` Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) `

Cinematheque hosts Q & A with filmmaker Ralston Jover

Ralston Jover began his career in film by writing screenplays in college. In 2006, he made his first feature film, Kubrador, which focused on the gambling culture in the Philippines. Since then, Jover has made many films that have served as social commentaries towards the nation, such as Bakal Boys, Bendor and Hamog. His topics of choice range from indigenous groups, electoral matters and even the foster care system in the Philippines.



Jover’s screenplay, Foster Child helped propel Brilliante Mendoza into debuting the film at the Cannes Film Festival. In past interviews, Ralston cited his strong desire to contribute to the discussion on poverty, saying: “Through the film we want to raise social awareness of this situation. There is poverty in the Philippines. We must be aware of it and help.

Da Dog Show is Jover’s 2015 film, inspired by a documentary  which followed the story of Mang Sergio, who trains his dogs to perform in street  exhibitions. Mang Sergio uses his meager earnings to care for his mentally challenged daughter and sustain their humble home located in the public cemetery. Jover took this premise and spun it into a full length film. To create a point of interest in the film, he injects magic realism into what would otherwise be a mundane subject matter.

Da Dog Show hones in on the dog-eat-dog world that Mang Sergio lives in, where he must hustle every day just to get by. The dog shows are not the actual focal point of the movie: the flashy, fun and entertaining show is a stark contrast to the dark and dank public cemetery which he comes home to. The dog shows serve as a respite from the constantly changing atmosphere of the dysfunctional family.

Bessie Badilla, the film’s producer, said that the film focuses on the people who are “invisible in our society. They are ignored neglected and taken for granted but in spite of their status in society, their hardships and difficulties, they remain loving to each other. They teach us humility and the importance of caring family.”

The film took 5 years to complete and required much commitment from its cast and crew, who had to shoot scenes in a crowded public cemetery. Actress Mercedes Cabral shared that she endured getting bitten by one of the dogs on set. Their commitment paid off when Da Dog Show was the only Filipino entry chosen to take part in the Cannes L’Atelier – a program that connects promising filmmakers with potential financial partners. The film also screened as part of the ASEAN Skies section of the World Premieres Film Festival in 2015.

Ralston Jover will be visiting the Cinematheque Centre Manila  on March 19, 2016 at 4:00 for a special screening and Q & A discussion afterwards. Da Dog Show is part of the ASEAN Film Awareness Month and is FREE of admission charge.

Film Development Council of the Philippines