Gameboys – the acclaimed Filipino series that tells of a love story between two boys amidst the pandemic has added another feather in its cap. Today, it was announced as one of the nominees under the Kids: Live-Action category at the 2021 International Emmy Kids Awards.
“Children see and learn much of what they know of the world through the stories and characters they watch on television.” said Bruce Paisner, President & CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “We congratulate the Nominees for their outstanding talent in entertaining and educating young viewers worldwide on a diversity of topics that impact their everyday life.” Winners will be announced on October 12, 2021 at 9 am Eastern Time on the International Academy’s website.
No stranger to international recognition, Gameboys won Best Web Series at the Seoul Indie Shorts Awards in November 2020.
Gameboys is available on Youtube (better version IMO) with an updated version on Netflix. A movie was recently released online and a second season is coming up real soon.
On the surface, it looks like the PH is an inclusive country. But one look at the comment section on Facebook and/or Twitter threads whenever a hate crime is posted in the news or the subject of gay marriage is brought up and we get jolted back to the reality that we still have a long way to go.
I have cut ties with people who post lengthy justifications for their bigotry, often invoking God to justify their hate. The quest to educate is still there but sometimes we just have to accept that there are people who are set on their ways. And while I am at an age where I don’t give a crap what people think, the younger generation who may still be grappling and coming to terms with their sexuality, is in constant need for representation in the media.
Last year, a love story between two boys rose to critical fame and international success/recognition. Their message was simple – that love has no gender. Gameboys ushered in a slew of Boys Love series and movies, and recently an ad promoting inclusivity. That it is partnered with the City of Pasig makes it even more special and official.
I would have loved to be a gay kid at a time when content like this is shown in the mainstream. And yes, we have a long way to go even today. But this makes me feel that things are less bleak and maybe there is a chance for things to get better after all.
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.
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.
Check the complete list of nominees and winners below. Winners were announced on November 10, 2020.
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.