mins

Repurposed documentary footage captured from the sets of various Filipino productions (including the likes of Lav Diaz and Erik Matti) into an eerie, elliptical sci-fi narrative about human avatars controlled by apps.

Room in a crowd

2023, digital, color, sound, 45 minutes, World Premiere!

A diaristic exploration of time, loss, and sound that roams during the pandemic. The sound of a late night car ride saying goodbye to a friend, recorded as the filmmaker prepares to move to Berlin with his family, forms the foundation of this personal documentary. From the faint sound of a daycare Zoom class in Manila to the rhythm of a windshield wiper during heavy rain to the hypnotic tone of a car engine on idle as the filmmaker waits for the friend to come in, we are transported to spaces that evoke a dream-like yet continuing diary of the past tumultuous years.

Composed of a collage of recorded moments across locked-down spaces, it gathers Zoom recordings with a four-year-old daughter, student video submissions in production classes through the pandemic, and dashcam footage of an ambushed newsman, juxtaposed with commercial stock footage to explore how personal emotions may still resonate in neutral compositions. These were edited only after the move to Berlin months after. And across this collage, diegetic and non-diegetic relations between sound and image shift to explore how distance is felt to evoke memory and longing. Reflections emerge on years as parent, filmmaker, and a grieving son, always striving to capture time through these different cycles.


Work-in-progress, 42 mins

Sci-fi version of We still have to close our eyes, where humans in an island are being used as avatars for a mobile driving app by a mysterious voice that controls their bodies. The filmmaking process has started, and the film ends midway as police investigates a road accident involving one of the remote avatars, taking us on a journey to identify the voice that controls bodies of several citizens.