Love at the Coffee Shop: How to dine-in at a café Pinoy Romcom style

Love at the Coffee Shop: How to dine-in at a café Pinoy Romcom style

What are the chances that you would find love in a coffee shop? 

Coffee and romances pair well if the number of fan-favorite movies is any indication.  Whether it’s a place of work, blossoming romance, or a stopover in one’s soul-searching, the café is a perfect spot to gaze into someone’s eyes, albeit through acetate shields and over physically distanced tables.

Before you head out to your favorite café with your crush, why don’t you check out some of the most memorable and quirky café moments in popular Pinoy romcoms. Who knows, maybe you can get a kilig tip or two!

Write About Love (2019) Director: Crisanto Aquino

(Image Source: TBA Studios)

While the two protagonists first met during a pitch session, rookie screenplay writer (Miles Ocampo) and veteran scribe (Rocco Nacino) formally collaborate at a café.  While the two clashed on nearly every idea they had for the screenplay they were working on, it’s obvious that both writers are bonded by their passion for their craft and their love for coffee.  This gives us a glimpse of the couple’s potential to go beyond their work relationship as co-writers.

“Write About Love” won several awards at the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival including Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for Joem Bascon, and Best Supporting Actress for Yeng Constantino. Watch the movie now on Netflix.

Kung Paano Siya Nawala / How She Left Me (2018) Director: Joel Ruiz

(Image Source: TBA Studios)

Meet-cute at a café sounds like a perfect scenario for love.  In TV and film, a meet-cute refers to the scene where potential lovers meet for the first time under amusing circumstances.  But if you’re suffering from a medical condition of prosopagnosia or face blindness, a café meet-cute might be a bit complicated.  Lio (JM de Guzman) kissed a girl, Shana (Rhian Ramos) outside a bar.  He then meets her again in a coffee shop where Shana works as a barista.  But because he could not remember people’s faces, he was not aware he had met Shana before.

Produced by TBA Studios, “How She Left Me” is now streaming on Netflix.

That Thing Called Tadhana (2014) Director: Antoinette Jadaone

(Image Source: Cinema One)

There’s something about the intimate space of a café and the warm scent of a fresh brew that makes it a great spot to share stories about your life with a friend, a significant other, or a stranger you met at the airport on a trip up north. Mace (Angelica Panganiban) literally and figuratively carried extra baggage with her, which his new companion Anthony (JM de Guzman) was willing to take care of.  Experiencing existential dread, the two went to a café in Session Road to discuss life’s unanswered questions. 

The screenplay placed third at the 2014 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. The movie also won major awards at the Gawad Urian and Cinema One Originals Film Festival. You can watch “That Thing Called Tadhana” on Netflix.

English Only Please (2014) Director: Dan Villegas

(Image Source: Quantum Films)

Was there a time you had to make EDSA traffic as an excuse for being late? Then you probably could relate to language tutor Tere (Jennilyn Mercado) whose tardiness did not impress his Fil-Am client Julian (Derek Ramsay). The café is their tutoring spot for Julian, proving that coffee shops can be a great spot for study dates too.

“English Only Please” is available for on-demand viewing via Google Play.

I’m Drunk, I Love You. (2017) Director: JP Habac

(Image Source: TBA Studios)

“Ate, pa-order naman ng kape, kailangan kong kabahan,” so said Carson (Maja Salvador), who finally met her rival Pathy (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) at a café in La Union.  Things may not be going smoothly for Carson and her mission to make her longtime crush Dio (Paulo Avelino) fall in love with her, but at least she has her gay best friend and some caffeine to keep her fueled. 

“I’m Drunk, I Love You.” is now streaming on Netflix and TBA Studios’ YouTube channel.

Looking for a coffee place for your real-life meet-cute? Visit Cinema ‘76 Café on the second floor of Anonas LRT City Center along Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City or order via Viber at +63906 236 2365.

