I just came from the MTRCB where Ilawod was given an R13 rating.
The experience while waiting for the rating was interesting in itself. Three MTRCB representatives screened the film and deliberated on the rating after, while we waited outside. As my producer and I sat there, MTRCB Chairman Eugenio Villareal, who did not watch the film, wandered by and asked us about our film.
“Ilawod!” he said. “Is it Bisaya?”
He proceeded to tell us that there is an Ilawod Elementary School in Capiz, and that ilawod means downstream, the opposite of iraya. More interestingly, he said that in the area where he grew up, people were warned not to go near the suba, or stream, because there was a force there that took a life at least once a year.
He said that a friend who escaped drowning in that stream said it felt like a hand had reached out from the silt and tried to drag him down. He also said that people have been warning each other about playing there for as long as he can remember, even before the war. “I had to run and get my son when I found out he had gone to play in the area,” he said. Better safe than sorry.
Later, one of the representatives who watched the film said the same thing, but about a different river. “They say that someone drowns in the Sampaloc river every year. That something takes them.”
We have a lot of stories about bodies of water claiming lives. Some of them, like dams and swimming pools, are even man-made.
In Ilawod, we touch on why a water spirit would want to stalk a family seemingly at random, but we grounded it in folklore, exploring how old beliefs merge with and thrive within modern society. We hope you enjoy it.