Yesterday, different timezones met to make the mini press conference for the Cinemalaya 2021 entry “Don Filipo” possible. Hosted by TV Patrol showbiz correspondent MJ Felipe on his Youtube channel, the presscon was streamed live from Los Angeles, California with the lead actors and members of the media in the Philippines. The film’s director, US-based filmmaker Tim Muñoz, was also present and came in live from New Jersey.

MJ in California | Direk Tim in New Jersey

Passion project lang siya kasi gusto ko lang gumawa for the sake of making it para lang ma-experience ko ‘yung art of filmmaking. By chance, pinasok-pasok ko sa mga film festival, nagustuhan naman nila. Okay naman,” Direk Tim casually explained what gave birth to the film he considers a passion project.

Direk Tim, a part-time filmmaker, is proof that passion fuels success because to date, the film has already received global recognition after bagging several international awards* from India, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Spain, Singapore, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Lithuania, France, Hungary, and more. [See list of awards at the end of this article.]

He talked about finding time and squeezing in filmmaking into his schedule as he works in another industry. “Isa akong train conductor. Parang stewardess pero sa tren,” Direk shared. “Everyday, isinisiksik ko lang ‘to pagkauwi sa house tapos nag-eedit ako, nagsusulat ng script, tapos nag-susupervise ng kung anu-ano. Kapag passion mo naman, kahit mapagod ka naman, kahit puyat ka, hindi mo mapapansin ‘yan. Ginagawa ko lang siya on the side.

Pinakaproud ako kasi Pinoy eh, makuha mo ‘yung recognition ng mga kababayan mo, which Cinemalaya is a big venue for that na ma-recognize nila ‘yung work mo, proud na proud ako,” Direk Tim explained further how he feels about Don Filipo becoming part of one of the country’s prestigious film festivals. “Kapag nakapasok ka sa Cinemalaya, parang something to be proud of so happy ako!,” he added.

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What is Don Filipo about?

“Combinations ‘yan ng mga passions ko, mga favorite movies ko ay horror at LGBT-themed. Pinagsama ko sa isang movie, kumbaga,” Direk Tim enthused as he introduced his project. The passionate director is a self-confessed fan of Thai Boys Love (commonly known as BL) series.

Don Filipo was shot in Baliuag, Bulacan in February 2020 right before the country went on a lockdown. It stars newbie actors Adrian/Drei Arias and Luis Padilla.

I’m the caregiver. I’m the…how do I say it without spoiling it?,” Luis smilingly talked about his character, treading carefully not to give away too much. “Taga-Manila na pumunta sa province para humanap lang ng work not knowing na may madidiskubre sa place, sa province, at sa taong inaalagan ko.”

Drei then described his role. He shared, “Paano ko ba i-dedescribe ‘yung role ko? I don’t want to say too much because it’s going to spoil the mystery of the character. Ang masasabi ko lang, ‘yung character ko dito, sa sobrang pagmamahal niya, hindi natin alam kung kanino, may mga bagay siyang nagawang hindi katanggap-tanggap. And we’ll see about that kung may redeeming factor ba ‘yung pinortray kong character.”

The film is about a nurse who was fatefully led to a life in the province. He will be working for an old man named Don Filipo, completely oblivious to the dangers of his work and the mysteries inside the seemingly haunted mansion. His life may be put in danger.

WATCH the full trailer:

Scary yet sensual

May trust naman ako sa kanila to execute it, hindi na ako masyadong mabusisi when it comes to sexual scenes. Mabusisi lang ako sa shots pero in terms of mga actors, I trusted them to do whatever the roles required. Andun na lang ako,” Direk Tim told Random Republika and showed full confidence in his lead actors. He shared that he just went as far as giving them character backgrounds for briefing. The director gave Luis and Drei a lot of freedom to attack their daring roles. “I have very talented actors who can execute it very well. Very daring sila,” he ended.

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When asked how they prepared for the sensitive scenes, Luis had a funny anecdote to share. He said, “Funny story. Noong first day of shoot, para kaming nagulat na ‘yun na agad ang scene na ishu-shoot.” The commercial model-theater actor was amused by the fact that they shot the daring scenes on the first day he and his co-actor Drei Arias met.

