The Catfish Film to Celebrate Nat’l Catfish Day — Marupok AF!

As the United States celebrates National Catfish Day, let us take a short review of the August 2023 film that revolves around catfishing — Marupok AF!

National Catfish Day!

Photo courtesy of National Geographic, Last of the Giants: Wild Fish Season 3, 2023.

On the 25th of June 2024, the United States of America celebrates its National Catfish Day. The festivity is aimed to celebrate the value of farm-raised catfish. However, we won’t be talking about that here! Instead, let us take a detour to the August 2023 film Marupok AF which tackles online catfishing against the LGBT community. 


Photo from Canva

The term was first introduced to the English lexicon way back in 2010, when a documentary about a man living in New York City being lured into an online relationship with a 19-year old woman who used another identity to get the man’s attention. Since then, the term catfishing has been widely used when referring to people using fake identities online to catch the attention of other individuals.

A Henares Masterpiece

Poster from Philippine Box Office

Quark Henares is known for his masterful film directions. From Wag Kang Lilingon in 2006 to his recently directed films like On the Job comes his recent exquisite film Marupok AF (Where is the Lie?) that was released last August 2023 in the 19th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

The film retells the true story of a Filipino trans woman being catfished online in a dark and comedic way. The characters were played by EJ Jallorina who played Janzen, Maris Racal who played Beanie, Royce Cabrera who played Theo, and Gabby Padilla who played Dina. 

Poster from Cultural Center of the Philippines Official Website

The story begins with Janzen Torres a trans woman who was apparently a hopeless romantic which led her to being scammed romantically in social media. The elaborate plan of catfishing was led by the sociopath bully Beanie Landridos who wanted to take revenge on the LGBT community under the grounds that she suffered bullying from the community in her early years, and was assisted by her small group of henchmen Theo Balmaceda and Dina Fontarum.

The film shows us how dangerous the online community can be, and how rampant catfishing is nowadays. Furthermore, it revealed how the LGBT community is being bullied online. The film serves as a wake-up call to us that we must be careful with whom we talk to and share information online. Moreover, this also serves as a reminder to us that our LGBT brothers and sisters are still getting a lot of hate despite the current era we are in.

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