Streaming Truth: The Cinema of Joseph Israel Laban

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Based on a true story, Cuchera is about Filipino drug mules, drug couriers, and their recruiters. It follows the story of Isabel, a veteran drug mule, in her first attempt at running her own drug transshipment operation between Manila and China.

Isabel’s character is based on the story of an actual Filipina drug mule who was caught with eight capsules of heroin lodged in her sex organ, 48 in the rectum and 11 in her abdomen after an x-ray was conducted by Chinese authorities. Cuchera presents an accurate depiction of how some Filipinos end up becoming entrenched in the world of illegal drugs. Currently, the Philippines leads all Southeast Asian countries in the number of nationals arrested for drug smuggling charges in China.

As of February 2011, there are 79 Filipinos with death penalty cases still languishing in various jails in Chinese territories for smuggling drugs into the country. All in all, there are 691 Filipinos worldwide incarcerated for the same crime. Violators include women and minors who enter China with fake passports.

Awards & Festivals:

Cleveland International Film Festival 2012

Festival International de Films de Fribourg 2012

Stockholm International Film Festival 2012

Toronto International Film Festival 2012

Belgrade International Film Festival 2012

Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2011

  • Year
  • Runtime
    87 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
    Joseph Israel Laban
  • Screenwriter
    Joseph Israel Laban
  • Executive Producer
    Joseph Israel Laban
  • Filmmaker
    Joseph Israel Laban
  • Cast
    Maria Isabel Lopez, Isadora, Simon Ibarra, CJ Ramos, Jonathan Neri, Kimmy Maclang, Derick Cabrido, Paolo Rivero, Sue Prado, Sigird Andrea bernardo, Issa Bernal, Richard Collo, Eric Dao, Ernie Dao
  • Cinematographer
    Luis Liwanag
  • Editor
    Piah Luna
  • Production Design
    Nestor Abrogena
  • Sound Design
    Raffy Magsaysay
  • Music
    Diwa de Leon