Give Up Tomorrow

In a murder case that ends a country's use of capital punishment but fails to free an innocent man, Give Up Tomorrow exposes a Kafkaesque world of corruption and injustice.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
96 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


Winner of 18 international awards, the Emmy® Award nominated Give Up Tomorrow shines a light on a nation's incomplete journey toward democracy. In a murder case that ends a country's use of capital punishment yet fails to free an innocent man, Give Up Tomorrow exposes a Kafkaesque world of corruption and injustice.

Featured review

Succeeds as a family drama and as a riveting cautionary tale of a flawed and juryless justice system. It stands out among human rights documentaries for its exceptional pacing and attention to detail.
Joan Pedzich
Library Journal


As a tropical storm beats down on an island in the Philippines, two sisters leave work and never make it home...

Simultaneously a murder-mystery and an exposè of endemic corruption today, Give Up Tomorrow looks intimately at the case of Paco Larrañaga, a student accused of killing two sisters on the provincial island of Cebu. In a way that is both specific to the country and disquietingly universal, the film exposes a Kafkaesque extravaganza populated by flamboyantly crooked public officials, cops on the take, and a frenzied legal and media circus. Give Up Tomorrow is also an intimate family drama focused on the near mythic struggle of two angry, sorrowful mothers who have dedicated more than a decade to executing or saving one young man. Their irreconcilable versions of justice play out in a controversial case, dubbed "The Trial of the Century", that ends a country's use of capital punishment, yet fails to free an innocent man.

Give Up Tomorrow is an Emmy® Award nominated documentary for Outstanding Investigative Journalism and a finalist for the Puma Impact Award.


A deeply moving and troubling film and an effective educational tool. The film provokes critical thought and compels viewers to examine how key social institutions--the courts, the media--have functioned and how they can go wrong. Useful to journalism students, law students, narrative and documentary reporting, and social science students.
Sheila S. Coronel
Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
A great story, expertly told. While I showed my students many documentaries, never have I seen them as galvanized and passionate as they were when I showed them Give Up Tomorrow. A harrowing and infuriating tale of corruption, incompetence and injustice on an incredible scale.
Seth Shire
Sociology Department, CUNY Queens College
Jaw-dropping...Hard to turn away from...The miscarriage of justice recounted in Give Up Tomorrow, filmed over six years, is so comprehensive as to be disorienting....Leaves one itching to understand more about the bigger picture and the political and social connections involved.
The New York Times
The New York Times
A disturbing documentary...A broken criminal justice system is not just a problem that developing countries or nondemocratic countries face. [The United States is] the largest incarcerator in the world, with less than 5 percent of the world's population but almost 25 percent of the world's prisoners.
American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
A perfect storm of cronyism, tabloid journalism, public prejudice and corruption that could have happened anywhere...Docus about abuses of justice abound, but few present complicated events in so concrete, linear and compelling a fashion.
This film about a man who never stops believing, his courageous family and the unfortunate power of corruption at its worst is a must see...Give Up Tomorrow rings sadly true for me right here in the U.S. of A and touches so close to home that I'm at a loss for words.
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
As well-paced and engrossing as any thriller while incalculably more harrowing...An incredible story, beautifully and persuasively told.
The Guardian
The Guardian
Documentary films are quickly becoming the voice of activists. This is one of the must sees. Made with passion and love for justice.
Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono

Awards and Screenings

Emmy-Nominated, Best Long Form Investigative Journalism
Heineken Audience Award, Tribeca Film Festival
Best New Documentary Director, Special Jury Prize, Tribeca Film Festival
Audience Award, Sheffield Doc/Fest
Nominated for Amnesty International’s Media Awards
PUMA Impact Award Finalist
Activism Jury Award, Traverse City Film Festival
Audience Award, Antenna Sydney Film Festival
Audience Award, Valencia Human Rights Film Festival
Best Documentary, Anchorage International Film Festival
Human Rights Award, Docs Barcelona Film Festival
Editing Award, Salem Film Fest
Audience Award, Movies That Matter Festival, The Hague
Audience Award, San Sebastian Human Rights Festival
Human Rights Award, L.A. Asian Pacific Festival
Audience Award, L.A. Asian Pacific Festival
Human Rights Award, Galway Film Fleadh
Special Jury Award, DMZ Korean Film Festival

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • DVD Extras
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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