Gameboys BL Pair Reteams for a Movie Premiering in South Korea

While it’s greatly apparent that the exciting proliferations of gay-themed stories on digital screens, via boys love (BL) series, have renewed our burning interests on LGBTQIA issues and experiences – we may have to analyze how things have been since its original inception, at least in the dawning periods of digital cinema in the Philippines. 

Cris Pablo’s Duda/Doubt, for the record, was the first longform narrative feature in digital format – which happened to be an interweaving tale of gay sex, love, and relationships – quite in extent made it all seem possible for all independent filmmakers to literally shoot the stars and achieve a sense of goal and aspirations that filmmaking can be democratized beyond the dictums of the old and mainstream studio system.  While Pablo’s Duda interestingly seeded the cloud and rained profusely over a period of at least 7 years with the explosion of gay soft core Indies – they weren’t exactly focused on the experience of young love and coming of age. They were, in all straight-talk, a spa and splash of sex parades – which in turn became a hotbed of welcomed nudity and other unapologetic physicality on screen. Duda/Doubt was no BL. The first true-gay feature in Asia, South Korea’s Road Movie (2002) is about the experiences and confusions brought upon by the Asian Market Crash, and indeed was no BL. The harangue of criticisms later on to Pablo’s prolific churn-outs, although featuring younger characters, was more directed towards the lower-class experiences; and somewhat the highlighted centering on psychosexual fixations. When Senedy Que’s Dose tested the censorship to its core a few years later– it had a chilling effect on which particular age-group to sidestep, if the trend had to remain and survive. Even the unsolicited fetishism on visual soldering features becomes tamed and oblique. It had officially folded up as the film industry was entirely eaten up once and again by the commercial escapism of the mainstream market.

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Gawad Urian 2020: Full List of Nominees

This year’s Gawad Urian is headlined by internationally acclaimed films and performers. Leading the pack is Kalel, 15 with nine nominations. The film previously won the Best Director award for Jun Lana at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and a Best Actor award for Elijah Canlas at the Asian Film Festival held in Rome. Babae at Baril, also with nine nominations, was previously awarded the Best Director and Best Actress awards for Rae Red and Janine Gutierez respectively at the QCinema Film Festival.

Cinemalaya Best Picture John Denver Trending has six nominations. It was previously awarded the Critics and Audience awards at the 26th Vesoul International Film festival in France. Another Cinemalaya feature, Edward, has eight nominations including one for Louise Abuel who previously won the Best Actor award at the Dhaka International Film festival. Finally Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Awardee, Lav Diaz, was nominated for Best Director for Ang Hupa at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. He is nominated for the same film at the Urian for Best Director.

Update: 9/22/2020. Ruby Ruiz, nominated for Best Actress for Iska, won at the Harlem International Film Festival in New York for the same role. She perviously bagged the Best Actress award at the 2019 Cinemalaya FIlm Festival.

The 43rd Gawad Urian is set on November 10, 2020. Check the complete list of nominees below.

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Gameboys sets a pretty high bar for BL Series in the PH

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I fell in love with Gameboys right off the first episode, faster than the lead character Cairo could say PLAY to being wooed which set off the story of the series. In just a little over 10 minutes it was already apparent that the show is something special, not just in comparison with shows of the same genre, but even compared to the near-endless list of shows available online for streaming.

Gameboys is headlined by Elijah Canlas (Kalel 15, LSS, Edward, Sundalong Kanin) who plays Cairo and Kokoy de Santos (Fuccbois, Tumbang Preso) as Gavreel. Both actors have acclaimed performances in festival movies in the past and have been acting since they were kids. Meanwhile, the supporting cast Adriana So (Pearl) and Kyle Velino (Terrence) are regulars in local television shows. This is important to note because the quality of performances in Gameboys sets it apart from the other local BL (Boys Love) series that were produced and released during the same period.

The show benefits from a well-written screenplay by Ash Malanum (Unforgettable, Kiko Boksingero), set design by Nestor Abrogena Jr. (Mananaggal sa Unit 23B) which effectively creates a believable personality for the characters, and a soundtrack that you can play on a loop for days. These are all put together with ease by Ivan Andrew Payawal (I America) to create a contemporary story that does not feel confined by the limitations of its medium.

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