[Trigger warning: Mentions of suicide.]
Content moderation is privacy, free speech, and censorship colliding in a giant pit of ethical ambiguity. So if you think occasionally dealing with harassment, terrorist threats, internet trolls, and malicious hackers was already a draining task, imagine having all of that as your full-time job.
That’s exactly the life singer-actress Nadine Lustre is about to dive into. In the forthcoming techno-horror film “Deleter,” helmed by award-winning filmmaker Mikhail Red, Lustre will play a desensitized online content moderator who gets haunted by her dark past shortly after deleting her colleague’s suicide video.
The project follows her acting comeback in “Greed,” where she played a lotto winner who goes into hiding. Talk about versatility.
The film’s relevance in today’s context
“Deleter” aims to show the dark underbelly of working as an online content moderator in the Philippines—which, according to Red, is considered the content moderation capital of the world—with hopes of shedding new light on the often overlooked issues of the industry.
“[Filipino] moderators work in clandestine or shadowy operations and are often exposed to the filth of society, watching countless videos and images with disturbing and graphic content, which can lead to lasting trauma, as well as psychological and emotional distress all for a low wage,” he said in an exclusive interview with Variety.
Given the traumatizing nature of their work, the “Birdshot” director believes local moderators aren’t properly compensated. “Most of them do not have proper access to proper work benefits, mental health support and counseling. This genre film attempts to unlock the dark secrets and consequences of their world, especially in a world where the truth is filtered and distortion is prevalent.”
Besides Lustre, Louise delos Reyes and McCoy de Leon have also been tapped to star in the film. It is co-written by Red with his sibling and frequent collaborator, Nikolas, and is produced by Viva Films.
The team hasn’t confirmed a release date yet, but they’re aiming for end of year (in time for key film festivals) with location shooting expected to run from August to September.
So far, “Deleter” is looking like the film to watch out for in 2022.
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Stream Mikhail Red’s ‘Neomanila’ on YouTube now (legally, as you should)
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Photos from @nadine and @red_mikhail on Instagram