John Denver Cabungcal is determined to pass 8th grade while helping his widowed mother make ends meet. After a school performance rehearsal, however, his life is upended after one of his classmates accuses him of stealing his iPad. This has not been the first time that he has been accused (and caught) for stealing, but John Denver is mad, because this time, he’s innocent. He snaps and gets into a fight with his accuser, but his accuser is popular, and his friends have recorded the assault and posted it on social media. The weaver town of Antique goes into a frenzy, and John Denver and his mother are caught in the vicious social media aftermath that cannot be undone.
Director Arden Rod Condez, who also hails from Antique, based the film on several true stories circulating on social media today. Shot with almost all non-professional actors, speaking in Antique’s native tongue Kinaray-a, John Denver Trending’s message is universal in its distressed signal on the safe spaces social media fails to provide for people coming of age.