05/13/2016

The politics of love

by  Jonty Cruz
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Take a stand: Derek Ramsay and Iza Calzado have better debate than the ones we got. Photo from My Candidate’s official Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The recent elections were the most divisive yet. So much hate all across social media left no one safe from the rants and the rage. There was barely a moment of rest: everything became fuel for flames even as the results came together. Perhaps that’s why My Candidate chose to come out after all the campaign chaos settles. The new rom-com from director Quark Henares serves as a palate cleanser of sorts. Headlined by Derek Ramsay, Iza Calzado, and Shaina Magdayao, My Candidate aims to use the political climate to tell a more human story, one that doesn’t forget the hilarity in all of it.

Young STAR talks to Quark Henares to learn more about the movie.

Young STAR: Your movie comes days after the elections, what would you say to those who are tired of anything politics-related? How is My Candidate sort of a palate cleanser?

Quark Henares: It’s really weird and funny because the premiere was on election day, and there’s one scene where Ces Drilon comes out to announce the election winners and my heart jumped because I thought she was going to announce our next president (laughs).

So it’s a bit close to home in many aspects, but it’s also that rare occurrence where real life is more dramatic than what happens onscreen. My Candidate is more a romance and a campaign comedy than an election drama, which is what ‘s been happening the past few days.

When we wrote the script, one of my co-writers was already knee-deep working in a presidential campaign too, and we decided to focus on portraying the kind of leader we wanted to see run our country, and public service over politicking is a big theme that runs throughout the movie. I guess it’s a palate cleanser in that sense as well, because the film is not about family names or political parties, but more about the qualities and values we’d like to see in our leaders.

Would you consider My Candidate as a sendup of the recent elections? What was the worst and best part of the last several months in your opinion?

It is, in many ways. I remember sitting down with Bam Aquino and Lino Cayetano and hearing all these ridiculous stories about having to sing in fiestas during campaigns and how campaigning is closer to holding mall shows than it is to traditional political campaigning. We were able to show a lot of that, and a lot of what goes on in campaign offices thanks to all the politicians and staff members we interviewed.

The worst part of the past few months was definitely all the friendships that were ruined because of the elections. On the flipside, the best part was seeing so many people being passionate about the country. It always broke my heart seeing so many people in our generation being apathetic about the Philippines, so it was amazing seeing how intensely people cared about the future of our nation.

What’s crazier: love or politics?

Love, definitely. But politics won the crazy game this year.

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