With a number of hit films under his belt, film director Chris Martinez' latest work stars Marco Gumabao in a touching tale of acceptance between a closeted son and his traditionally macho father.
Since being released on Monday, the film has already touched millions, but viewers won't be able to catch it in theaters – it's online.
Produced for iconic lifestyle brand Bench, Martinez, who has directed his share of successful films, shared his thoughts on first being approached for "Amoy Kita", saying, "The first time I saw the [story]board, I felt its relevance to our times. I wanted to infuse it with tenderness all throughout and a lot of care--because it is never easy--coming out, especially between fathers and sons."
The "tender" approach resulted in a beautiful film, depicting what could have been an awkward situation with finesse and dignity. It has gone viral since being posted on the Bench Facebook page on Monday, achieving over 3 million views within 24 hours.
"The response has been overwhelmingly positive," said Martinez. "It is a feel-good film. Maybe that's also the reason why a lot of viewers tagged a lot of people and shared the video among their families and friends…It's heart-tugging, and it's a feeling you want people close to you to experience, too."
Online feedback for the new film has been nothing less than ecstatic, with netizens praising the video through comments, shares, and reaction videos. Some have even going so far as to share their own emotional coming out stories.
"The best response really, is when you see your friends and the public sharing the videos and tagging other people. It's phenomenal," said Martinez.
"Amoy Kita" is the latest addition to Bench's successful slate of ongoing digital initiatives with advertising agency TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno, a partnership that produced last year's Webby Award-winning, "Feels" featuring Mark Bustos.
For his part, Martinez is justifiably proud of Amoy Kita's positive social message with regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) acceptance starting in the home.
"Let's face it, we still live in a macho-dominated and patriarchal world. If we don't then we wouldn't need to tell stories like this. In giving directions, I had to strike that balance between comedy and drama and make sure that what the actors are giving me are real, pure and felt," he said.
Going by the online reactions and ongoing momentum of the film, Martinez and his team have succeeded beautifully.
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