Jose Javier Reyes wrote and directed both youth-oriented flicks—‘Guwapings: The First Adventure’ and ‘Pare Ko’ in 1992 and 1994, respectively; and on June 27, yesterday, he and Regal Entertainment Incorporated brings another timely film titled ‘Walwal’ that gathers four equally gorgeous and promising young male artists—Elmo Magalona, Jerome Ponce, Kiko Estrada, and Donny Pangilinan.
In an exclusive interview with Reyes, he particularly mentioned that he enjoys working with young artists, “My filmography will reveal that actors like John Lloyd Cruz, Rico Yan, Jomari Yllana, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Jao Mapa, Jolina Magdangal, Nikka Valencia and even the young Piolo Pascual started out in my movies.
“It is a challenge to get the most out of these young actors and actresses and see them blossom through the years. It has always been a positive push to rediscover how to make things work in a film.”
For him, the word ‘Walwal’ is a colloquialism that can be described as derivative of NAGWAWALA or WALA-WALA LANG. It’s like abandonment, devil-may-care, whatever. It is about forgetting all one’s problems and living for the moment, by the moment if only to pull one’s self out of the rut called reality.
He added his thoughts about the film’s title, “I don’t give a f–k! I am going to be happy and nobody will tell me how I am going to do it.”
In the film, the four actors portray the ‘barkadas’ (buddies). Magalona as Dondi, the lawyer wannabe; Ponce is Intoy, the athletic scholar; Estrada as Marco, the master playboy; and Pangilinan is Bobby, the future filmmaker.
“Each [of the four leads] has their strengths and vulnerabilities. Obviously Jerome Ponce is the most experienced actor having been through telenovelas since he was around 15 years old. Then there is Donny Pangilinan who is literally a freshman, a neophyte.
“There is no way you can compare them with one another but they share one thing in common: they love their work and quite focused to get as far as they can go in this business,” Direk Joey described his male actors.
Reyes is proud about his body of work and is certain that the film speaks about the generation of today, “The screenplay of ‘WALWAL’ was written by ONE OF THEM. He is 19 years old, a junior about to finish his degree in AB Digital Film at the School of Design and Arts, De la Salle College of St Benilde.
“I asked Gerald Mark Foliente to write the script because it is ABOUT THEM and having gone back to the academe, I am always surrounded by THEM. My students (who I call MY KIDS) speak from a different mindset. It is best not to judge them but to understand how they got there. As far as the older generations are concerned, things have changed and yet things have remained the same.
“We still have issues with our parents. We still lose sleep over an abbreviated relationship. We still worry about school. Generations change but problems are constants that are reinterpreted in the language of changing times.
“There are no secrets here. WALWAL is meant to provide a glimpse into the mindset of the youth today where the need for constant affirmation, the more intense sense of competitiveness, the need to assert one’s identity in the cacophony of social media has all become so stressful.”
‘Walwal’ is special for him, because he married his two worlds into one. He always kept his life as an academician separate from his life as a film director and writer. He teaches skills in filmmaking but his life in Regal Entertainment is kept apart from his work in La Salle. But he was able to marry his two together. He had his kids on the set LEARNING first-hand about making films while he tells them that he is not perfect and that they have to be better than him. The set of the film was special because it was full of his kids and they were not working. They were LIVING the film.
Over the years, what he can share as a filmmaker to the younger and aspiring filmmakers is, “Being a director is no reason for you to be ‘mayabang’. One film does not make a career. A career is made up of body of work.”
He admitted that doing films these days is a great challenge. He asks himself if he would still make movies or go into alternative platforms or he would start doing digital movies or start creating contents.
Of the many hats he has assumed—being a screenwriter, a filmmaker, a professor and as a blogger—his thoughts of being a professor is something that he still enjoys a lot in doing.
“Yun ang masarap sa pagiging teacher. You see changes are happening. Kasi yung audience mo tinbuturuan mo. Actually sila ang nagtuturo sa yo ng direction ng dapat mong puntahan.”