Aspiring Filipino director Mikhail Red is about to begin filming “Deleter,” a film that straddles the genres of techno-horror and psychological thriller.
The story follows an online content moderator who deletes a suicide video made by her colleague. But the otherwise desensitized woman is unable to escape either her own troubled past or a mysterious vengeful presence.
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The film was scripted by Red and his younger brother Nikolas Red. It stars actor-singer-influencers Nadine Luster, Louise delos Reyes and film and television actor McCoy Deleon.
The production comes from Viva Films, an established production house responsible for, among other things, Erik Matti’s action thriller “Buy Bust”. Filming on location will take place in August and September, and a finished version is expected to be completed by the end of the year before being presented at major festivals.
Red’s most recently completed film, Arisaka, was screened at festivals late last year and will be screened at the New York Asian Film Festival this month.
The issue of social media moderation has significant contemporary relevance as the Philippines has become a global center for online content moderation and internet censorship services that are outsourced by tech companies. The country offers a population with good English skills and low labor costs.
This appears to be upgrading the country as a nexus for banking and financial services call centers and other forms of business process outsourcing, or BPO. It is believed that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tinder, WhatsApp, Instagram and other tech companies employ maybe 100,000 people as commercial content moderators and internet censors.
“[The Philippines] is known today as the world capital of content moderation,” Red told Variety. “Moderators work in clandestine or covert operations and are often exposed to the filth of society, viewing countless videos and images containing disturbing and graphic content that can cause lasting trauma and psychological and emotional distress, all for a modest wage.
“Most of them do not have adequate access to decent work, psychological support and counselling. This genre film seeks to uncover the dark secrets and consequences of their world, especially in a world where truth is filtered and distortion is rampant.”
Red’s international co-production project Quantum Suicide from Japan, Canada and the Philippines is next featured at Frontieres Market, part of Canada’s Fantasia Festival in Montreal. The project started in 2018 and has already been promoted at the BiFan, Udine and Singapore festivals and at the SEAFIC x PAS laboratory. The film is set to be shot in Osaka, Japan.
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