In competition ISLANDS is the first ever Filipino-language narrative feature to premiere at SXSW Filmfest (March 16-20, 2021)

By Oliver Carnay

ISLANDS is the first-ever Filipino-language narrative feature to premiere in competition at SXSW. It looks at a middle aged Filipino immigrant who begins to contemplate his future as his parents health begins to decline. Its a wonderful debut feature from Filipino Canadian filmmaker Martin Edralin, an exciting new voice in independent cinema. Martin previously directed the acclaimed short film HOLE which screened at the 2014 TIFF and 2015 Sundance Film Festival.  

Joshua, a timid, middle-aged Filipino immigrant has lived in the comfort of his parents’ home his entire life. He pleads with God to find him a wife for fear of being alone forever.  When his mother suddenly passes he quits his job to look after his father full-time. Inexperienced at taking care of anyone, including himself, Joshua struggles with his father’s care. Help arrives when a cousin visits from abroad whose warmth and nurturing breathes new life into the home and stirs confused emotions in him. ISLANDS playfully explores the Filipino diaspora experience in an offbeat story of filial duty and adult puppy love.

Martin Edralin is a Toronto-based filmmaker. His first short film, HOLE, won the Grand Prize at Clermont-Ferrand, jury prizes at Locarno and the Seattle IFF, a Canadian Screen Award, and screened at Sundance, TIFF, and BFI London. His second short, EMMA, was selected in TIFF Canada’s Top Ten and won Best Live Action Short at the Rhode Island IFF. ISLANDS is his first feature. 


Directed and Written by Martin Edralin
Produced by Martin Edralin, Priscilla Galvez
Starring Rogelio Balagtas, Sheila Lotuaco, Esteban Comilang,
Vangie Alcasid, Pablo Quiogue, Isys Szuky, Maximus Szuky

WORLD PREMIERE – 2021 SXSW Film Festival – Narrative Competition