BL series deliberate in spreading joy, positivity–and here’s why | Inquirer Entertainment

BL series deliberate in spreading joy, positivity–and here’s why

/ 12:30 AM November 05, 2020

Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown had physical and mental effects on filmmaker Jade Castro. He admitted to once experiencing difficulty in breathing, and has been curious ever since if that had indeed been an actual panic attack.

“I’ve never had anything like that before. I kept asking, ‘Is this what everyone has been talking about?’” the director of acclaimed films “Endo” and “LSS” told Inquirer Entertainment.

To be sure, Jade consulted a doctor after the incident, “but I never really got a diagnosis,” he said but did not elaborate. He also did some research on what to do in case it would happen to him again.


“I read that one should take a hot shower. You also have to know the right position when lying down on your bed. And since I live alone in my condo, I made sure I knew where I could get myself an ambulance,” he said.


Jade claimed he was never a man of prayer, but the ongoing battle with the virus has changed that. “I’d see how the lives of the people around me had been affected by it. A lot of my colleagues lost their jobs, especially during the early phase of the lockdown,” the director explained.

“It doesn’t help that we have a national leadership that seems more concerned with power than the welfare of its people,” he pointed out. “Aside from my parents who live in Canada, these are the people I pray for nowadays. Since we’re in a pandemic, it’s hard to go out and organize something … All we can do now is pray. Included in my prayers is the hope that there will be action, too.”

Jade is convinced that the Filipino audience is in need of some cheering up, especially nowadays. “In fact, this is why we made a BL (Boy’s Love) series,” he declared. He has teamed up with producer Darwin Mariano (Bit by Bit Company), writer Danice Mae Sison, cinematographer Tey Clamor, production designer Popo Diaz, and his assistant director Xeph Suarez to create “Boys’ Lockdown.”

Filmmaker Jade Castro

‘Gave joy’

Starring Ali King and Alec Kevin, it is a feel-good take on the challenges experienced by Filipinos during lockdown, specifically anxiety, isolation, hopelessness and longing for connection.

“Darwin said watching BL series (from Thailand) gave him joy during dark times. I like watching BL stories, too. This was reaffirmed by what Darwin said,” Jade declared. “When I did ‘LSS,’ I was already in that frame of mind. I thought, ‘If we want to go toward good change, why do we have so many movies that are depressing; that say there’s no more hope?’ What we need to see is a happy ending.”

The director added: “When we try to make the audience invest emotionally in the relationship of two characters, then they don’t end up together, that’s pessimistic. When I did ‘LSS,’ I said it was going to be for young people. I wanted to offer it as a gift, to give the audience hope. How can we encourage the youth to join us in the revolution if they no longer believe that good things could still happen in the future? This is already my frame of mind nowadays,” said Jade, who is also a film studies professor.


Ali King (left) and Alec Kevin

‘Soft boy’

“BL is the perfect genre for that. It’s full of joy and positivity. Some people think it’s a form of escape, but for me, it’s all about flight. You fly over the bad things because you have your eyes set on something beautiful that you think you deserve,” Jade explained. “As for the LGBTQ+ community, even though our characters aren’t confronting issues like hate crimes or the Sogie Bill, what’s in the show is the spirit that there could be a happy ending for the LGBTQ+ community and, by extension, everybody.”

When it came to casting, Jade said it took them a month to decide on the lead actors. “We said that since it’s a BL series, we should prioritize ‘face’—we only picked those who are pleasing to the eyes. In fact, we said acting skills is only secondary,” explained Jade. “But we’re lucky because the actors we got had real potential.”

He further said: “After you watch Ali and Alec, you’ll feel that you still want to get to know them off-cam … You can also say that these actors are ‘soft boys.’ This quality is unique to BL projects. It’s not usual to cast a ‘soft boy’ as a leading man. But we still had to test them for chemistry.”

When we asked what sets his BL series apart from the others, he answered our question with another question: “What’s wrong if we’re all the same? What’s wrong with the fact that all our stories are about two boys falling in love?”

“I certainly can embrace the likeness,” he added. “But of course, I have to point out that our production is the only one that has a female creator, so the project has a female perspective and is able to show that love is a universal experience.”

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The “Boy’s Lockdown” series was launched on Oct. 15 via special paid screenings on the Ticket2Me ticketed video player and is being shown on YouTube for free on the Ticket2Me channel.

TAGS: Boys’ Lockdown, Jade Castro

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