5 JP Habac Movies and Series You Can Watch Right Now

5 JP Habac Movies and Series You Can Watch Right Now

Time check!  What makes a JP Habac movie or series so memorable? Is it the masterfully crafted stories brought about by confined spaces like small apartment units or hotel rooms? Is it the youthful and idyllic long trips to La Union or a tour of the summer capital?  Perhaps it’s all about the pain that comes with loving someone who doesn’t see you the same way. Aww, sakit naman.

Well, whatever reasons you are watching a JP Habac movie or series, we can all agree that he is among the best storytellers of his generation. Here’s a list to prove he’s the go-to guy for sweet romances and heartbreaks.

I’m Drunk, I Love You. (2017)

Freshly dropping this week on Netflix Philippines is Habac’s first feature film, “I’m Drunk, I Love You.”  Originally an entry for a local festival, Habac pulled it out due to budget constraints. The screenplay, also written by Habac and Giancarlo Abrahan, was later optioned by TBA Studios starring a stellar cast led by Paulo Avelino as the oblivious boy-best friend Dio and Maja Salvador as his lovestruck “tol”, Carson.  With only a few days before graduation, the two go on a road trip up north to finally make peace with what their relationship really is.

You can also watch “I’m Drunk, I Love You.” on TBA Studios’ YouTube Channel available in select territories.

Sakaling Maging Tayo (2019)

(Image Source: Black Sheep)

Continuing with Habac’s theme of young love and college romance, the popular love team of McLisse stars in the 2019 coming-of-age romcom “Sakaling Maging Tayo”.  Mccoy De Leon and Elisse Joson play college freshmen Pol and Laya who do a series of dares and confessions before one of them chooses to leave Baguio City for good.

You can watch “Sakaling Maging Tayo” on Netflix.

Gaya sa Pelikula / Like in the Movies (2020)

(Image Source: Globe Studios)

Habac’s first foray in the Boys’ Love (BL) genre, “Gaya sa Pelikula” showcases the tandem of newcomer Paolo Pangilinan and theater actor Ian Pangilinan. With Habac on its helm, the series not only showed a budding romance between a closeted architecture student and a proud gay aspiring filmmaker, but also the microaggressions queer people experience from their own families.

Gaya Sa Pelikula” is now streaming on Netflix. 

Meet Me Outside (2020)

(Image Source: Outsiders PH Youtube)

A microseries produced for gay social networking app Blued, “Meet Me Outside” tells a story about an influencer James (Kaloy Tingcungco) and a hotel attendant Dale (Genesis Redido) who find solace from each other during the holidays.  As New Year approaches, the two have to decide if what they had was only a fling that they would have to leave behind in 2020.

Watch this other JP Habac-helmed series on Outsiders PH YouTube channel. 

Dito at Doon / Here and There (2021)

With his unique brand of romcom that is oftentimes quirky and hilarious, but also incredibly real and relatable, “Dito at Doon” has found critical acclaim here and abroad as a cautionary tale on internet romance in the time of COVID.  Its lead star Janine Gutierrez even won the Rising Star Award at the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) this year for her performance in the film.

Netflix picked the movie for worldwide release on the platform with an international title, “Here and There.” Watch the movie here.

“A is for Agustin” hopes to inspire ‘ripples of change’

"A is for Agustin" hopes to inspire 'ripples of change'

Documentary filmmaker Grace Simbulan spent 8 years in the Aeta community in Zambales to deliver one of the most powerful and compelling documentaries to date: the real-life story of Agustin Tiburcio, a man nearing his 40’s who decided to go back to school after years of being cheated on by unscrupulous employers who took advantage of his inability to read or write.

Simbulan shares her almost decade-long journey to bring to light this quiet yet moving story, her thoughts on our nation’s growing problem with access to quality education for indigenous communities, and how we all can work together to become agents of change.

How did you learn about Mang Agustin and at which point did you decide to make a documentary about him?

