Twenty-five-year-old Randolph Longjas may be considered young for a filmmaker, but this week he achieves a milestone few first-time directors are privileged to accomplish: an exclusive commercial run of his debut film in the upscale theater chain of Ayala Malls nationwide.
That’s right, Longjas’ acclaimed comedy “Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin” which riveted critics during the CineFilipino Film Festival where it premiered, will now have a chance to be seen by a bigger audience when it opens in Ayala Malls Cinemas on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
A cross-cultural comedy about a Filipino American couple who celebrates life with karaoke music, superstitious in-laws, immigration laws, unexpected pregnancies, brown-outs, Thanksgiving turkey, with some love on the side, “Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin” stars Tuesday Vargas, Travis Kraft, Julia Clarete, Cai Cortez and JM De Guzman.
Longjas says the idea for “Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin” originated when he and his collaborators were in a mall brainstorming what their entry for CineFilipino would be. “Then we noticed a restaurant full of foreigners with Filipinas as their partners,” Longjas shares. “We’ve come to realize that this type of set-up is not a surprise to our culture anymore. In fact, it’s a familiar scenario in Filipino families. From there, we’ve agreed that we can explore this type of relationship through injecting a crash and burn humor of the two different cultures.
“We wanted to offer a reality that we usually despise or laugh about,” the director adds. “This experimental comedy explores the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of two people on a universal love trip, which do not discriminate against color, stature, age or culture. It is a celebration of the Filipino experience in a foreigner’s perspective, and the realization of the American dream in a Filipino’s eyes.
Longjas concludes, “We want to reintroduce Fil-Am relationships in a fresh light. We hope to destroy the misconception that these relationships exist only for money or material reason and prove to the audience that this kind of relationship is founded on love and is as real as anyone else’s.”
Randolph Longjas is a man of tenacity and many talents. Being the youngest director in this year’s Cinefilipino roster, one might reckon his venture into filmmaking to be one of sheer caprice. But nothing could be further from the truth, for it is in fact a product of hard work and a lifelong love affair with the performing and visual arts.
Respected as a fine thespian by his peers, Longjas has directed and performed in numerous stage productions, most notably as part of UP Broad Ass. Immediately after graduating cum laude from UP Diliman with a degree in Broadcast Communication, he joined the advertising industry as a freelance production staff for TV commercials for a couple of years and later started Bodega Productions, an event coverage company, with three others. He is now Apprentice Assistant Director to fellow Waray, Melvin Lee. Despite having many irons in the fire, Longjas enjoys the challenge of an occasional video contest, which he almost always takes by storm.
“Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin” is written by Ronald Allan Habon whose collaboration with Longjas dates back to their Broad Ass days. As reflected in their stage plays, e.g. Oble is tat chu? Alien Vs Premetev, Langit Lupa Infirmary?, both are adept at tackling social and political issues through comedy.