• Down ‘Bang Bang Alley’; and into ‘Serangoon Road’

    Karen Kunawicz

    Karen Kunawicz

    Bang Bang Alley, the set of short films by Ely Buendia, King Palisoc and Yan Yuzon had its world premiere September 25 at the University of the Philippines Cine Adarna. It seemed like one big party with lots of students, fans, bands, food—and for myself a micro reunion of the early ‘90s scene at Club Dredd Timog.

    After the screening, Ely, who was also a producer of the film said we were more than welcome to share our comments on the film—especially the negative ones. Honest opinions from “friends and peers” would help improve their craft.

    There were certainly highlights and areas that needed tweaking. Maybe it would take a meeting with a small notebook over a cup of coffee or time taken with a few exchanges over Facebook to go through what I thought of Bang Bang Alley.

    What I can say here is that at the end of the day, I’m happy that Ely, King, Yan, Rudy, Vic, Day and company have thrown their hats into the arena. It is a great time to be watching Filipino-made films.

    Because this group has such a fun vibe about them, and they have their own network of creative friends and followers they are able to inspire more thinking filmmakers to keep the ball rolling and a previously unimpressed segment of the local audience to go watch Filipino films again. Stick around for word on a commercial run for Bang Bang Alley.

    HBO also recently premiered a new series based in 1960’s Singapore, called Serangoon Road. It is co-produced by an Australian outfit and features a lot of Asian talent. Joan Chen who I remember from The Last Emperor and one of my favorite series from the ‘90s, “Twin Peaks” is in a lead role as a detective agency owner.

    I got a chance to do a quick interview with Alaric Tay about his character, Kang, a former communist who forms a bond with main character, ex-military officer Sam Callaghan. Kang runs a shady business out of a bumboat and has a gambling problem.

    Did being a comedian help you play Kang?

    “The role of Kang calls for an occasional dash of humor, so it was quite ideal that I found myself in that role.”

    What ingredients did you put into the mix to play a rogue and risk-taker like Kang?

    “I used to have schoolmates who were hooligans, or gangsters if you like, I actually did spend some time speaking to them about their life back then. Part of the design for Kang was using bit and pieces of their mannerisms and adopting some of their language.”

    How do you feel being part of an HBO series? I know you are a fan of Band of Brothers?

    Very satisfied. It feels almost like I’m sharing the stage with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

    Good to know HBO has opened the doors to these types of productions. Hopefully they’ll consider a series based in the Philippines. The stories they could tell.

    * * *

    Serangoon Road premieres a new episode every Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.


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