“In 2011, I filmed a mid-length documentary film exposing the environmental destruction caused by mining in Cabangan, Zambales and its impact (i.e. psychological, emotional, socio-economic, etc.) on the lives of Aetas. One of the issues I delved into was education. When I first met Agustin, I thought he was a worker in their elementary school. He was charming and popular with the students and teachers. When I interviewed one of the elementary teachers, I was amazed to find out that Agustin had just started Grade 1. Agustin, during our first conversation, told me about how frustrating his life before had been, since his illiteracy and inability to count made it impossible for him to count his own wages. He even mentioned having to compare the color of bills with his co-workers as his way to know if he was being cheated by his employers. The humiliation and the frustration he felt for all those years were the reasons why he was so committed to learning how to read, write, and count. As Agustin told me back then, his peers and relatives had thought he was a joke. However, this did not stop him. When I saw the contrast between how funny and charming he was in school and how hard his life was on the outside, I knew that his story had to be told. So, I turned my camera toward him.”

How long did it take for you to finish the documentary? What were the challenges did you encounter when you were working on this project?

“It took me 8 years, on and off, to finish this project. It was very challenging since at the beginning, I didn’t have the financial support I needed to make the film. Like a lot of beginner filmmakers, I went to various pitching events and applied to as many grants as I possibly can. Aside from the financial hurdle, getting too involved with your protagonists’ lives was also an issue I had problems navigating. Of course, I’m not saying that we should emotionally distance ourselves all the time but getting too involved has its own problems. Oftentimes, Agustin or Nanay Liway (Agustin’s wife) would consult me about their domestic problems. It was difficult to oscillate between my role as a documentary filmmaker and as a friend. Another challenge I faced was the constant fear that at any moment, Agustin, his family, or the whole community could question my intentions and why I was still filming after all those years. Thankfully, this never happened, and I think it was because our relationship was based on respect and sensitivity to each other’s needs. I didn’t force myself when I felt like they didn’t want to be filmed or if I felt like they needed space to breathe and just be.” 

As a documentarist, what did you learn from following the story of Agustin?

“My 8-year journey reinforced my understanding of how exploitative our system is and how it works– that we can never truly achieve change if we don’t address the very source of people’s oppression and if we constantly vote [for] people who perpetuate the interests of the ruling class. As long as we live in a society where we can’t hold those in power accountable to the law, people like Agustin will always remain poor and oppressed.

On a lighter note, I learned the value of collaboration through this film. A lot of people helped and guided me in this 8-year journey whether that be in the form of mentorship, words of encouragement, financial support, or lending their time and creative expertise to improve the film.” 

 The film first premiered in QCinema 2019 and is now set for a wider online release, including international streaming via TBA Play. How does it feel now that a wider audience can see the film?

“I feel honored to have my first film seen by a wider audience. Like what I’ve always mentioned in previous interviews, I hope the film reaches the right people who can bring about tiny ripples of change.”

What takeaways do you hope the viewers can get from watching “A is for Agustin”?

“I hope the viewers realize that they have the power to make an impact on other people’s lives. And no matter what field or career you pursue, for as long as you strive to make other people’s lives better, then you’re in fact making those tiny ripples of change.”

Catch the award-winning documentary “A is for Agustin” available to stream in the Philippines on Cinema ’76@Home, Upstream, KTX, iWantTFC, and Ticket2Me, starting August 27.  International audience can stream “A is for Agustin” exclusively on TBA Play.

 For more information, check out the Cinema ’76 Film Society Facebook page.

5 Movies to Watch this National Heroes’ Day

5 Movies to Watch this National Heroes’ Day

The long weekend leading to National Heroes’ Day is finally here! If you want to turn that patriotic spirit on, why not binge on these TBA Studios movies now accessible across major streaming platforms? It’s history class minus the snooze and the pop quiz.

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo

Helmed by filmmaker Enzo Williams, Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo is the unofficial first film in what would be a “Bayaniverse” series of movies.  Produced before the formation of TBA Studios, it tells the story of the Katipunan revolutionary Andres Bonifacio and his eventual rift with the other faction’s leader Emilio Aguinaldo.  Released in 2014, it won the most awards in that year’s Metro Manila Film Festival including Best Picture.

