Film directors wanting to cash in on popular music would normally lace up their films with pop tunes then compile them onto an album and sell it alongside the film.
But, film director Jason Paul Laxamana (Babagwa and 100 Tula Para Kay Stella), does the inverse.
In his new film, Bakwit Boys, which will be on the big screen next month during the weeklong Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) on Aug. 15 – 21 under the auspices of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) through the initiative of Liza Diño-Seguerra, CEO and chairman, Laxamana is featuring six songs written by a Tarlac-based songsmith, Jhaye Cura, to tell the film’s audience that music is being made not only in Metro Manila but in other parts of the country as well.
In fact, the film is about four brothers who after a typhoon ravaged their place in a community in Isabela to their grandfather’s place in Pampanga where they meet a rich city girl who discovers their musical talent and helps them reach success.
The four boys started playing gigs and earning some dough and decided to call themselves “Bakwit Boys” (a pun on the popular American boyband Backstreet Boys, but more because they are considered evacuees, known in the local jargon as “bakwit.”
The premise is close to Laxamana’s heart, inspired by his own experiences as a survivor of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
“I’m a survivor of the Pinatubo eruption and the succeeding lahar catastrophe. Dumaan din po ako, ‘yung family ko sa Pampanga, sa pag-rise from the ashes. Isa rin ‘yon sa mga inspirasyon ko kung bakit gano’n ‘yung backstory ng Bakwit Boys,” said Laxamana in a media conference.
Laxamana used to collaborate with several musicians nationwide. But because local radio stations mostly prefer Manila-based songs, sharing their music has always been a challenge.
This is why songs by Jhaye Cura are in the movie’s soundtrack, as well as two pop renditions by Jay-R and Kyla.
Laxamana also cast actors film audiences are not familiar with, like Vance Larena, a theater actor who plays the eldest son among the siblings.
Likening himself to a painter, the director said, “Mas comfortable ako working with a blank canvas, gusto ko kasi ‘yung mga pelikula ko, ang magdadala is ‘yung kuwento more than the cast.”
The director’s heart has a soft spot for struggling but competent actors.
“Kapag may mga lumalapit sa ‘kin na actors na nafu-frustrate sila kasi feeling nila magaling sila but they don’t get the break, medyo may soft spot ako para sa mga gano’n. Na-experience ko rin kasi. I struggled to be where I am now,” he revealed.
Larena, who appears in plays produced by Philippine Stagers Foundation, said he could relate to the story of Bakwit Boys.
“Ang istorya kasi ng Bakwit ay mga unknown (sila) talaga eh, wala silang pangalan sa industriya. Nung ni-release ‘yung listahan ng mga entries sa PPP tapos nakalagay ‘yung directors and cast, nung tiningnan ko medyo nanginig ako. Kasi katulad ng pakiramdam ng mga batang ‘to, wala akong pangalan pa sa industriya, at sana dumating ‘yung panahon na katulad ng mga bakwit, magkaroon din [ako] ng pangalan sa susunod na panahon,” he expressed.
The film also stars Nikko Natividad, Ryle Santiago, Mackie Empuerto, and Devon Seron.
The romantic musical is produced by T-Rex Entertainment.
Rainforest Lumina, a first in Southeast Asia
Singapore’s award-winning wildlife attraction celebrates its 45th year since it first opened in 1973 with a new, illuminated multimedia night walk on the wild side that promises a sensory feast for visitors.
Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, unveiled Rainforest Lumina—the first such seasonal event to be staged in Southeast Asia—in a special preview event.
The one-kilometer stretch within the zoo’s tropical rainforest awaken the senses as visitors walk through 11 different zones and meet the Creature Crew, a group of unlikely heroes who will take visitors on a whimsical adventure along the paths of their enchanted world.
Created by award-winning multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory and set up with careful consideration to minimize disturbance to the park’s animal collection and native wildlife, Rainforest Lumina will take visitors on an immersive journey as they encounter interactive and mesmerizing installations and uncover a side of the zoo that has never been seen before.
With the overarching theme “We are one”, Rainforest Lumina seeks to drive home the message that humans, animals and nature are inter-connected, with each having a vital role to play to sustain life on earth. The transformation of the Singapore Zoo into a magical landscape of lights and sound, coupled with the interaction with the Creature Crew, will take guests on the spellbinding journey that will spark inspiration at every turn and nurture empathy for nature and wildlife.
Opening as one of the world’s first “open-concept” zoos, the Singapore Zoo started with a modest collection of about 300 animals. Today, the Singapore Zoo welcomes 1.9 million visitors each year and is home to over 2,400 animals representing more than 300 species, of which 34 percent are threatened in the wild. The Zoo has also been successful in breeding critically endangered species and has established itself as one of the best zoos in the world, gaining worldwide recognition.
Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.
Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, said, “We have been redefining experiences and storytelling since the Singapore Zoo opened its doors to our first visitors in 1973. We observed that walking through the zoo’s rainforest setting at night awakens all your senses and we wanted to find an innovative way to allow all our guests to also enjoy this exciting experience. Rainforest Lumina is an interactive and illuminated night walk that leads visitors on a multimedia-enhanced journey designed to celebrate the wonders of the natural world.”
“It has been a great collaboration between Moment Factory and Wildlife Reserves Singapore as we developed a new, unique multimedia experience for guests at the Singapore Zoo”, said Jonathan St-Onge, general manager, Lumina Series, Moment Factory. “Rainforest Lumina is the latest addition to our Lumina series and is inspired by Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s mission and the zoo’s unique landscape. Rainforest Lumina uses interactive elements, projection mapping, lights and a soundscape to create an immersive attraction that will allow guests to rediscover the zoo at night and to reconnect with nature in a magical way.”
Carrie Kwik, executive director, Attractions, Entertainment and Tourism Concept Development for the Singapore Tourism Board said, “We are excited to support the Rainforest Lumina as part of the Singapore Zoo’s 45th anniversary. The Zoo, which has won several regional and international accolades, is an iconic attraction in the region for both visitors and Singaporeans. Its constant software enhancements play an important role in refreshing our diverse offerings and enhancing Singapore’s appeal as an attractive tourist destination with new and varied experiences to look forward to with each visit. We hope the Rainforest Lumina experience will attract even more visitors to the Zoo during this special season.”
Barclay adds, “Beyond being a multimedia attraction, the deeper message of Rainforest Lumina is a call for everyone to come together to protect and preserve the wildlife we share our planet with.”
Rainforest Lumina is a seasonal attraction that runs between 7.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. each night. More information on Rainforest Lumina can be found at www.rainforestlumina.sg