Here’s a shout-out to individuals who support Filipino indie movies. Charliebebs Gohetia – an award-winning film editor (he won at Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2009 for the movie “Astig” and was nominated for the Asian Film Awards for “Tirador” and the Urian Awards for “Foster Child”) – is currently in the planning stage to direct his next opus – “Bodega” (or translated as ‘warehouse’ in English). Production of the film will commence at a modest budget of US$20,000.00 and this is where he will need your support. Read on…
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
The mission of Brooklyn Park Pictures is locating and supporting outstanding cinema from The Philippines, with the ultimate goal of bringing films of social importance to Filipinos worldwide and to a worldwide audience in general. We are currently looking for supporters for our second feature film, “Bodega”.
Our first film, the comedy road-trip “The ‘Thank You’ Girls”, was invited to screen at esteemed international film festivals (including the Vancouver International Film Festival, where the film was in competition for the Dragons and Tigers Award) and played to sold out crowds in Manila, Cebu and Davao (Philippines) and here in New York City. We are screening theatrically in Toronto, Ottawa and most likely Vancouver in the next few months. A west coast premiere and a DVD/online release are in negotiation.
“Bodega” will be a dark drama, along the lines of “Requiem for a Dream” or “Trainspotting”. We have already completed the script and are currently in pre-production with the same director and most of the same crew. The writer/director/editor of Bodega, Bebs Gohetia, is a seasoned and well-respected editor who got his start in the film business working alongside 2009 Cannes Best Director Award winner, Brillante Mendoza. Bodega will highlight important and relevant social issues including the corruption of power, the imbalance inherent in the Filipino social structure, drug use and addiction, and the fine line between right and wrong.
The production team for “Bodega” is very international: Bebs Gohetia is based in Manila, James Hohl in New York City, and Ryan Bruce Levey in Toronto. Together we will create a film with strong international appeal, which retains its uniquely Filipino soul.
RATIONALE AND USE OF FUNDING
As the film will be shot entirely on location in Manila, our budget is quite modest for a project of this scope. The $20,000 we are raising on this site will take us through production, which is slated to start in late May. The remaining funds for post-production will be raised offline via grants and further offline investment to get us to the final cut by the end of the summer, with the goal of debuting at a major international film festival in the fall.
We will shoot in HD (Red Camera) for a true cinematic experience, and we will hire known actors for the two lead roles to help the box office in The Philippines. The balance of the funds will be used for equipment rental, supplies, crew, costumes, set building, etc.
BACKGROUND AND DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT
Two years ago, the Philippine cyberworld was shaken by a blog that exposed in detail the clandestine activities of rich teenagers and twenty-somethings in private and exclusive clubs, mostly drug usage and sexual exploits. It became controversial as it involved famous personalities that were featured in the society pages of daily broadsheets, most of them sons and daughters of the bourgeois, businessmen and politicians who carry their families’ surnames.
Unlike in other countries where economic status is not necessarily tantamount to breeding and social conformity, in the Philippines, it is an uncommon image for the rich to be troublemakers because they are expected and deemed to be cultured, educated and guided by social graces. The rich are looked up to and usually get away with their bad image. In all cases, it is the media that portrays drug addicts, delinquents and societal lawbreakers as coming from the poor.
It is with this that I took my inspiration for the story of Bodega. With social structures preventing the rich to be open with their vices, a subculture emerges. One where they are not exposed, hidden and can do whatever they want thus the popularity of rave parties exclusively participated by the rich. For Filipinos, rave takes on a different meaning. It thrives on its rebellion and the desire to be unnoticed and unseen. Its devices are a pastiche of old and existing culture. It’s about breaking the rules and creating new ones.
This culture, though existing, remained unexposed for the longest time because of probably, the apathy of the law officials because the law is held by these kids’ parents, the lawmakers. In a bigger picture, the story of Bodega happens during a crucial time, the election. We see the macro- and microcosmic picture of Philippine society, though different in forms, are same in characteristics. They are both defined by filth and apathy where people in the bigger scale do not care about the problems of society and the people in the smaller scale are apathetic about society as long as they are good for a night’s fun.
Two main characters of Bodega represent different economic backgrounds. Both juvenile delinquents, they share a common struggle to be taken seriously, a unique relationship between a compulsive drug user and his best friend who is a compulsive codependent. In a span of three days and nights, we are taken on a ride as we witness their lives and make us rethink whether to pity them, as representation of this generation’s youth, and take action or continue to be apathetic even if the realities of the film is shown right before us.
The visual look for “Bodega” as a society of its own is experimental, anti-mainstream and takes inspiration from film noir. Just as in the ride that a drug user takes, the pace is jagged, upbeat until it reaches its climax, taking the audience on a trip as if they are also taking the pill.
The film’s social commentaries are voiced in the raw feel of the club by using a real warehouse, strong and brave semiotics of the production design such as using junk sculpture for the interior design of the club, the apparent social classes as evident in the separation of the regular patrons from the VIPs, the rave jargon incorporated in the dialogues, the costumes that will be especially designed for the characters and the music that will be a deconstruction and reconstruction of classical pieces composed by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven as base and convert them into rave music.
We are also taken into another world, the bigger picture. The world outside, the real one, outside the club. Here we see the parallel as if this world is just another version of an underground club, only with crazier inhabitants.
To create the distinction of the two spaces, we will use16MM film to shoot scenes inside the underground club and an HD Red camera to shoot the scenes for the ‘outside world’.
Charliebebs’ first directorial effort – ‘The Thank You Girls’ – was screened (on a limited run) to sold-out audiences at the local indie box-office last year and has been fielded in several film festivals abroad.