At the moment, Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo can be watched for free on TBA Studios’ YouTube channel in select territories except for the Philippines, Myanmar, and the Middle East.

Heneral Luna

Who doesn’t remember the famous line “Bayan o sarili? Pumili ka!”? The sleeper hit Heneral Luna has disturbed everyone’s idea of heroism in this 2015 biopic about General Antonio Luna. Receiving critical acclaim from here and abroad, the second film in the Bayaniverse put director Jerrold Tarog and lead actor John Arcilla under everyone’s radar after the film’s success.

Heneral Luna is available worldwide on Netflix and on TBA Studios’ YouTube Channel. The movie can also be streamed on iWantTFC and WeTV.


Angelito is a 20-minute short film that follows the story of brothers two days after the death of Antonio Luna. It bridges Jerrold Tarog’s magnum opuses Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral

You can watch the short in an exclusive bundle package on Cinema ‘76 @ Home and TBA Play for cinephiles abroad.

Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral

Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral is the second installment to Tarog’s trilogy chronicling the lives of important figures in Philippine history during the Filipino-American War.  The movie revolves around the 22-year old general Gregorio del Pilar (Paulo Avelino) finding his youth and sanity tainted in two wars.  The massive blockbuster opened with over 300 cinemas nationwide during its premiere week, a never-before feat for a historical movie.

Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (Goyo:The Boy General) is available worldwide on Netflix.

Sunday Beauty Queen

If you’re looking for stories about our modern-day heroes, then stream the documentary Sunday Beauty Queen. This critically acclaimed docu, which won Best Picture at the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival, does away with the usual pretty-faced hosts and puts the spotlights on the OFWs in Hong Kong. Filmmaker Babyruth Villarama follows these unsung heroes toil during the week and prepare for beauty pageants on their days off.

Sunday Beauty Queen is available on Netflix Philippines and worldwide on TBA Studios’ YouTube channel.

Hankering for more socially relevant content? Check out the other docu releases of TBA Studios here.

If you’re looking for Bayaniverse merch, you’re in luck! Head to Cinema ’76 Film Society Shopee merch store to avail of exciting discounts on Bayaniverse shirts, bags, DVDs, and more at this coming Shopee 9.9 Sale!

Janine Gutierrez’ sends thanks to NYAFF 2021 for the ‘Rising Star Award’

Janine Gutierrez’ sends thanks to NYAFF 2021 for the 'Rising Star Award'

Following the successful local and international release of the critically acclaimed hit “Dito at Doon” (“Here and There”), the film’s lead star Janine Gutierrez is making waves once more as the recipient of this year’s Rising Star Award from the prestigious New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF).  Janine won for her portrayal of Len, a political science graduate who tries to navigate family, friendship, and falling in love during a global pandemic.

Janine wasn’t able to attend this year’s festival and awarding ceremony in person, but she expressed her gratitude to the NYAFF via a video message with the award at hand, noting how much the recognition means to her. 

“I’ve always wanted to visit you guys in New York and attend the festival in person. This recognition, and you sending [this award] all the way to Manila is something I’m so grateful for,” she said.

Janine also added: “Thank you [NYAFF] for supporting Filipino artists and Filipino films, and for making sure that our stories are out there on the international stage.”

The “Dito at Doon” star is only the second Filipino artist to be honored with this distinction. Therese Malvar, one of the lead stars of TBA Studios’ “1-2-3” (“Gasping for Air”) won the award in 2016 for her role in the film “Hamog”.

Among some of the artists that previously won the Rising Star Award includes South Korean stars So Ji-sub, Kim Go-Eun, Lee Joo-young (more recognizable to K-drama fans from her roles in “Weightlifting Fairy” and “Itaewon Class”), Japan’s Takayuki Yamada (Netflix’s “Naked Director”), and Thailand’s “Bad Genius” lead actress Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying.

Janine shares the Rising Star Award with co-recipients Bang Min-ah (South Korea) and Sosuke Ikematsu (Japan).

