MANILA -- From his debut single "Gayuma," Raymond Abracosa, better known as Abra, is now making waves in the local movie scene with "Respeto," an official entry to Cinemalaya 2017.
The part rap film, part social commentary was named best picture of the indie festival, and is now getting a wider commercial release beginning September 20.
Directed by Treb Monteras II, "Respeto" tells the story of an amateur rapper and a veteran poet whose paths cross after a stand-off between the authorities and illegal settlers.
It was up against some big names in the independent filmmaking world, so Abra, in an interview during a special screening, admitted that he and his castmates were surprised to win.
"Kahit wala naman iyong prize ng Best Picture ay parang panalo na 'iyong film. So plus, plus, plus talaga iyong feeling ng kasiyahan ko. ...Sobrang blessed talaga ng feeling namin regardless kung may award or wala," he explained.
Asked if he will be Doing future acting projects, Abra replied:
"Miss na miss ko na din kasi mag-music. Baka mag-dwell muna ako sa music world pero kapag may [offer] na magandang concept game tayo diyan."
Aside from the Cinemalaya recognition, Abra said he is also thankful for the positive reviews he has been receiving from regular Filipino moviegoers.
"Grabe! Pagbukas ko ng social media ko ay umaapaw at nakakagaan ng loob. Hindi ko po expected na gusto pa nila ulitin at i-share pa talaga nila kaya nakakataba ng puso," he shared.
Abra believes that the movie is proving itself to be timely with its grim portrayal of the Philippines enduring an endless cycle of violence, claiming that it will be a hit with millennials.
"Ang kuwento ng respeto parang makikita mo iyong kabuuan ng sitwasyon ng Pilipinas sa kasalukuyan," he said.
"Bukod sa surface na rap movie siya, iyong depth ng film is malalim talaga at may kinalaman pa sa history ng art.
"May contrast din sa kung paano nag re-reflect ang past at iyong present na same pero iba. Parang balagtasan and rap na nandoon din iyong contrast kaya talagang dapat panuorin kasi ako mismo na impress sa daloy ng story."