Trailer: Brillante Ma Mendoza’s Possession Film, “SAPI” Looks Grim
Currently playing TIFF as part of the Vanguard Section, SAPI is the first horror film from Filipino filmmaker Brillante Ma Mendoza. A film about television producers hoping to document actual spiritual possession, SAPI looks to capture something rough.
With the rival station Philippine Broadcasting Channel (PBC) eating up the TV audiences’ major share, Sarimanok Broadcasting Network (SBN) needs a miracle to stay alive in the competition. In these mad and fearful times, SBN’s news team finds that documenting an actual spiritual possession would be their only hope.
Tasked to head the documentary production is MERYLL FLORES, a trainee TV Executive producer, along with DENNIS MARQUEZ, the reporter. Needless to say, the success of the project will also secure their eventual promotion in the company. However, the miracle seems to evade Meryll’s team. They go to distant places, schools, provincial areas, religious groups, and faith healers, just to cover the case of mass possession, but to no avail. They simply cannot find a single incident of possession. Worse, BARON VALDEZ, cameraman of the rival network PBC, is the one who was able to capture the isolated case of demonic possession that involved a high school teacher (Ruby).
To fulfill her task, Meryll enters into a deal that is more profoundly horrifying than the harrowing scene of paranormal possession. To acquire the needed footage, she buys the outtakes of the Ruby possession case from Baron. But at the point where Meryll imagines to be the turning point of her new career, an exorcising reality dawns on her with a spiralling effect that mirrors the political system governing the TV network.
SAPI screens once more at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 15. No word on U.S. release just yet. For more, visit the film’s official site.