NYAFF is North America’s leading festival of Asian cinema, dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of Asian film culture in all its forms.  “Dito at Doon” premiered at the NEXT/NOW program section of the NYAFF last August 21.

Meanwhile, viewers worldwide can catch “Dito at Doon” (“Here and There”) as it premieres on Netflix globally starting September 2. 

Directed by JP Habac of  “I’m Drunk I Love You”, “Dito at Doon” also stars JC Santos, Victor Anastacio, and Yesh Burce, with the special participation of Janine’s mom, veteran actress Lotlot de Leon. 

For more exciting news and updates follow TBA Studios on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

5 of TBA Studios’ Biggest Titles Are Coming To Netflix This August-September

5 of TBA Studios' Biggest Titles Are Coming To Netflix This August-September

Global streaming giant Netflix will release the must-watch movie of the year Dito at Doon (Here and There) on the service worldwide on Sept. 2. Four other critically acclaimed films from TBA Studios will start streaming on Netflix Philippines in the coming weeks. Find out if your favorite TBA Studios movie is on the list.


1. Sunday Beauty Queen – August 15

Local subscribers of Netflix Philippines will soon be able to watch the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Picture and 2017 CinemAsia Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary Sunday Beauty QueenSunday Beauty Queen is a heartwarming documentary by Baby Ruth Villarama about domestic workers in Hong Kong who join a weekend beauty pageant on their days off.


2. Bliss – August 15

Also dropping on Netflix Philippines on August 15 is Jerrold Tarog’s psychological thriller Bliss, a story about a burned-out actress who finds herself under the care of her jaded husband and a creepy nurse named Lilibeth.  This controversial film boasts of critically acclaimed performances from its cast led by Iza Calzado, who won the Yakushi Pearl Award (Best Performer) at the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival. 


3. Dito at Doon (Here and There) – September 2

Dito at Doon (Here and There) is without a doubt one of the most-talked-about Filipino films of the year.  This timely quarantine love story landed lead actress Janine Gutierrez the Rising Star Award at the recently concluded 2021 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF).  Set during the first months of the pandemic, the movie revolves around political science graduate Len (Gutierrez) and her online/offline frenemy Caloy (JC Santos).  With polarizing views and challenges of not being physically together, will their relationship survive?


4. I’m Drunk, I Love You. – September 15

If you can’t get enough of JP Habac’s auteurship from Dito at Doon, Netflix Philippines will also release his feature-length directorial debut, I’m Drunk, I Love You.  Hailed as one of the “25 Best Rom-coms Of The Last 25 Years“, this well-loved and now iconic film stars Maja Salvador and Paulo Avelino in a relatable story about being intoxicated with unrequited love.


5. Smaller and Smaller Circles – September 21

TBA Studios’ adaptation of F.H. Batacan’s best-selling mystery novel Smaller and Smaller Circles will start streaming on Netflix Philippines on September 21. Director Raya Martin’s faithful interpretation of this award-winning story takes on the nation’s political amnesia.  Nonie Buencamino and Sid Lucero star as Jesuit forensic scientists trying to solve an urban serial murder case.


Looking for more world-class Filipino movies on Netflix? Current TBA Studios titles streaming on the platform are epic historical films Heneral Luna and Goyo: The Young General, coming-of-age thriller film Birdshot, and romance dramas How She Left Me (Kung Paano Siya Nawala), Write About Love, and Us, at the End of the Year (Tayo Sa Huling Buwan Ng Taon).

To know more about these films, follow TBA Studios on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #ProudlyTBA.

5 hard-to-find Filipino shorts, docus streaming online this August

5 hard-to-find Filipino shorts, docus streaming online this August

In case you missed their limited theatrical and festival runs, five award-winning short films and documentaries will be available for on-demand viewing this month on major streaming platforms.

Shorts Bundle

Premiering on Aug. 20 on the platforms are Goyo prequel Angelito, QCinema Film Festival 2019 Best Short Film Judy Free, Australia Independent Film Festival 2018 Best Documentary Life Is What You Make It, and The Interpreter, a Japanese story directed by award-winning Filipino filmmaker Benito Bautista. 

