Posted February 12, 2017 by GP Manalo in Movies/TV

THE DIALOGUE: JP Habac and the Elusive Notion of ‘Forever’

For the past 8 years, filmmaker JP Habac has a knack for translating the harsh realities of our society through his own films; whether it is about the grievances of two children in a hostile environment, the parallels of human nature between street vendors and law enforcers, or simply one person questioning our own mortality. Now, he and his friend and writer, Giancarlo Abrahan steps in the shoes of two college best friends in “I’m Drunk, I Love You” in which they explore the painful side of unrequited love and growing up in this coming of age romantic comedy.  Flipgeeks was fortunate to sit down with him and his star, Paulo Avelino to talk about their newest film.

JP1FG: How would you describe your directing style?

JP: From the past short films that I have done parang nagpla-play around ako sa genre ng comedy – atleast ang iba’t ibang style ng comedy – tapos napansin ko rin dito sa Pilipinas ay ang mga Pilipino ay fond of watching comedies. Pero ang nakukulangan ako ay ang yung mga comedy films ay madalas saatin parang on the spot natatawa ka pero pag-uwi mo wala na. Oo, nakalimutan mo na ang problema mo pero sandali lang, parang walang na-instill sayo yung film. Parang tinake ko siya as a challenge sa pagawa ng comedies na mapapanood mo ay matatawa ka pero at the same time makakapag-isip ka. Parang on the spot matatawa ka pero napaisip ka “teka, bakit ako natawa ako dun pero hindi naman nakakatawa?” parang ganun. So I think ayun yung style na gusto kong paglaruan din.

This movie is sort of a “musical” as well but not in a way where people would burst into song out of nowhere. For those were familiar with the works of John Carney who made Begin Again, Once, and last year’s Sing Street. Of course the twist in this movie is that this movie would introduce some OPM flavor through local bands who are well known in the indie scene and some hidden treasures as well like Parokya ni Edgar, Jimmy Bondoc, Out of Body Special, and Ang Bandang Shirley among others.


FG:    What entices you to bring Independent Pinoy Music to your film?

JP: I’m a huge fan of musical films and it’s my dream to make a Filipino musical film featuring our own artists. But there was a time when there were films that feature music but characters don’t sing out of nowhere. That’s why I thought of doing something like Begin Again and Once, but featuring original Filipino music.

FG: How long did it take you to write the film?

JP: It all began with the title. Four years ago, I was drinking with friends, and yes, everyone was so drunk. A friend suddenly shouted, out of nowhere, “Nasaan siya? Hoy (name)! I’m drunk, I love you!” Few days later, I told her if I can use those words she shouted that night as a title for a film. I wrote the initial script of the film two years ago. But I felt that there’s something missing in the story, so I asked my friend, Giancarlo Abrahan, if he could write the film with me. And everything else kicked off from there.


FG:     Is it hard to achieve something like this film?

JP: Statistics show that youth nowadays are constantly looking for the right combination of being alone and being together to make themselves feel good. In a way, they find the need to fall in love to see certain things the way they are meant to be seen, although that love does not necessarily require being given to another person. Of course, to have that love for someone significant is equally thrilling and nice. But if we are too focused on finding that notion of ‘forever’ in terms of romantic love, it becomes more elusive. We can’t waste our time and our youth waiting for a single person to validate everything.

This is what inspired us to write the story. And this is how we want to inspire everyone else. We want people to realize the joy of discovering something new about themselves, and the simple pleasures brought about by small but meaningful things that do not require the presence of another person. We need to see and understand that while it is nice to be loved, happiness is still possible without someone else. You can be happy on your own with the love you give yourself. You deserve to be made to feel that you are enough, and that realization starts with you.

Director JP, reminisced the trials and tribulations he had faced in shooting this film in 10 days in a span of two months. Though he did not have any trouble at all, with half of the scenes are filmed in Quezon City and the others being in La Union. But really the only difficult part of filming as they said was the scenes that took place in a car with all of that heavy duty equipment stacked together.


JP2FG: This is a story about the painful side of love, why do you think the audience is so drawn to these kinds of stories?
JP: Diba sobrang daming millennials ngayon no? Pero nung sinusulat naman namin yung script hindi napasok sa isip namin kung ano yung target audience. Kasi nagsusulat lang kami kung ano ang maisip namin. Nagkataon lang din siguro na maganda ang pasok ng project nito kasi nga napapanahon tapos ang target market mo millennials and since nasa social media tayo ngayon parang ang ganda rin kasi laruan ang ibang elements katulad ng mga kanta, tapos dun din kasi sa pelikula may mga usapang lasing katulad ng mga artists na nafifeature sa magazine. Sobrang dami din ng ganun ngayon eh sa mga kabataan, at guilty ako dun.  So parang yung mga Instagram filters, pinaglaruan namin siya sa trailer para yung vibe niya ay maging youthful and millennial.

However this is more than just your typical love story; he stated that most of the romantic films in mainstream media are “in your face”. The idea of how these films portray elements such as happy endings entices him and his scriptwriter Giancarlo to play around the idea and begs the question of “kailangan nga ba magkatuluyan sila o kailangan lang ba na masaya sila?” making this film to be the edge among other films done locally whether it was an independent project or in mainstream media.  He described that the film is more of a ‘coming-of-age’ story in terms of these two leads facing life after college. But this delves onto more of a personal story to himself as well.
JP: “Kasi napansin ko rin sa mga millennials a hindi nila alam ang gusto nila sa buhay. Personally, naka tatlong courses ako nung college. Hindi ko nalaman kung ano ang gusto ko. Hanggang sa pag-graduate walang direksyon”

He put into contrast his personal story to the film on how “ang pagraduate nila sa pelikula at pag-graduate sa feelings mo to that person at yung pag-graduate sa college at humarap ang totoong buhay”

FG:     Was there any trouble at all to keep these deep, personal emotional feelings when you’re trying to piece together a film on-set and in the editing room?

Since all of my films are very personal to me, there was no any trouble at all to keep those “personal feelings” because I always make sure that I have a good grasp of the story that I’m telling.

FG:     What is it like to see the characters in your head be brought to life for the first time by your actors?

JP: One word: Surreal.

“I’m Drunk, I Love You” is set to release February 15, 2017!

GP Manalo

G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.