Critically Acclaimed Film Cleaners Coming to Streaming Platforms

Cleaners is the debut feature film of award-winning Filipino filmmaker Glenn Barit. After a fruitful international and local festival tour, Cleaners will finally be available worldwide on streaming platforms - KTX, Upstream, and Spamflix, starting September 18, 2021.

Cleaners Trailers

Created Using Photocopied and Highlighted Stills

Director Glenn Barit created Cleaners by photocopying 43,000 frames and coloring them with highlighters. 

Photo by Glenn Barit.
Photo by Glenn Barit.
Photo by Glenn Barit.

The film received a grant from the 2019 QCinema International Film Festival, where it competed in the Asian New Wave Category and was awarded Best Film, Best Screenplay and Audience Choice Award. It also received Best First Feature and Best Sound and Aural Orchestration awards from the 30th Youth Critics Circle (YCC) Film Desk, and nominations from Gawad Urian 2020. Also, it garnered last year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino’s Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Special Citation for Ensemble Performance, Best in Production Design, and Best in Musical Score.

Director Glenn Barit and His Team Working on the Photocopied Frames

Photo by Glenn Barit.
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Photo by Glenn Barit.
Photo by Glenn Barit.
Photo by Glenn Barit.

The film also had a successful international festival tour, where it was shown at the Busan International Film Festival in Korea, Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan, and Torino Film Festival in Italy to name a few. 

Cleaners Plot

Cleaners is a coming-of-age anthology film about high school student cleaners from a rural Catholic school in 2008. These students struggle with different societal pressures of being clean, proper, and pure while they discover that the world is dirty and superficial to begin with. The stories range from the taboo of pooping in school to navigating local political dynasties.

"The film looks like a high school project," says film director Glenn Barit. "I wanted to create a film that strikes as visually organic in respect to the time and serve as a tribute piece for textbooks, manila papers, highlighters and pens before the dominance of the internet."

The form of the film also challenged the conventional clean, glossy and crisp digital pixels of modern digital films. "It's a statement about how 'imperfect' cinema can be something of equal value," he adds.

'We preferred an old, clunky photocopier'

For this film’s printed frames, Barit wanted to achieve the kind of grittiness and coarseness you get from an old photocopier.

The post-production team even sought the ugliest copier it could find. “Since this is also a period film, we preferred an old, clunky photocopier because it will be more faithful to the actual texture of photocopied materials that time,” Barit told Esquire Philippines.

“I actually went to different photocopier shops just to test the textures. I remember asking one of them to input the pinaka-panget setting just to achieve the texture I had in mind.”

The photocopied look of Cleaners also symbolizes the repetitive products of a machine. Like new students entering the school system, their struggles will continue to persist as long as the material conditions do not change.

Famous film website Letterboxd announced Cleaners as Top 1, along with Dwein Baltazar’s Oda Sa Wala, in the Top 25 Films of 2021 among the highest narrative feature films on site.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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