MANILA – The romantic musical film “Bakwit Boys,” written and directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, will hit cinemas soon as one of the official entries of Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) 2018.
The story follows four brothers, known as “Bakwit Boys,” and their struggles after a super typhoon ravaged their community in Isabela. They went on to evacuate to their grandfather’s place, where they meet a rich city girl who discovers their musical talent and helps them reach success.
The premise was not far from Laxamana’s heart, as the tale of the siblings was 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 on Thursday.
The 31-year-old director went on to tell his personal struggles when he was still a neophyte director and musical producer, saying these also helped him shape the movie’s storyline.
“[It was during the year] 2007, [I was] 19 years old, nag-decide na akong maging director. Marami ring ups and downs. In fact, there was a point in my life na I quit. Nagturo ako sa Pampanga then ‘pag merong opportunities like Cinemalaya, papatol na naman ako. Nakapasok ako sa ‘Babagwa,’ Cinemalaya 2013,” he narrated.
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 was the reason why he featured six original songs composed by Tarlac-based musician Jhaye Cura in the movie, as well as two pop renditions by Jay-R and Kyla.
The “100 Tula Para Kay Stella” director also shared that he is comfortable with working with newbies like Vance Larena, a theater actor who plays the eldest son among the siblings.
“Mas comfortable ako working with a blank canvas, gusto ko kasi ‘yung mga pelikula ko, ang magdadala is ‘yung kuwento more than the cast,” he said.
“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 is a veteran thespian at the Philippine Stagers Foundation, shared that he relates to the story of “Bakwit Boys.”
“Ang istorya kasi ng ‘Bakwit’ ay mga unknown talaga eh, wala silang pangalan sa industriya. Nung ni-release kahapon ‘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.
“Bakwit Boys” also stars Nikko Natividad, Ryle Santiago, Mackie Empuerto, and Devon Seron.
All eight PPP entries will run in cinemas nationwide from August 15 to August 21.