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Philippines’ Mikhail Red to Shoot ‘Deleter’ Techno-Horror Film in Murky Industry of Online Moderation (EXCLUSIVE)

McCoy De Leon Nadine Lustre Mikhail
Viva Artists Agency/Sthanlee Mirador

Rising-star Philippines director Mikhail Red is poised to begin shooting of “Deleter,” a film that straddles the techno-horror and psychological thriller genres.

The story involves an online content moderator who deletes a suicide video made by her co-worker. But the otherwise desensitized woman cannot escape from either her own troubled past or from a mysterious vengeful presence.

The film is scripted by Red and younger brother Nikolas Red. It is set to star actor-singer-influencer Nadine Lustre, Louise delos Reyes and film and TV actor Mccoy Deleon.

Production is by Viva Films, an established production house which has credits including Erik Matti’s action thriller “Buy Bust.” Location shooting will run through August and September and a completed version is intended to be completed by the end of the year ahead of a launch at key festivals.

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Mikhail Red, director of “Arisaka”. TEN17P

Red’s most recent completed film “Arisaka” launched at festivals late last year and this month will play at the New York Asian Film Festival.

The subject of social media moderation has significant current relevance as the Philippines which has become a global hub for online content moderation and internet censorship services, which are outsourced by tech companies. The country offers a population with good English-language skills and low labor costs.

This appears to be an upgrade of the country as a nexus for banking and financial service call centers and other forms of business process outsourcing, or BPO. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tinder, WhatsApp, Instagram, and others tech firms are believed to employ perhaps 100,000 people commercial content moderators and internet censors.

“[The Philippines] is now known as the content moderation capital of the world, “ Red told Variety. “Moderators work in clandestine or shadowy operations and are often exposed to the filth of society, watching countless videos and images with disturbing and graphic content, which can lead to lasting trauma, as well as psychological and emotional distress all for a low wage.

“Most of them do not have proper access to proper work benefits, mental health support and counseling. This genre film attempts to unlock the dark secrets and consequences of their world, especially in a world where the truth is filtered and distortion is prevalent.”

Red’s Japan – Canada – Philippines international coproduction project “Quantum Suicide” will next be presented at the 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 as well as the SEAFIC x PAS laboratory. It is to be shot in Osaka, Japan.