Why Cinemalaya’s Best Picture is a ‘timely millennial movie’


Rapper Raymond Abracosa, also known as Abra, is still reeling from the success of his first movie venture as Cinemalaya’s Best Picture for 2017, “Respeto.”

The artist behind the hit single “Gayuma,” Abra’s role in the movie may not seem challenging on paper as he portrays the role of an amateur rapper named Hendrix. The part seems too close to home until Hendrix’s personal conflict ensues: the boy dreams of hip-hop greatness but is spiraling down a rabbit-hole of crime and poverty. He finds a friend in an old poet named Doc, who in turn is battling the trauma of Martial Law. Together, this pair of artistic souls tries to help each other make sense of their passion amid their cruel realities.

Rapper-cum-actor Abra

In this interview with Abra, he admits he never imagined how big the movie would become. Nevertheless, despite snagging top honors at the last Cinemalaya, he knows he needs to hurdle a whole new challenge as Respeto opens for commercial screening starting today. Like all other independent film players, he is aware that if an indie draws very little at the box office, cinemas are left with no choice but to cancel their screenings.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi mayroong major role na nakapatong sa balikat ko and nakaka-excite din [to show it commercially]on the other hand kasi lahat ng aspect ng movie—from cinematography to the execution and to my co-actors, lahat sobrang pinaganda,” Abra said during Respeto’s celebrity block screening at the Rockwell Powerplant Cinemas.

“Kahit wala naman yung prize ng Best Picture panalo na yung film para sa akin kaya plus-plus-plus talaga yung feeling ng kasiyahan ko,” he said of his first time acting experience and joining the Cinemalaya Festival.

Abra is further grateful for the positive feedback from netizens who saw Respeto and hopes these will encourage audiences to see it on its commercial run.


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