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Antonio’s Secret in New York

Our film Antonio’s Secret (directed by Joselito Altarejos) will have its international premiere in Rochester, New York on October 13, 2008. Here’s a statement from one of the reviewers at the Image Out Festival.

 

“Join us for the International Premiere of a controversial film that proves once again that not all gay films from the Philippines are about hustlers and macho dancers. Antonio’s Secret tackles the taboo topic of incest and its tragic consequences.”

“Antonio’s Secret takes a raw and honest look at the not-so-secret, and sometimes downright depraved, sex life of teenage boys. Director Joselito Altarejos adds a layer of depth by telling a rich story of a confused young man, growing up with few available positive role models, who makes crucial choices and is forced to face their tragic consequences. Using a, sometimes wobbly, handheld camera without employing much of a musical soundtrack, except for the occasional tunes from the acoustic guitar of a neighborhood musician, Altarejos pulls his audiences in and makes it a highly voyeuristic and intimate affair.

 

Our ImageOut There! Series brings you the type of film that rarely gets made in politically correct Hollywood, and is definitely not coming to your neighborhood multiplex anytime soon. Antonio’s Secret confronts the taboo topic of incest head on while giving an authentic portrait of middle-class life in Manila, far from the squalor of urban squatters typical of Filipino films with international distribution. Be warned that this film contains nudity, sensitive mature themes, and one graphic scene of violence.

 

With the advent of digital filmmaking, Philippine Cinema is enjoying a boost from young and edgy filmmakers. ImageOut is proud to provide a forum for these undiscovered gems.

 

~ Michael Gamilla (Imageout, Rochester Lesbian and Gay Film Festival)

 

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Kambyo: My Third Screenplay

I wrote the screenplay of “Kambyo” as a requirement from my producer (Viva) to make a follow up film after the commercial success of “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret) and “Ang Lalake sa Parola” (The Man in the Lighthouse).

I wrote this film during my stay in Sagada (Mountain Province). And our vision for this project was to come up with a light, fun and entertaining film for the Filipino gay community. I think “Kambyo” is my most accessible and my most “mainstream” work so far.

Here’s the synopsis of the film:

From the makers of “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret) comes a heartwarming story of four men, their friendship and a road trip that will change their lives forever. 

It’s the last summer of their university life. Cousins Macky (Rayan Dulay, Bathhouse) and Manuel (Kenjie Garcia, Ang Lihim ni Antonio) start on a road trip to look for the Macky’s long lost friend Philip (Johnron Tanada). They bring along with them their fun loving friend Xavier (Harold Macasero), who tags along a hunky guy named Aldo (Gabz del Rosario), whom he just met right before their trip.

As the engine of Macky’s old van begins to accelerate, their relationships start on a new journey. Love blooms. Secrets unfold. Insecurities collide. And hidden desires set in.

As they drive their way up north of Manila, this unrestrained group of three friends and a stranger explore the boundaries of their friendships, their sexualities, their dreams and the future that lies ahead of them.

KAMBYO

Screenplay: Lex Bonife

Production: Viva Digital and Beyond the Box Production

Direction: Joselito Altarejos

 

 

 

Why I Write Gay Stories

“Thank you for speaking for us. For bringing to memory the fondest and darkest moments in my life…helping me understand myself… (and realize) that it’s ok to be me…” (Jeffrey, 25 years old)

 

This is a part of a letter from a viewer after watching the film that I wrote “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret). And receiving such letter is a confirmation on why I have long wanted to write stories about gay men.

 

When I was young, way back in the 80’s, the images of gay men in mainstream cinema were comic and slapstick. They were best represented by Roderick Paulate’s characterization of “Petrang Kabayo” and Dolphy’s iconic “Facifica Falayfay”. These film characters were certainly far from who I was and who I want to be as a gay man.

 

It was only before the end of the century that Filipino gay men were more accurately represented in film through “Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya” (by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna) and Pusong Mamon (by Joel Lamangan). And it was just in 2002, that films started to honestly represent the angst of the urban gay men through Crisaldo Pablo’s “Duda” and “Bath house”.

 

Writing the screenplay of “Ang Lalake sa Parola” (The Man in the Lighthouse) and “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret) represents my sincere effort to connect to other gay men out there, to share their voice and to continuously remind our society about who we really are and why we deserve acceptance and not just tolerance. And if you’ll allow me to qualify further, what I personally demand is acceptance without compromises.