Vancouver filmmaker focuses on storm’s aftermath in Philippines

Climate change and ‘voluntourists’ collide in docu-dramedy When the Storm Fades

When the Storm Fades stars members of the Pablos family as they reenact moments from their own lives after Typhoon Yolanda destroyed their home and killed their loved ones.

Even by typhoon standards, Yolanda was a monster.

By the time Typhoon Yolanda made landfall on the Filipino island of Leyte at 4:40 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2013, its winds were clocking in at 315 kilometres per hour. The storm surge that followed devastated the coastal city of Tacloban. Thousands drowned in their homes and in evacuation centres; thousands more were swept out to sea.

Yolanda was stronger than Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy combined. Its death toll — still undetermined five years later — is believed to be upwards of 10,000.

Immediately after the storm, international news crews arrived in Tacloban and trained their cameras on the flattened, debris-strewn neighbourhoods and traumatized survivors.

Filmmaker Sean Devlin watched the typhoon coverage from his home in Vancouver. His mother was born and raised on the island of Leyte — both of his parents worked in international development. Devlin knew that one day soon the international news crews would leave, and the arduous process of healing — and navigating corruption and exploitation — would begin in earnest.