In August 2018, VinCentiments director Darryl Yap uploaded Virgin Marie, a short film described on YouTube as “a simple short film shot and edited in 6 hours.” Clocking in at just under three minutes, it is one of Darryl’s shorter works—and his most controversial.
The film opens with an adage: “Hindi nagsisinungaling ang bata.” Cut to a little girl, Marie, about 9 or 10 years old, crying as she reveals that her father has been abusing her sexually. Just as she gets to the end of her testimony, there is a twist—the whole thing is an elaborate lie set up by a lawyer to win the case. The film ends on a subversive note: “Nagsisinungaling ang bata.”
Like many of Darryl’s other works, Virgin Marie went viral—but not for the reasons of heartbreak or humor. This time, it was anger and indignation.
Criticisms from various groups poured in after Darryl released Virgin Marie (above). But what hurt him most were the false accusations being hurled his way by bashers. “I just cant handle the bashing. Some things that are not true are really hurtful din, like I have AIDS daw, I have sexual harassment cases daw because pinagtatangol ko yong mga [abuser].”
“That’s the only film that I shed tears for,” he recalls. “Sinulatan po kasi ako nila Sen. Pia Hontiveros, ng United Nations, ng UNICEF, at ng mga human rights group, Darryl recalls. Aside from letters, criticisms came in the form of tweets, think pieces, and statements from various groups, including nthe Council for the Welfare of Children, which said that the film “erroneously portrays children victims of rape as someone who can be easily manipulated.”
Darryl, who is no stranger to criticism, acknowledged their concerns but remained steadfast that he would not take down his film. (Though the film was taken down by Facebook, it remains up on YouTube).
He explains his reasons for defending the film: “Based on a true story yon, e…I know people na nagagamit ’yong gano’ng usapin para madiin ’yong mga taong wala namang kaso, I mean ’yong wala namang kasalanan, para magkaroon ng kaso.”
Besides, he adds, “I was once told that na kapag gagawa ng pelikula wag kang mag-expect na magbigay ng sagot, mag-raise ka lang ng maraming tanong.
“So I guess Virgin Marie is effective kung gano’n po ’yong nangyari.”
Controversial works aside, it can’t be denied that Darryl has become one of the most talked-about young directors in the social media age. With demonstrated writing skill, multiple filmmaking awards under his belt, and a sizable following on Facebook and Twitter, he’s ready for his next step: writing and directing his first-ever mainstream film.
The KPL director is currently signed with Viva Films, the outfit that brought to cinemas hits like Miss Granny (2018), Camp Sawi (2016), and Diary ng Panget (2014), among many others. Says Darryl, he was inclined to accept Viva’s offer ever since he believed that they would respect his artistic freedom.
“I actually was rooting for Viva because I know they have this nose and heart for starting directors that are very experimental, irreverent… so sabi ko if I’m going to do a mainstream movie it will be Viva.”
The newbie director is also proud to say that his first mainstream movie may be coming sooner than later—and that it would be based on one of his most popular short films.
“I never actually realized that I would get to direct it instantly,” he says with a laugh. “Parang iniisip ko lang, I get to write it at first… pero I did the pitching already and they are interested with Jowable, to have it in mainstream.”
Does he think that going mainstream might dull the spirit of his work? After all, mainstream movies sporting his brand of humor are few and far in between—and if they do exist, few of them meet the level of profitability one expects from a commercial film.
And yet, he doesn’t seem fazed.
PERSTAYM | TAYMPERS
“Perstaym | Taympers” A Darryl Yap ShortFilm • the original version of this short film got 1 Million Views in 10 hours• the team opted to adjust a certain element to lessen friction not only for the page but for the viewers themselves as they examine the film. - Now, a simple short film shot and edited in 6 hours by SAWAKAS SHORTS and VinCentiments main man Vincent L. Asis This is SAWAKAS AGAW-EKSENA PROJECT, translating original stage performances to short films. Starring SAWAKAS Frontliner Trisha Lopez at SAWAKAS Bagong Tuklas @John Henry John Henry D. Villanueva Special thanks to Novelty Singer Maricel for the Song “Ang Sarap Sarap ng ginawa mo” composed by Edith Gallardo and Moy Ortiz • if FB decides to delete, then I guess We just have to let it go • #SAWAKAS #AGAWEKSENA6 #PERSTAYMTAYMPERSPosted by VinCentiments on Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Perstaym Taympers centers on a young couple and their failed plan to have sex on their anniversary. The original version of the film included a joke that a certain religious group deemed inappropriate. Though Darryl eventually cut the line from the film, he believes that he shouldn’t have to do so. “When you edit films that are originally part of your art, you’ll be editing yourself.”
“Kung-mag mainstream ako at ganito ang dadalhin ko, I already told Viva management na I’ll be like that. ‘Ito po ang gusto, ganito po ang gusto ko,’ ganyan ganyan.
“Sabi lang nila sa akin, ‘Of course because it’s mainstream it will be viewed by many people, so you have this extra responsibility… the main reason we got you in Viva is because of your irreverence. And we like that courage, we like the fearlessness, so you just have to continue that.’
“I guess I have to once in a while, you know, to make sunod to policies. It will not hurt naman as long as it will not be to the detriment of my freedom as an artist.”
KUNG PUWEDE LANG
“I give that connotation… na parang galit ako sa mundo. Hindi naman,” says Darryl in the middle of our interview.
These days, the director is kept busy by his filmmaking projects, especially those slated for release on VinCentiments. The Facebook page recently hit 1 million followers, a big achievement considering it only started getting up steam a few months ago.
In short, he has plenty of reasons to be happy, unlike what his viral video series KPL might suggest. Taken from the perspectives of a student, an employee, and a teacher, the rants in KPL reflect the real-life experiences of people that Darryl personally know. But the director clarifies: “Hindi naman din ’yon ang rants ko, to be honest.”
KPL 2: Resbak Kakak is a direct response to the first video in the viral series. Inspired by the real-life experiences of his parents, who are both teachers, Darryl wrote line after line detailing the hardships of educators everywhere. Darryl says of his parents: “Bata pa lang ako sumuko na silang kontrolin ako e... Ano lang kami, lagi lang nila akong pinapaalalahanan na not all people will understand you, especially this kind of public audience on social media.”
At the end of it all, it doesn’t really matter who said the rants, but how true the rants are. Darryl has since realized that this is the reason his videos go viral so quickly, nudity or profanity aside. They go viral for their honesty, for their raw expression of pent-up emotions. Kung Puwede Lang.
Darryl recalls: “No’ng ginawa namin yong KPL 1 ang daming suggestions, page message, comments na gumawa rin kayo ng video ng emplayado, gawa din kayo ng, ang dami, gawa din kayo ng hindi nagbabayad ng utang, gawa din kayo ng video ng tsismosa, puro rant.
“So makikita ko na, maybe, I’m not the angry person. Maybe the public is the angry sector. So maybe that’s why we [become a] hit. Because [the public] is full of angst.
“And the rants, I just voice it out. Parang gano’n.”