First Cut Lab Project Hayop Ka! to Become First Animated Filipino Film on Netflix

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, SEPTEMBER 21 In a surprise announcement made on Monday, September 21, the animated feature film “Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story” is set to be the first animated film from the Philippines to stream on Netflix. Directed by Filipino filmmaker Avid Liongoren, the animated romantic comedy “Hayop Ka!” will be available for streaming across Asia beginning October 29.


The animated film produced by Spring Films features a star-studded voice acting cast. Actress Angelica Panganiban voiced the eponymous Nimfa, while her love interests, Roger and Iñigo, are voiced by Robin Padilla and Sam Milby, respectively. The film also includes Empoy Marquez, Arci Muñoz, Piolo Pascual, Eugene Domingo, Yeng Constantino, Moira dela Torre, and Bb. Joyce Bernal to round out the star-studded cast. 


“Hayop Ka!” tells the love life of Nimfa, an anthropomorphic cat who works at a mall’s perfume department. Nimfa’s relationship with long-term boyfriend Roger, a macho mongrel who works as a janitor, is tested when she meets the wealthy business dog Iñigo. The trailer of “Hayop Ka!” first hit the internet in 2019 and displayed a project with plenty of jokes and humor sure to bring out smiles and laughter from its audience.


With Liongoren and producer Manny Angeles of Spring Films, “Hayop Ka!” participated in the first-ever edition of First Cut Lab Philippines, co-organized by Tatino Films and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and held last year from April 11 to April 17. In a Facebook post, Liongoren revealed, “We’ve been keeping this a secret for months!” He thanked his “core team in this journey of over three years” as well as “all the freelancers and interns who helped bring this [Hayop Ka!] to life.”


FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño congratulated “Hayop Ka!” And expressed her support to the growing local animation industry. “We are incredibly excited to hear about the selection of ‘Hayop Ka!’ as the first Philippine-animated film on Netflix. It’s a testament to the creativity and talent of the ‘Hayop Ka!’ Team, as well as to the continued advancement of Filipino animation.”


“FDCP is committed to continuing its support of local animation. ‘Hayop Ka!’ participated in last year’s edition of First Cut Lab. This year, we’ve expanded that lab to include a section focusing specifically on animated films. We look forward to more of Philippine animation being accessible to a broader audience, and will continue our support of that segment of the Philippine film industry,” she concluded.


“Hayop Ka!” was one of only two feature films in the editing stage selected in last year’s edition of First Cut Lab. With the other selection being Arden Rod Condez’s award-winning debut film “John Denver Trending,” both selections in First Cut Lab Philippines’ first edition have now made waves in the film industry. During the seven-day film lab, both projects received mentorship from successful international filmmakers Giovanni Pompili, Mmabatho Kau, Izabela Igel, and Matthieu Taponier. 


A second and expanded edition of the First Cut Lab lab is ongoing under the banner of Full Circle Lab Philippines. With this year’s expanded edition, Full Circle Lab will be supporting 20 projects from the Philippines and across Southeast Asia through a series of development labs from September 15 to 30. The expanded Full Circle Lab comprises fiction, animation, documentary, and first-cut editing labs. Due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s edition of Full Circle Lab is taking place online.


Liongoren is once again participating in the film lab with his upcoming project “Light Lost,” chosen as one of four selections in Full Circle Lab’s animation section. The project is currently in development. Alongside “Oyayi” by Mitzi Delima, “Strange Natives” by Paolo Herras, and “With You” by August Lyle Espino. The latest Liongoren project will receive mentorship from writer and script consultant Aleksandra Swierk and producer Juraj Krasnohorsky.