Dark election stories remembered amid Marian Rivera’s Cinemalaya film teaser

July 11, 2024 - 4:48 PM
Still from Marian Rivera's "Balota" film. (GMA)

A 15-second teaser of Marian Rivera’s first Cinemalaya Film Festival movie “Balota” has got people talking.

Directed by Kip Oebanda, the story follows Emmy, a teacher who secured the last copy of the election results when violence erupted between two mayoral candidates in a small town.

The first trailer released garnered over 2.7 million views and 19,000 likes on X (formerly Twitter), and numerous comments raving about the premise.

While some gushed over the actress’ move to go indie, other Filipinos online harkened back to dark stories of past elections in the country.

One of them is the ballot snatching incident in Mabini, Batangas in 1995.

The story made headlines years following the incident after it was featured on ABS-CBN’s “Bayani” and GMA Network’s “Case Unclosed”. Filomena Tatlonghari who was killed amid the violence was never given justice.

Meanwhile, a Pinoy X user made a case for the importance of movies like “Balota”.

“Read comments on the teaser that the portrayal might be too OA daw considering the elections don’t seem to be harsh naman in the country,” he said.

“Y’all don’t know what teachers in the provinces go through when polls close. I remember reading an article a few years back about teachers who were literally threatened with guns while they were finishing up their respective centers [because] ganito kadumi ang pulitika sa Pilipinas,” the user continued.

Likewise, another X user shared a more personal note to the discourse, as a son of a school teacher.

Historically, the country has seen election-related violence such as harassment and killings.

Most recently, during the 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) put 365 barangays nationwide under “red category” for cause of concerns.

While they reported 19 killed and investigated 113 cases of violence, the poll body deemed the election “generally peaceful” relative to past elections.

Rooting for Marian

Meanwhile, Fans have expressed support for the Kapuso actress for her daring role.

“After Rewind, Marian Rivera doing a film for Cinemalaya is a power move. May blockbuster na siya, kailangan niya na din ng pelikula na political,” wrote a Filipino social media user.

“Nakuha niya na yung casual film-goers, this film I think is to attract the cinephiles. I hope she succeeds,” he continued.

Another user expressed expectations on acting chops that Marian will show off.

Marian previously shared some behind-the-scenes of the production.


Along with husband Dingdong Dantes, Marian was recently given the “Bida ng Takilya” award at the 72nd Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards (FAMAS) for the hit movie “Rewind”.

“Balota” will screen from August 2 to 11 during the 20th Cinemalaya Film Festival run.