The first shoot day was also the first time we met each other. It was really funny at that time. First BL namin pareho. We were awkward but at the same time we knew that once we get through the sensual scenes, madali na ‘yung iba. It was fun, it was fun. Hanggang ngayon, ‘yung scene na ‘yun natatawa pa rin ako ‘pag naaalala ko,” Luis beamed.

Drei was quick to react, “Sa akin naman po, it was not that hard kasi naging kumportable naman ako agad kay Luis.” He also revealed, “Actually, sa buong pelikula, hindi lang ako kay Luis may intimate scenes.”

Don Filipo surely has a lot of unraveling of mysteries to do. Catch it on KTX.ph (https://www.ktx.ph/category/cinemalaya-don-filipo) as it is currently streaming under the Indie Nation Category of the Cinemalaya Film Festival 2021.

FULL mediacon as streamed on MJ Felipe’s Youtube channel:

*Random note: The list of Don Filipo’s awards from all over the world

  • Uruvatti International Film Festival (Karaikkudi, India) – Best International Feature Film
  • Mabig Film Festival (Augsburg, Germany) – Best LGBT Film
  • Stockholm City Film Festival (Stockholm, Sweden) – Best LGBT Film
  • Luleå International Film Festival (Lulea, Sweden) – Best LGBT Film
  • Sweden Film Awards (Stockholm, Sweden) – Finalist for Best LGBT Film
  • Eastern Europe Film Festival – Official Selection for Best Feature Film
  • Prague International Monthly Film Festival (Prague, Czech Republic) – Official Selection for Best LGBT Film
  • Kosice International Monthly Film Festival (Kosice, Slovakia) – Winner for Best LGBT Film
  • Rameshwaram International Film Festival (Ramanathapuram, India) – Winner for Best International Feature Film
  • Vesuvius International Monthly Film Festival (Campania, Italy) – Winner for Best LGBT Feature Movie
  • Barcelona Indie Filmmakers Festival (Barcelona, Spain) – Official Selection for Feature Films
  • Golden Sparrow International Film Festival (Sirkali, India) – Winner for Best LGBT Feature Film
  • Valencia Indie Film Festival (Valencia, Spain) – Official Selection for Feature Films
  • Paris Film Festival (Paris, France) – Nominee for Best LGBTQ Film
  • Virgin Spring Cinefest (Kolkata, India) – Winner for Best LGBT Film
  • Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival (Calgary, Canada) – Official Selection for Feature Length Films 
  • Iconic Images Film Festival (Vilnius, Lithuania) – Official Selection for Horror/Thriller Films
  • Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival (Manila, Philippines) – Official Selection for the Indie Nation Full Length Section
  • UMgungundlovu Gays & Lesbians Film Festival (Pietermaritzburg,South Africa) – Official Selection for Feature Films
  • Redmoon International Film Competition (San Luis, Argentina) – Official Selection for Feature Films
  • World Film Carnival (Singapore) – Winner for Best LGBT Film (Any Length)
  • Buzz Vicious Underground Film Festival (Amazonas, Brazil) – Official Selection for Feature Films
  • Fantboi Festival de Cinema Fantastic de Sant Boi (Barcelona, Spain) – Official Selection for Feature Films
  • Boden International Film Festival (Boden, Sweden) – Finalist for Best LGBT Film
  • Alvsbyn Film Festival (Alvsbyn, Sweden) – Official Selection for LGBT Films
  • Lift-Off Online Sessions (Buckinghamshire, England) – Official Selection for Feature Films
  • Baliwood Bali – World Independent Short Film Awards (Bali, Indonesia) – Official Selection for the International Screening Selections Program
  • Argenteuil International Film Festival (Paris, France) – Winner for Best LGBT Film
  • Paris Cinema Awards (Paris, France) – Winner for Best LGBT Film
  • Paradise Film Festival (Budapest Hungary) – Honorable Mention for Best Horror Film
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