BL series confronts industry abuses

photograph courtesy of gagaoolala Benz Panupun Vongjorn and Time Dhamawat Suntanaphan in new BL series.

The first Boys’ Love (BL) co-production series between Taiwan and Thailand, Call It What You Want, just premiered exclusively on Taiwan’s global streaming platform, GagaOOLala on 9 April 2021.

Directed by the Thai BL filmmaker Aam Anusorn Soisa-ngim, Call It What You Want marks the LGTBQ+ platform’s first original Thai BL series with a six-episode series featuring a cast of both Thai and Taiwanese actors.

The series follows three separate storylines. The first is about BL director James (Time Dhamawat Suntanaphan) and his clandestine romance with Ait (Benz Panupun Vongjorn), the lead actor of his new series.

Then, there is the story about Ait’s co-star, Bas (Michael Kiettisak Vatanavitsakul) who is struggling to adapt to the harsh and hidden practices of the BL industry (strict diets, rigorous fitness regimes, cosmetic surgeries, and worst of all, sexual harassment by those in command).

Finally, there is Marco (Daniel Cheng), James’ Taiwanese friend, who although heartbroken upon knowing about James and Ait eventually finds solace in Bas.

Call It What You Want is Soisa-ngim’s latest offering in the Thai BL genre after a series of impressive titles such as Present Perfect (2017), 2 Moons 2 (2019), and most recently, Present Still Perfect (2020), one of the most recognized Asian LGBTQ+ titles of that year.

The series features an extended cast of four new and upcoming Thai actors, Benz Panupun Vongjorn, Kaprao Pongkorn Wongkrittiyarat (2 Moons 2, TharnType), Michael Kiettisak Vatanavitsakul (Love Sick 2, Oxygen) and Time Dhamawat Suntanaphan (Present Still Perfect), and Taiwanese model and actor Daniel Chang.

The series draws direct inspiration from director Soisa-ngim’s past experiences in the BL industry of Thailand where one of the actors he worked with confessed to him about having been sexually abused on the set.

In this light, the series makes a bold attempt to tackle the taboo topics and the troubling occurrences of the behind-the-scenes, male-on-male sexual harassment, homophobia, and the abuse and control of actors and talents within the BL showbiz in Thailand.

Inspired by true events, Taiwan and Thailand’s first Boys’ Love series, Call It What You Want, sheds light on the darker side of the entertainment industry.

This series is the first installment in GagaOOLala’s Queer Up the Volume Project, an anthology of original queer love stories, each with its own title song and music video, aiming to portray different facets of queer life and its issues in 2021.

Last March, GagaOOLala together with Soisa-ngim released a statement condemning the toxic behind-the-camera culture of abuse and advocated for the need of promoting gay, BL, and queer stories that assured the fair and just treatment of actors and talents alike.

For Call It What You Want, GagaOOLala, thus, coined the term “#SafeBL” to underscore a movement that it hopes its BL fans will support to ensure that behind the fantasy-making, all of the actors and talents in the industry are working in an environment in which they feel safe and protected.

The first two episodes of Call It What You Want were available for free on 9 April, with a new episode every week. Visit www.gagaoolala.com. For updates, check out their Facebook (www.facebook.com/GagaOOLalaEnglish), Instagram (@gagaoolala.official) and Twitter (@gagaoolala) accounts.

mje

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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