How to Die Young in Manila

How to Die Young in Manila
2020 / The Philippines / 11.35 minutes / dir. Petersen Vargas


A teenage boy follows a group of young hustlers when he sees them on the street, thinking one of them may be the anonymous hook-up he has arranged to meet for the night. As he anxiously finds a way to get closer, each of the other boys inexplicably turn up as dead bodies strewn in pavements, until only one of them is left. Nobody else seems to notice these strange occurrences, which may be the work of a phantom killer, whose motivations and methods are invisible even as the violent effects have become plainly part of the city’s decor, or perhaps the unwitting power-wielding of a boy who must constantly quash extraneous individuals in order to make a connection with his desire.


Petersen Vargas is an alumnus of the University of the Philippines Film Institute and Asian Film Academy. His films tackle Filipino youth through a queer and regional lens. His short “Geography Lessons” (2014) won Best Direction at Cinemalaya. His feature debut “2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten” (2016) won the Audience Award at the Torino LGBTQI Film Festival. He is developing his second feature titled “Some Nights I Feel Like Walking”. He lives in Quezon City with his cat, Wong Kat Wai.
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