With the online premiere of his latest Regal Entertainment digital series Ben X Jim, director Easy Ferrer is happy that his first BL series is able to help redefine the connotation of what a BL series is all about.
“We’re so glad that in the community it’s actually a great time that the stories of those people, the story of us, our stories are being told in a different light, that we actually have good endings, we have good stories, kinikilig din kami, may love stories din kami. It’s not just always about painful and tragedy. Hindi laging ganun ang end ng kuwento namin. We have a lot more stories to tell and more dimensions to talk about and the spectrum is so wide for all of us para masabi yung stories namin to everyone. It doesn’t always end up painful. We also feel kilig. We also feel love and longing and we also have forever. So things like that. It’s actually a good time. Most of us here na gumagawa ng ganitong BL genre is, we can showcase every story that we have been keeping to ourselves for so long. Kumbaga parang, we’re trying to break the heteronormativity once and for all by telling stories that are actually normal also for us. For the longest time, our stories have been marginalized and now we’re being put into the center and being highlighted once and for all so that we can actually tell the world that our stories are also valid, we have a place here, and also that, those things actually happened to us and to other people as well. That we’re also normal, parang ganun,” he shared.
With the new digital platform, direk Easy said he is hopeful that it will reach a wider audience and will not pit creators against each other.
“I’m very happy that we’re given a new avenue to tell different stories na hindi naman all about tragedy and pain and sex or anything though kasama yun sa story natin as people. Ngayon, yung creativity namin now we can tell stories that also happened to us like how it happens to you. So parang ganun. Tuwang tuwa ako na yung BL community very supportive siya internationally and very cooperative and walang competition na nagaganap because we interact with each other, we know each other. Nag-su-suportahan yung bawat shows. So nakakatuwa na parang ganun, we lift each other up. Siguro it because we don’t compete for a time slot. Nag-su-suportahan kami at hindi kami nag-co-compete. Parang team eh. Binubuo namin ang community. Binubuo namin yung buong genre para marinig kami at makita kami for visibility ng community at ng stories namin, parang ganun,” he explained.
But just like any BL series, direk Easy admitted it was important to fulfill the basic formula that works for their audience.
“So number one requirement ata ng mga BL genre is you should get two pretty boys na parang androgynous na halos, generally magandang lalake para appealing both for girls and para nakaka-ride on lahat sa character. Tapos na-i-in love din sila at the same time. Parang hindi mo masyadong pino-pronta na may problema about this set-up. Nililikud mo siya. Ang ihaharap mo yung experience nila as they fall in love. Actually, the material is set to redefine how we tell the stories of us from the LGBTQI+ community or Boys Love genre. May kilig and then meron ding sexual tension of course, hindi naman puwedeng mawalan yan. Bukod dun may depth yung story, the characters have depth. They have a deeper back story and then there’s a bigger conflict on why their love is star-crossed. Parang the world is against them not just because they’re both boys. They’re star-crossed because of the circumstances that surround them are actually more painful than what you saw on the trailer,” he explains.
While writing the story for Ben X Jim, direk Easy said it was important for him to still make it cinematic despite the challenges and safety guidelines brought on by the pandemic.
“Aside from technical stuff like the cinematography and music, the story has to be cinematic, the characters have to be cinematic so that kahit naman sa YouTube lang papanuorin, at least the audience gets what they came there for. So we tried to make it as big as we can. May conflict sa storytelling na puwedeng ipagmalaki and of course there’s kilig. This time, let’s see a romantic comedy movie na may halong drama na ang characters naman this time are boys that are in love. This is actually close to everyone’s heart. Pero personally, parang pinag-sama sama siyang experience of mine, of my friends growing up. yung growing up in a neighborhood nasa streets na parang magkakalaro kayo and then growing up nagiging crush mo yung kalaro mo sa kabilang kapitbahay. So parang I think that’s a very universal experience that everyone can relate to. I made it more unique kasi may mga personal touches of what me and my friends growing up experienced na linagay ko na rin dun. Close naman siya to reality. Yung mga ibang mannerisms nila dun came from me. Madami kayong makikitang mannerisms dun that came from me na ginagawa ko talaga in real life. So kailangan ko talaga mag-inject ng personal experience to make it more kilig,” he shared.
Ben X Jim stars Teejay Marquez and Jerome Ponce and presented by Regal Entertainment, Inc. It is now available for streaming on the Regal Entertainment Channel on YouTube.