Watch List (Maria)

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Philippines | 2019 | 94 minutes | Ben Rekhi

In this crime thriller out of the Philippines, a widowed mother is forced to enter Manila's dark underworld of cops, criminals, and drugs after her husband is murdered in an extrajudicial killing. 

Under current President Rodrigo Duterte, many in the Philippines have suffered the ramifications of his most draconian campaign promise: to put those involved in the drug trade behind bars, or worse... six feet under. Maria and Arturo, two reformed addicts living hand-to-mouth in one of the country's most dangerous barangays ("barrios"), are rounded up as part of a nationwide campaign to discourage drug use by offering a rehabilitation program to those who voluntarily surrender. Fearing the ramifications if they don't, the married couple complies and adds their names to the watch list of suspected users in exchange for promised government assistance. Days later, Arturo is found dead in the street, alongside a cardboard sign that reads "I'm a pusher; don't be like me." The cops have no leads as to the culprit, leaving a despondent Maria to fend for their three children as their savings rapidly dwindle. Unable to find a job and realizing she may be targeted next, Maria offers to work as a police informant in the streets she once knew so well in exchange for the protection of her family. But the lead investigator has other plans for her, forcing Maria to confront just how far she is willing to go to secure the safety of her own family...

Marcus Gorman

Director Biography
Ben Rekhi is an American director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for SXSW Audience Award Winner Waterborne, The Hidden Vote series for PBS, and The Ashram starring Oscar Winner Melissa Leo. He graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts as well as the University of Southern California with a Masters from the Peter Stark Producing Program.

  • Director: Ben Rekhi
  • Principal Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Jake Macapagal, Arthur Acuna, Jess Mendoza, Angeli Bayani
  • Premiere Status: World Premiere
  • Country: Philippines, USA
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 94 minutes
  • Producer: Erik Matti, Brenda Gilbert
  • Screenplay: Ben Rekhi, Onay Sales
  • Cinematographers: Daniella Nowitz
  • Editors: Liza Espinas
  • Music: William Ryan Fritch
  • Filmography: The Ashram (2018), Waterborne (2005)
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: XYZ Films