“Trese” heads to Netflix. Here’s why that matters.

“Trese” heads to Netflix. Here’s why that matters.

The Filipino graphic novel will be adapted under the helm of Jay Oliva.

Netflix Asia dropped the news that Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldismo’s “Trese” has been picked up as a series. The announcement was made in Singapore, following a breadth of other interesting animation projects due to be added to the streaming giant’s slate.

At home, the initial wave of excitement had been such a high. After all, it’s not every day that local IP tickles the fancy of Western media. It has now been three days since the announcement, and I feel like I’ve been stuck in this said high, knowing that I’ll be able to see Alexandra Trese, the graphic novel’s eponymous vigilante/mythical detective, in motion, at last no longer crutched by Baldismo’s unmatched sense of movement in illustrations.

Described as a “love letter to Philippine mythology,” the graphic novel is set to be adapted into a series. Jay Oliva, best known for his work in the recent “Batman” animated movies, serves as the series director and executive producer. The Jakarta-Singapore production studio BASE Entertainment will produce.

“Trese” heads to Netflix. Here’s why that matters.
Cover art for “Trese” volumes 1 thru 3

I’ve been avidly consuming every volume since Tan and Baldismo’s first, “Murder on Balete Drive”. The series follows Alexandra Trese, a forlorn freelance detective who aids the PNP to uncover mysterious (and often supernatural) crimes. Through this stint, Trese encounters a whole cast of mythical creatures, including the staples (kapre, tikbalang, the aswangs) and the more obscure ones like Santelmo.

I don’t see plenty of online voices that champion local comics, so it’s good that despite that, Filipino comics and graphic novels are getting some sort of traction. Jerrold Tarog who, coming from the success of “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral”, is reported to adapt “Naermyth” and to take over Erik Matti’s long-gestating “Darna” film project.

Personally, I hope more filmmakers and animators follow suit. There are many options that are easy to recommend, from the weird and hyperrealist (Gerry Alanguilan’s “Elmer”) to the contained and lived-in (Eliza Victoria and Mervin Malonzo’s “After Lambana”) and to ones that would simply make beautiful films (Mervin Malonzo’s “Tabi Po”).

With such a major attention turned to it like that of Netflix, the adaptation of “Trese”, I hope, will reignite our comic book creators’ drive to make more, and more filmmakers/animators to bring these panels into life.

“Trese” heads to Netflix. Here’s why that matters.

On another happy note, Budjette and Kajo just surpassed their project goal amount on Indiegogo. They’re currently working on a new volume called “At the Intersection of Balete Drive and 13th Street”, as part of their Occult Case series. You can back the crowdfunding campaign until November 13th. Go to the campaign by clicking this link.