Angelito is a 20-minute short film that follows the story of brothers two days after the death of Antonio Luna. It bridges Jerrold Tarog’s magnum opuses Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral.

Judy Free immerses viewers in a young girl’s reality where her father who’s been away abroad for almost a decade suddenly comes home as an animated doodle figure.

Life Is What You Make It explores the life of award-winning Filipino theatre producer Jhett Tolentino from his migration into the United States and his entry into theatre production in New York.

The Interpreter is a short romantic thriller in the age of digital and online dating apps, set in Tokyo, Japan. 

The Shorts Bundle is exclusive on Cinema ‘76 @ Home and TBA Play for cinephiles abroad. Catch the complete bundle for Php 250/USD7.99 or in a two-film bundle for Php 150/USD4.99.

A is for Agustin

Grace Simbulan’s eye-opening documentary A is for Agustin will be streamed on Cinema ‘76 @ Home, TBA Play,, iWantTFC, Upstream and Ticket2Me starting on Aug. 27.

Set in a remote mountainous region of the northern Philippines, the film follows the story of an illiterate indigenous man who decides to go back to school. With the goal of making a better life for himself, 40-year old Agustin starts learning his ABCs.

A is for Agustin is Simbulan’s first full-length documentary. The film took eight years to complete as Simbulan fully immersed herself with the indigenous community where Agustin belongs.

It has been selected and nominated in several notable festivals and award-giving bodies, including QCinema International Film Festival 2019 – Official Selection, FAMAS Awards 2020 -Best Documentary Nominee, Gawad Urian 2020 -Best Documentary Nominee, Guam International Film Festival 2020, Grand Jury Award Nominee for Best Documentary, and Udine Far East Film Festival 2021 -Non-Competition Film (Documentary) Selection.

To know more about the films, follow TBA Studios on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #ProudlyTBA.

Watch throuple love story ‘Show Me What You Got’ starting July 30

Watch throuple love story ‘Show Me What You Got’ starting July 30

This steamy polyamorous sex drama is shot in black-and-white, giving the film a tasteful ‘arthouse style’ flavor.

TBA Studios is releasing the seductive adult drama “Show Me What You Got” on July 30 and it will be available on all major streaming platforms in the country.

Helmed by Svetlana Cvetko, “Show Me What You Got” revolves around the intriguing romance between three attractive, free-spirited twentysomethings in Los Angeles— a grieving coffee shop waitress Christine (Cristina Rambaldi), a struggling actor and semi-professional fighter Nassim (Neyssan Falahi), and Marcello (Mattia Minasi), a man living in the shadow of his father, an Italian soap opera star.

The three form a wholehearted ménage à trois, finding joy together by joining political protests, making art, and falling deeper into their unconventional love, until one must return to Italy.  Their experience there threatens the delicate balance of their relationship.

“Show Me What You Got” holds an admirable 80% Fresh rating across all critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.  AIPT reviewer Nathaniel Muir said it is “a beautiful-looking movie that is reminiscent of the French New Wave.”

“Known for her luscious and exquisite cinematography, Cvetko presents a captivating and well-acted story with great style for a film about contemporary love and life awakening, which includes LA anti-establishment undertones and unfocused careers,” Film Threat’s Sabina Dana Plasse wrote.

The black-and-white romance film also had a strong festival presence in the last two years. Among the accolades it received were Cariddi D’oro Award for the Best Film at the 2019 Taormina International Film Festival, Best International Film Award at the 2019 Terra Di Siena International Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and Best Cinematography award at the 2019 High Falls Women’s Film Festival, Best Cinematography at the 2020 Santa Fe Film Festival, Best of The Fest Grand Jury Prize at 2020 San Antonio Film Festival, and Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography at the 2020 Loudoun Arts Film Festival.

When does intimacy become love? And is the romance between three souls as valid and pure as other kinds of relationships? Find out on “Show Me What You Got”, streaming on Upstream, KTX, iWantTFC, and Ticket2Me, starting July 30.

