When he was first approached by Dito at Doon writers Alex Gonzales and Kristin Barrameda to take the helm of the TBA Studios project, director JP Habac said he knew he would do the film because of how close it was to his heart.
“Natutuwa ako na they approached me to direct this film kasi I can really relate with the characters in the story. I think everyone in this production parang at some point naka-experience nila yung na-experience ng mga characters sa pelikula. Kaya I’m so happy that I get to direct this project and to work with this wonderful cast,” he shared during the Dito at Doon mediacon held last March 29.
JP,. who also worked on the 2017 film I’m Drunk I Love You and the BL series Gaya Sa Pelikula, admitted that he was really hoping to show his latest project on the big screen this year.
“Nalungkot ako. Parang at first I was really anxious about going back to the cinemas kasi nga hindi pa rin safe pero kasi yung thought na parang may chance na makapunta ka ulit sa sinehan, parang sobrang nakaka-excite lang. Tapos whoops, hindi ulit puwede. Parang it’s a prank (laughs). Pero na-sad ako pero thankful pa rin kasi lima yung online platforms na puwede nilang puntahan and parang safe ka na sa bahay, mas marami pa yung access. Thankful pa rin and everyone’s safe,” he explained.
After shooting Dito at Doon, direk JP said he is now in favor of lock-in tapings.
“Okay ako sa ganito kasi for creative ang hirap kasi na-experience ko dati minsan on set nag-re-revise pa. So at least parang coming into the set for the lock in, kailangan meron na kayong final script. Mas napupulido, mas na-de-develop sobra yung script at nakakapag-prepare pa talagang sobra para mapaganda yung pelikula. New normal. Ang laking tulong na merong sapat na tulog ang mga tao kasi iba yung naibigay nila na effort at commitment sa isang project,” he said.
Direk JP also took time to thank TBA Studios for their support and trust in his vision for the film.
“Ang natutunan ko in this project is to follow my instinct. The treatment that I used for this project is something that I haven’t tried with my other past projects. So with this one, talagang sabi ko this is not the type to play it safe, na parang mas maganda mag-explore pa at mapiga pa yung creative juices na natitira. Parang kailangan maghanap ng bago na mabibigay sa mga tao. So with this project I was given that chance to explore more and actually sa TBA ko lang yun na-e-experience na makapag-explore creatively, to have the total creative freedom,” he added.
Another unforgettable aspect of his film is the theme song sung by popular pop band Ben&Ben first released last year called “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin," which was first heard in the teaser trailer and is all about respecting everybody’s differences.
“Mas nauna yung kanta ng Ben&Ben kesa sa pelikula. Kaibigan ko kasi yung isa sa members ng Ben&Ben, si Pat Lasaten. Tapos nagpatulong ako sa kanya kung meron siyang ma-re-recommend na mga songs. Nag-send siya ng mga songs tapos sinend niya rin yung kanta nila na naririnig ko na before and then nung nakita namin yung script isa yun sa mga kanta na parang saan makuha kasi saktong sakto talaga siya,” he recalled.
JP also explained why their story of two people (played by JC Santos and Janine Gutierrez), who unexpectedly find each other online during the lockdown last year, will not have a typical ending.
“Kasi yung buong pelikula parang it tackles the uncertainties of the pandemic and the lockdown last year up until now. Siguro yung ending na yun parang it’s also answering to the theme of uncertainty, kung ano yung puwede mangyari pa at hindi puwede mangyari kaya ganun yung naging ending,” he added.