Joseph Israel Laban is an award-winning Filipino journalist  and independent filmmaker. He worked for the Philippine television programs The Probe Team, Front Row and Reporter's Notebook of GMA News and Public Affairs. He directed the short film Antipo and the full-length feature film Cuchera.
Laban produced the documentary Batang Kalakal  which was awarded with the Gold World Medal for Best Human Interest Story by the 2008 New York Festivals for Television, a Silver Screen Award at the 2008 US International Film and Video Festival  and an Ani ng Dangal Award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). He also directed and produced the documentary "Bente Dos" (Twenty-Two ) which won the Silver World Medal (Profiles) at the 2012 New York Festivals for Television  and a citation as Best Documentary at the 2011 PopDev Television Awards. Laban was also the Head Writer of "Mga Yaman sa Basura" (Child Urban Miner) which won a Silver World Medal at NYF (Social Issues) and a the sole Finalist from the Philippines for the 2012 UNICEF Child Rights Awards.
His short film Antipo, about a young man who seeks absolution and forgiveness through the ancient tradition of "antipo" or self-flagellation, was an Official Selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner.
Cuchera was Laban's first feature film. It deals with the grim fate of low-rent drug mules and their recruiters. The film was a Finalist at the 7th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival  and it had its International Premiere at the Discovery Section of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It was also screened at the Stockholm International Film Festival (Main Competition), Cleveland International Film Festival, Belgrade International Film Festival and Fribourg International Film Festival.
TIFF film programmer Steve Gravestock described it as "One of the most shocking debuts in recent Filipino cinema... Cuchera may turn out to be a watershed in Filipino film history — directly linking the melodramatic ferocity of the politically charged works of veteran directors like Joel Lamangan and Carlos Siguion-Reyna with the more intimate style of what some have dubbed the Filipino New Wave." 
As a Fellow of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) in 2007, Laban was also a contributing writer of the book Wrong Against Rights: Impunity Across Southeast Asia, where he wrote about the challenges faced by the fledgling East Timor press and the country’s quest to find justice to human rights violations under the 25 years of Indonesian occupation.
Laban obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines at Diliman. He also attended New York University on a Fulbright Scholarship for his Master’s degree in Journalism with a concentration in News and Documentary.