Quark Henares' 'Rakenrol' marks 10th year with Netflix debut

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Feb 05 2021 02:02 PM

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MANILA -- “Time capsule.” That, briefly, is how director Quark Henares would best describe his decade-old film, “Rakenrol,” a coming-of-age rock comedy that is now streaming on Netflix.

“It's just a document of all the wonderful things that defined our lives then,” Henares told ABS-CBN News.

A decade ago, “Rakenrol” debuted on the big screen in May 2011. Henares also wrote the script of the film, with Sandwich guitarist Diego Castillo.

For Henares, there is no better time than now, to stream “Rakenrol” on Netflix. “Mayric's, NU107, Mag:Net, Mei Day, Admit One at Saguijo, they're all gone,” the director sighed. “And watching the ending now of ‘Rakenrol’ is even more bittersweet.

“Because just like the Hapipaks members, many people in the band scene have moved on to day jobs and families and the real world. But it's nice to look at this and remember that we had this once, in our lives.”

Given a chance to rework “Rakenrol” and change anything for the better, Henares easily agreed. “You know, I thought about that over the years, and yes there are many regrets. I wish the sound recording and mixing was better. I wish I was maybe a bit more ruthless in cutting things out,” he said.

However, after all is said and done, the way the film was made was a “time capsule” in and of itself, as well. “So even though some things make me cringe, I actually appreciate that feeling,” admitted Henares. “That was us, 2005-2010. Not many people are lucky enough to have a document like that.”

Many were thrilled when it was announced that “Rakenrol” would be streamed on Netflix starting February 4.

“To be completely honest, I chased Netflix on this,” Henares confessed. “For four years I’d been having good relationships with them for Globe Studios. We put the first Filipino film available on the platform internationally [Mikhail Red’s ‘Birdshot’) and did the first Pinoy original [Red’s ‘Dead Kids’]. Of course, almost all our films are on Netflix.

When “Rakenrol” was uploaded on Upstream a few months ago, Henares was happy to see that people were looking for his film and wanted it more readily available. Upstream was the streaming platform used for the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival entries last December.

“In not so many words, kinulit ko na lang sila [ang Netflix],” he said.

Of all the films that he directed, Henares has ownership on “Rakenrol.” It’s also one of the “most personal ones” for him.

“It’s the 10th anniversary of ‘Rakenrol,’ so I thought it was a great opportunity to have it on the platform,” Henares said. “I’d really love to see ‘Keka’ on Netflix. Hi, Viva! That’s the other one that’s close to my heart.”

“Rakenrol” has so many good – and even bad – memories for Henares. “’Rakenrol’ was actually the one production I've worked on most fraught with problems, mostly external,” he said.

“One time, the whole crew got food poisoning. We worked on a cut for a whole year and the edit got erased! Malas talaga. But it also had the most happy memories. Even just working with Diego in his new apartment, just writing for weeks on end, was a great experience.

“While writing that Irene and Odie confrontation scene, we both started crying. And I remember we celebrated at the brand new Old Spaghetti House right after finishing our first draft.”

The cast of “Rakenrol” has undeniably maintained their closeness up to this day, 10 years after they first worked together. From Jason Abalos and Glaiza de Castro, who played the leads Odie and Irene, to Diether Ocampo, Ketchup Eusebio, Alwyn Uytingco, the cast maintained that special bond even with the people behind the scene. 

“Everyone was truly, truly amazing,” Henares said. “I love them so much and we're close to this day. I think now's the best time to announce that we're actually having an FB live reunion on Tuesday [February 9]. Just to celebrate 10 years and the Netflix release.”

Henares insists his cast is “completely not of showbiz,” despite being showbiz kids. “That is the biggest compliment I can give the cast. Ketchup, I'd always been a fan of. He was great in [Ato Bautista’s] ‘Sa Aking Pagkakagising Mula sa Kamulatan’ (2005). I'd wanted to work with him ever since.

“Alwyn was just so lovable in his audition and I'm not sure if he was close to the rest when the movie started, but he is now. Jason was also someone I'd been eyeing because of his beautiful performance in [Jade Castro’s] ‘Endo’ (2007).

“And Glaiza de Castro, grabe that girl. In many ways, I consider her my little sister because I've really watched her grow into this amazing human being over the years. I remember her hinting to people that she wanted the role of Irene and she was quite unknown then.”

Henares and his production executives were even thinking of enlisting the services of Anne Curtis or Heart Evangelista, for the female lead of Irene in “Rakenrol.”

“But then, Glaiza auditioned,” Henares recalled. “I remember telling everyone who auditioned, ‘Can you please sing something na medyo rock like Alanis or Paramore?’ Because everyone kept singing Alicia Keys or Beyonce. Glaiza was the last who auditioned and she asked, ‘Is it okay if I sing Velvet Underground?’ I knew at that moment that we had Irene.”

“Rakenrol” boasts a 10-song, now iconic soundtrack curated by Henares and Castillo, who are both musicians themselves. The selections include the likes of Urbandub (“Gone”), Pupil (“Disconnection Notice”) and Up Dharma Down (“Oo”).

“I really love ‘Baka Kailangan’ because Mikey [Amistoso] just hit it home,” Henares said. “We didn't have that last song and when I heard it, I was bowled over.

“But of course, ‘Sinong Ginawa Ito’ has always been a laugh-out-loud favorite. We couldn't even sing it straight without snickering. Diether really brought Jacci Rocha to life.”

“Sinong Ginawa Ito” was written by Henares, while Amistoso created the chorus. The title of the song was an inspiration given by NU 107’s former station manager, Ron Titular, who grew up in the US and had a hard time speaking straight Tagalog.

Henares latest film production, Dado Dayao’s “Midnight In a Perfect World,” is now streaming on Upstream,ph. He also hosts a podcast, “Endslate,” with Ramon de Veyra and Mel Lozano Alcaraz.

“We talk about all things pop culture,” Henares said.

His band, Us-2 Evil-0, just released a new single, “Karaoke Machine,” now available on Spotify.

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