After Francis Ford Coppola shot Apocalypse Now (1979) in Baler, Philippines, his crew unintentionally transformed the small town into a future surfing destination after a surfboard from the movie set was left behind. Apocalypse Child is a fictional drama about Ford, a surfing instructor who has been told all his life that his Filipina mom was impregnated by Coppola. While his mother petitions the director to acknowledge Ford as his son, Ford is seemingly unfazed, content with his beach bum lifestyle, until the return of his childhood best friend, now a local congressman, threatens his dreamlike existence.
Through idyllic scenes of Baler’s landscape, Apocalypse Child shines a light on how its characters use surf culture to withdraw from reality. Feelings of underachievement, the weight of unexpected pregnancies, the denial of abuse— Ford and the people closest to him desire escape, hoping that as each wave washes to shore, so will the harsh realities of the past. Director Mario Cornejo’s laid- back, simplistic approach to storytelling takes the viewer on a compelling journey of escape into the surf, sun, and sprawling beaches—and one can’t help but want to dive in.
Ana Abad Santos
Mario Cornejo is an acclaimed television, film, and commercial director. His first feature, Big Time (2005) won multiple awards. He has since gone on to direct First Day High (2006) and Stray Hearts (2008). His latest feature Apocalypse Child took home Best Picture, Best Director, and Technical Excellence in Editing at the Quezon City Film Festival.
Udine Far East Film Festival 2016
New York Asian Film Festival 2016
Best Picture, QCinema 2015