TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


The Boy and the Fight of Spiders

Jarell Serencio


Jun (12) is a carefree spider-obsessed young boy living in a remote mining community of Mt. Diwalwal in the Southern Philippines. He’s bent to catch the toughest spider to show off to his friends for their routine spider derby. He learns to catch spiders from his older brother, Mark (15) who is very close to him. Childish ways shield Jun from noticing the changes around him: the entry of big mining companies, the sad fate of miners and the transfer of Diwalwal’s settlers in a government housing facility. His world changes when he loses Mark and his father in a tunnel collapse. Their bodies are never recovered, and tunnel records show that they are not among the casualties. No compensation is given to the family who are left to mourn without the bodies of the dead. Prolonged grief sets in without any closure for Jun and his mother. Determined to search the truth and find answers to the lies they are led to believe, Jun becomes obsessed to look for the remains of his loved ones in the tunnel. His bleak world takes a sudden turn when he becomes attached to Debby (17), a teen waitress in a beer joint. She becomes a refuge who seems to understand Jun as he struggles against a web of challenges and searches for nuggets of truth while standing on the edge of manhood.


Knowing Jun is like reconnecting with my childhood memories about my older brother Josel (12) who died from a stray bullet. I remember him vaguely from times we spent playing. I couldn’t understand how one day he was not around anymore. Like Jun, I also confronted loss at a young age. Some of my questions remain unanswered until now. I struggled for answers. That struggle led me to make a film and explore feelings about our lack of choices and how this affects our relationships with ourselves and those closest to us. I feel the immense urgency to examine how a mining town cuts childhood and how this reality becomes normal in a world where everything revolves around the web of social structure built by the invisible big time players who hold full control over the place. I want to provoke empathy in showing the continuing losses we experience as a country within the context of mining from the lens of a tragic instance caught on film. As I write the story, I am also writing a love letter to my brother. I want this film to be my tender letter to him and my raging letter to the world.

A spider-obsessed boy is forced to face manhood after a tragedy strikes his remote mining town.
Jarell Serencio

Film Director

production notes

original title

produced byLos Otros
Quezon City

in co-production with
Acrobates Films - France
Man Overboard Production - Philippines

total production budget
€ 500,000.00