Director Jason Paul Laxamana on what will surprise people on PPP 2018 entry Bakwit Boys

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Jason Paul Laxamana’s very first musical film, Bakwit Boys, will hit cinemas on August 15 as one of the official entries to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2018. The film follows four brothers who are forced to leave their hometown after it is devastated by a supertyphoon. As they struggle to bring music back into their lives, they meet a city girl who discovers their talent and wants to help them succeed.

[L-R] Sean Oliver, Mark Oblea, Vance Larena, Devon Seron, Jason Paul Laxamana and Jhaye Cura

At a press conference, we got to interview director Jason Paul Laxamana and composer Jhaye Cura where we talked about the inspiration and process behind the movie and the music. Check out the full interview below:

What was the inspiration behind ‘Bakwit Boys’?

Jason Paul Laxamana: Survivor ako ng Pinatubo eruption, as a resident of Pampanga. So, nawitness ko kung paano – hindi lang magkakapatid – buong bayan namin, buong province, how it rose up from the ashes. So, nainspire ako sa stage na yun nang life ng probinsya namin. Second, I’m really active sa pakikipag-collaborate tsaka pagtulong sa aspiring musicians na gustong maabot yung pangarap nila. So this film is sort of like my tribute to that phase in my life.

Why did you choose to collaborate with Jhaye Cura?

Jason Paul Laxamana: Matagal na kami, we go a long way, siguro ten years ago. I first discovered their band because they used to make Kapampangan covers of popular songs… pero natuwa lang ako. Pero, aside from the novelty of that, I really saw na ang galing nila: ang galing ng voice niya; tapos yung ka-duet niya: ang ganda, ang galing. I just contacted her sa YouTube minessage ko to collaborate on certain Kapampangan songs – and we just made songs, walang kinalaman yung trabaho, walang pera, truly sa passion. So, ngayon nandito na ako sa film industry parang gusto ko naman na dalhin siya dito, sa world na ito. I really believe she deserves to be heard.

What made you decide to work on this film? Who are your musical influences?

Jhaye Cura: Musical influences, marami e, sobrang dami. Pero isa na yung, island reggae kasi yung mga music namin pero... Eto talaga, sa totoo lang hindi ako fan ng OPM pero kasi sinubukan ko lang talaga, tapos nahihirapan kasi ako gumawa ng kantang Tagalog.

Jason Paul Laxamana: English R&B kasi yung ginagawa ni Jhaye dati.

Jhaye Cura: Kapampangan tsaka English, so mas nadadalian kasi ako sa music doon kaysa Tagalog.

Jason Paul Laxamana: So isa ring reason yan, kasi I often see na – diba may cinocover kayo na Beyonce, Rihanna – parang gusto kong i-tap yung talent niya to contribute something to Kapampangan and OPM. And hopefully, isa ito sa mga daan para mas mafeature yung OPM at maka-contribute sa OPM.

What was the writing process like for the script and the songs? 

Jhaye Cura: Dahil sanay na kami na nagw-work together, dahil noon pa, kapag nagkwento siya sa akin, parang may nabubuo nang kanta e.

Jason Paul Laxamana: Ganyan yung process namin sa kanta, sinasabi ko lang na ito yung sitwasyon nila, ito yung point ng kanta tapos siya na bahala. Ipaparinig niya na lang sa akin.

Jhaye Cura: Kwentuhan lang kami.

Director Jason Paul Laxamana and Composer Jhaye Cura

Besides it being a musical, how is it different from the rest of the movies you've already made?

Jason Paul Laxamana: Siguro yung fact na inspirational siya. Because a lot of my movies, they either end badly: may mamamatay, or heartbroken yung tao – ito, it's meant to be inspirational, the same feeling that I got when I watched Mga Munting Tinig ni Direk Gil Portes. Alam mo yun, yung pag napanood mo: very pure, very positive yung feeling, hindi yung negative, hindi yung sad, ganun. First time ko gumawa ng ganun.

What's the audition process for the cast like? Did Jhaye have a say during the auditions and the look tests?

Jason Paul Laxamana: Nauna actually yung cast and all before namin siya tinap. Basta, tapos na kasi yung script and all e. Yung casting, before calling them in, mas nagre-rely ako sa mga present material, mga Youtube material: clips of them singing, and performing – mas ganun kasi ako e. Kapag audition kasi, best foot forward, pero kapag ini-scour mo lang yung past material nila parang mas nakikita mo doon yung natural feel, natural person. Yun yung basehan ko tsaka ko lang sila ipapatawag.

What's going to surprise people about this film?

Jason Paul Laxamana: The songs. Really, the selling point of this movie, the highlight are the songs talaga. Parang, ako kasi kapag naririnig ko yung mga songs na gawa ni Jhaye, maganda na agad sa unang dinig pa lang. It doesn't need to grow on you, maganda na siya agad, na gusto ko rin maexperience ng audience yun kapag pinanuod nila.

How long did you write the story?

Jason Paul Laxamana: Hindi ko na matandaan e, siguro mga four or five years ago pa yung script. I really was looking for producers to give it a chance. Usually naman, yung scripts ko I write them for one month or two months. Then, nung nakita ko yung Facebook post ni Sir Rex na sabi niya gusto niya ng something, kasi balak nilang mag-quit na sa pagpoproduce but they want to go out with a bang – so sana this is it. Tsaka yung Deadma Walking, nainspire ata si Sir Rex, gusto na niyang tumuloy ulit. Meron ding hope na nabigay sa kanya yung project. Then yun, parang sinend ko lang sa kanya yung email, yung script, and then super nagustuhan niya, we met, and ganito na! 

What should we look forward to in the movie?

Jason Paul Laxamana: Yung songs. Tsaka in general, yung movie – I reviewed it a few days ago – it's really very entertaining. I'm surprised kasi nung una ko siyang sinulat or ginawa, I intended it to be one of those social drama na indie film, ganun. Pero when I watched it, entertaining pala siya. "Kaya pala siya nakapasok," sabi ko sa sarili ko.

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Bakwit Boys, distributed by T-Rex Entertainment, opens in cinemas on August 15. Check the full list of schedule here. Follow T-Rex Entertainment on Facebook and Instagram for exclusive updates on the movie.

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