FDCP's FilmPhilippines Grantees 'Nocebo,' 'Divine Factory' Picked Up for International Distribution

“Nocebo” by Lorcan Finnegan

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, MARCH 5, 2021 — The Philippines is now a co-financer of major international film projects after two FilmPhilippines Incentives awardees of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) have been picked up for overseas distribution.

These are “Nocebo” by Lorcan Finnegan and “Divine Factory” by Joseph Mangat, which both received the selective International Co-production Fund (ICOF). This offers up to PHP 10 million for Filipino companies in a co-production agreement with international counterparts with at least PHP 5 million worth of production expenses spent in the Philippines.

“Nocebo,” a FilmPhilippines Cycle 1 grantee awarded PHP 6.5 million, is the first co-production project of the Philippines with Ireland. It is developed with Screen Ireland, which is financing the film together with the FDCP, XYZ Films, and Media Finance Capital. XYZ Films handles the film’s international sales at the European Film Market of the 71st Berlin International Film Festival.

The psychological thriller is about a fashion designer who suffers from a mysterious illness until help arrives in the form of a Filipino nanny who uses traditional folk healing to reveal a horrifying truth. 

The co-production among Wild Swim Films from the UK, Epicmedia Productions, Inc. from the Philippines, and Lovely Productions from Ireland recently announced its main cast composed of “Casino Royale” and “300: Rise of an Empire” actress Eva Green, “The Kingsman” and “Sherlock Holmes” actor Mark Strong, and “Patay na si Hesus” actress Chai Fonacier from Cebu.

Epicmedia CEO and co-founder Bianca Balbuena-Liew gave an update on Nocebo, which Epicmedia has been working on for two years. “We’re now on our path in looking for the best Philippine distribution partner,” she said in a Facebook post, adding that they are deep into pre-production of the Philippine leg. “We will dive into principal photography a few weeks after we wrap our HBO Folklore episode shoot. Virtual cheers, everyone!”


"Divine Factory" photo courtesy of Daluyong Studios

Previously with the title “Holy Craft,” “Divine Factory” is an ICOF grantee from FilmPhilippines Cycle 3 awarded PHP 3.04 million. The observational documentary about a Catholic figurines factory in Antipolo is the first Filipino production of Asian Shadows, a Hong Kong-based film international sales boutique company.

The co-production of Daluyong Studios from the Philippines, Volos Films from Taiwan, and Cinetracts from the United States tackles the Catholic faith and the LGBTQ community in the country.

“With their impeccable taste and unwavering support for Asian cinema, especially for Southeast films, we are more than honored to be the first Filipino film represented by Asian Shadows,” said producer Alemberg Ang, who established Daluyong Studios. “It’s also the first international documentary that I produced and I’m super excited to be working with Volos Films and Asian Shadows to finally see the fruition of years and years of work.”

In 2020, “Divine Factory” won the Docs-in-Progress Award at Cannes Docs Online of Marché du Film (Cannes Film Market) at the Cannes International Film Festival in France.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño remarked, “I never thought this day would happen — the Philippines as a co-financer of major international projects. The seeds we planted in the last four years are finally bearing fruits for the Filipino film industry. I am just humbled to see this happening as envisioned, for more overseas audiences to witness the artistry of Filipinos.”

The FilmPhilippines Incentive Programs, launched in 2020, are still accepting applications for Cycle 1 of 2021 until March 31. Interested producers may apply for ICOF, Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP), and ASEAN Co-production Fund (ACOF). 

Another FilmPhilippines Incentive is the Film Location Engagement Desk (FLEX), which assists local and international companies in government transactions necessary for productions. An application for the ICOF, FLIP, or ACOF automatically entitles the applicant to avail of FLEX.

The FilmPhilippines Selection Committee will hold the Cycle 1 deliberations in April. This will be followed by the Cycle 2 application period from May 3 to July 30 with deliberations in August and the Cycle 3 application period from September 1 to November 29 with deliberations in December. For more information, visit www.filmphilippines.com.