Tombstone Pillow Gets Nominated for Best Short Film, Best Actress and Best Director at the New York City International Film Festival

The Advocacy film Tombstone Pillow shot in the Philippines has been nominated for three categories by the NYCIFF Foundation with Festival Director Roberto Rizzo. The film was nominated for Best Short Film, Best Actress and Best Director.

The New York City International Film Festival has a good reputation and is one of the most respected events of the film festival year. New York City International Film Festival was formed to bring the best of the world’s cinematography to new York City.

Filmmakers who get added and discovered by the New York City International Film Festival gets to showcase their film in New York City, the center for the film industry and the best city in the world. Films who make it at the NYCIFF gather support and proper exposure so they could take things to the next level by offering improved and well-supported film distribution.

The Founder of NYCIFF Mr. Roberto Rizzo is a professional filmmaker who started his film making career back in 2010. He openly expressed his support and admiration for the Tombstone Pillow film.


Congratulations! I’m very impressed! you told a sad story in 11 minutes with such subtlety very well directed, editing. It really touched me! Your movie is very well done and touches your sensibility seen all those people living in a cemetery!” -Roberto Rizzo, Film Festival Director

About the Film

Tombstone Pillow an advocacy film shot in a cemetery located in the Philippines where 6,000 people live. A heartless heiress is forced on the run with a poor graveyard girl who teaches her life’s real riches.

“The idea for “Tombstone Pillow” first came about during a trip to the Philippines and visiting the Manila cemetery where actual families live amongst the tombs.  The reality of life in the cemetery shocked Directors Daniel and Bayou so much, they couldn’t get the world and imagery out of their minds.  They told their dear friend, writer, and filmmaker, Fraser Scott about it and he decided to hop on board to create a story that would be unforgettable while acting as a vehicle to raise awareness and help the community who lives there.”  – Daniel

Timeless Entertainment Inc. Producer Lourdes Duque Baron together with Dream Team Directors Daniel Lir & Bayou Bennett, Cinematographer Mycko David and Writer Fraser Scott shot the film in haphazard shanties, top of graves and mausoleums in the Manila North Cemetery in the Philippines.

“Tombstone Pillow” cast includes Lourdes Duque Baron, Kendra Sison De Mesa, Ian Taylor Ignacio, Akram Al Hamandi Yesmine Cedric Escobar and “The Young Great Profile” Blake Salcedo grandson of the legendary Leopoldo Salcedo. Hagay Mizrahi is in charge of the Music. He is from Gemini Muziq and a top music producer who has worked with notable artists like Justin Bieber, Mario, Jason Derulo, Snoop Dogg, and Christina Milan.

Tombstone Pillow was filmed over three days by multi-award-winning directors Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir, with the cinematographer and production services team that made the Oscar entry for the Philippines in 2018. Many of the extras in the film are the people who still live in the cemetery today. ​

Tombstone Pillow premiered in the Oscar-qualifying film festival LA Shorts, the longest-running short film festival in the world which has produced 11 Oscar winners and 33 Oscar nominees. It is a finalist in the Asian Cinematography Awards and an Official Selection for New York City International Film Festival.​

Directed by Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir
Produced by Timeless Entertainment
Starring: Lourdes Duque Baron and Kendra Sison De Mesa
Screenplay by: Fraser Kee Scott
Director of Photography: Mycko David
Editor: Bella Jones
Music: Hagay Mizrahi
Production Design: Marielle Hizon

Together with the help of Media PR Relations Maria Urduja Osit Li , Kali Alaia and Timeless Entertainment Inc., team Manager Nina Ortencio with Rorie Baron and Jong Tabtab.

Film Advocacy:

Tombstone Pillow was shot exclusively in one of the largest cemeteries in Manila, the Philippines.

The slums in Manila are so overcrowded and in such bad condition that 6,000 people decided rather than live in the slums they will live among the dead. The cemetery dwellers sleep, eat, go to school and perform all of the other functions of living in and around tombs – they literally use tombstones for pillows.

The cemetery has no running water or trash collection system and is plagued by cockroaches so hygiene is a major problem and disease rampant. The only electricity in the cemetery is used illegally so when night falls there are no street lights, and the entire cemetery is cloaked in darkness, making sleeping there terrifying.​

While the living conditions are appalling, the families have created a community in the graveyard – children play cricket, loud music blares and various foods and sweets are sold to the children who run playfully through the graveyard.

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