Ex-TV writer combines BL & horror in film
MANILA, Philippines — Former ABS-CBN writer Tim Muñoz (photo) has combined his two passions horror and boys’ love (BL) in the film he produced and directed, Don Filipo.
The now Washington, D.C.-based Tim considers this as his directorial debut and is proud that it made its Philippine premiere via the Cinemalaya film festival. “It’s a combination of all my passions in cinema. My favorites are horror and LGBT-themed,” Tim said in a virtual interview.
Why he wanted the film to be “scary but sensual,” he said, “Di ba uso ngayon, BL na mga pa-cute, kaya naisip ko, let’s put it in a horror setting with BL on the side. Gusto ko lang maiba ang timpla from what we always experience and watch.”
He’s a big fan of the Thai BL genre and when it comes to horror, he loves James Wan’s films, such as Annabelle and The Conjuring, as well as Filipino horror classics Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara and Feng Shui. “I look at their techniques, like paano sila manggulat at mantakot, so more or less nalagay ko rin yung mga elements dito sa Don Filipo.”
In Don Filipo, as per synopsis, a remote village is gripped with fear after its residents go missing one by one. A young nurse is in town to care for an ailing Don Filipo. Will he be the next victim? The cast is led by newcomers Luis Padilla and Adrian Arias.
The film has received the Best LGBT Film award from three international festivals: the Stockholm City Film Festival (Sweden), the Luleå International Film Festival (Sweden), and the Mabig Film Festival (Germany). It was also named Best International Feature Film at the Uruvatti International Film Festival (India).
Tim said, “I didn’t plan on entering it in film festivals. It’s a passion project. I just want to make it for the sake of making it so I can experience the art of filmmaking. By chance, pinasok-pasok sa mga festivals, nagustuhan nila…but I’m proudest (of Cinemalaya) because it’s Pinoy. If you get the recognition of your kababayan, and Cinemalaya is the big venue for that, to recognize your work, proud na proud ako.”
Don Filipo was shot in Baliuag, Bulacan last February 2020 just before lockdown, with post-production done in the US.
Asked about the film’s message, Tim said, “Meron pa ring stigma ng LGBT. Kahit masasabing open na tayo sa LGBT community, medyo macho pa rin ang culture natin sa Pilipinas eh. Medyo hindi masyado ma-accept… na ang love pumapasok siya sa iba-ibang ways. Love happens but you don’t expect it, laging may challenges pero dapat ma-accept lang. Hope it also opens awareness about its message of inclusivity.”
What are his thoughts on the LGBT representation in Filipino films? “Ang tingin pa rin ng Pinoy, andun pa tayo sa stage ng Vice Ganda comedy. Ang mga LGBT sa Philippines, parang ano pa rin sila, pang-comedy? Kung gusto mo matawa, magpapatawa ang mga bakla sa’yo, but there’s more to that. Ang daming aspects ng LGBT culture and personality na pwede pang i-explore sa cinema…
“Gusto ko lang makuha yung level na pare-pareho naman tayong tao, nagwo-work, we need to have the same respect, hindi kami laging patawa lang, hindi kami laughingstock lang. We have our own feelings and stories to tell, marami pa kaming pwedeng ilahad sa Philippine community and culture.”
Tim currently works as an Amtrak conductor in the US, but continues to find ways to pursue his filmmaking passion. “Every day, isinisiksik ko lang ‘to pagkauwi sa house tapos nage-edit ako, nagsusulat ng script, tapos nagsu-supervise ng kung anu-ano. Kapag passion mo naman, kahit mapagod ka naman, kahit puyat ka, hindi mo mapapansin.”
Tim was a scriptwriter and director at ABS-CBN for 15 years before migrating to the US close to a decade ago. He started out being drawn to the works of Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and proponents of the French New Wave. His love for film eventually led him to take courses at the New York Film Academy and Mowelfund, plus studying tons of filmmaking books and watching more films. He bought his own camera because as a filmmaker, he believes he has to know all aspects, from operating a camera to writing a script.
“It’s your passion ba, kahit hindi ka nag-aral sa isang malaking university tungkol sa film, like ang background ko is biology at UP, I’m not Masscom, so self-study, and then absorbing a lot of things that can help you later on. Na-accumulate lahat then ito ang output.”
Don Filipo is under the Indie Nation section of the Cinemalaya alongside Joel Lamangan’s Lockdown, Lawrence Fajardo’s Kintsugi and Arlyn Dela Cruz’s ECQ Diary. The 17th edition of Cinemalaya is available via KTX.ph until today, Sept. 5.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com