For more information, check out the Cinema ’76 Film Society Facebook page .



TBA Studios recently acquired the dramatic thriller “Boundary” and award-winning documentary feature, “A is for Agustin.  Both films will have premiere screenings in Cannes’ global film market, Marché du Film, this coming July 6 to 15.

Inspired by true stories of taxi drivers of metropolitan Manila, “Boundary, a riveting crime thriller helmed by Filipino American filmmaker Benito Bautista, explores the lengths and sacrifices that a person is willing to take in order to survive. This is Bautista’s first feature length film, but already the film has garnered critical acclaim during its premiere. 

It also earned several nominations and wins including Best Film Award – NETPAC Category (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) at the 2011 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, and nominations at the 35th Gawad Urian Awards for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for both its lead stars Ronnie Lazaro and Raymond Bagatsing.

Another acquisition is “A is for Agustin, a powerful and compelling documentary feature by Grace Simbulan. Set in a remote mountainous region of the northern Philippines, the film follows the story of an illiterate indigenous man who decides to go back to school. With the goal of making a better life for himself, 40-year old Agustin starts learning his ABCs.

“A is for Agustin” is Simbulan’s first full-length documentary. The film took eight years to complete as Simbulan fully immersed herself with the indigenous community where Agustin belongs.

It has been selected and nominated in several notable festivals and award-giving bodies, including QCinema International Film Festival 2019—Official Selection, FAMAS Awards 2020—Best Documentary Nominee, Gawad Urian 2020—Best Documentary Nominee, Guam International Film Festival 2020—Grand Jury Award Nominee for Best Documentary, and Udine Far East Film Festival 2021—Non-Competition Film (Documentary) Selection

This year’s Marché du Film will be held online. For this virtual film market, the screening schedule for “A is for Agustin” are Online #9 – July 7, 2021 9:00 and Online #10 – July 11, 2021 15:30“Boundary” will have its screening on these dates: Online #17 – July 8, 2021 11:00 and Online #6 – July 12, 2021 17:30.

For more information on these films and TBA Studios, visit

Critics’ Faves ‘LINGUA FRANCA’ and ‘BOUNDARY’ Now Streaming On TBA PLAY

Critics’ Faves 'LINGUA FRANCA' and ‘BOUNDARY’ Now Streaming On TBA PLAY

International premium video-on-demand service TBA Play is bringing two critically acclaimed films “Lingua Franca” (2020) and “Boundary” (2011) to cinephiles overseas starting June 18.

Lingua Franca

Get into the Pride Month Spirit by watching “Lingua Franca”—starring as well as written and directed by Isabel Sandoval, who won Best Actress for her role in the film at the 18th Pacific Meridian International Film Festival. “Lingua Franca” also won the Jury Award which is the top prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2020 Bentonville Film Festival, an American festival that highlights stories told by minority voices in entertainment, such as the LGBTQ+ community, women, and people with disabilities.

In this beguiling drama, an undocumented Filipina immigrant who’s paranoid about deportation works as a caregiver to a Russian-Jewish grandmother in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When the American man she’s secretly paying for a green card marriage backs out, she becomes involved with a slaughterhouse worker who’s unaware that she’s transgender.

“Lingua Franca” is now streaming on TBA Play in Southeast Asia. Watch it here.


One of the Philippines’ most acclaimed films of the past decade, “Boundary” stars Ronnie Lazaro and Raymond Bagatsing in a gritty story about a taxicab driver and his naive passenger’s ominous ride from the dark streets of Manila to the isolated hills of Antipolo.

Directed by Benito Bautista, “Boundary” won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2012 Guam International Film Festival and Best Film – NETPAC Award (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) at the 2011 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

“Boundary” is now streaming in more than 60 countries via TBA Play. Watch it here

TBA Play is currently available in over 60 countries, including USA, Canada, and select territories in the Middle East, and North Africa.
TBA Play is also partnered with international distribution and sales company, TVCO to bring TBA Play content to key markets in Europe.

For a full list of countries and updates on availability in other regions, and follow