INCinema's "WALANG TAKE TWO" bags 2 nominations at the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema London 2016

Filipino independent filmmakers are continuously getting recognition abroad. Pinoy indie film “Walang Take Two” (international title: “No Second Take”) has been nominated in the upcoming eight-day International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema London 2016 (February 19-26) in two categories: Best Comedy and Best Director of a Foreign Film for Carlo Jay Cuevas. The movie will screen to international audience on February 19th at the festival’s venue: Inn Express London Docklands, 1 Silvertown Way, Canning Town, London, with the awarding ceremony commencing on the 26th.

In “Walang Take Two,” a frustrated, ambitious, self-centered and narcissistic filmmaker named Hapi (John Stevenson Tabangay) has finally finished writing the screenplay of his first ever indie film—which he believes is a masterpiece. Overeager, he enlists the help of his best friends, the comical Caloy (Erbil Escaño) and the voice of reason, Onyok (Edward Rudolph Flores), to make his dream movie. The only problem is, they have no budget to produce it.

Residing in a poverty stricken community that is highly dependent on the Indian 5-6 cash loan system, which includes his own sister Rowena (Joyce Gabion), Hapi, out of desperation, finally resorts to borrowing money from the community’s main Indian lender, Alfajor. However, things become worse for Hapi when his nemesis, the neighborhood midget thug named Oblax (Dennis Ray Garcia), steals his borrowed money.

Adding to Hapi’s frustration is his elderly father, Mang Julian (Virgilio Reyes), a former wedding videographer, who he feels is a great nuisance and a hindrance to his artistic pursuits. Deep in debt, burdened by his father, his dream movie project put on hold, and a seemingly bleak future with his current love interest, Cherry (Kimberly Cordero), it looks like Hapi will soon be taught a life lesson he will never forget.

Story and direction by Carlo Jay Cuevas, whose previous works include directing television documentaries, “Walang Take Two” is a relevant social commentary on Philippine culture, with emphasis on moral values. 

Cuevas’ clever and unpretentious treatment produced a hilarious dramedy, hitting all your emotional spots at the precise moment. A fictional story based on reality, it inspires not just a cultural examination, but also self-examination—without ever resorting to preaching.

Set in the densely populated Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila almost reminiscent of Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” we get an intimate glimpse of the townsfolk and their everyday lives, the movie painting a vivid picture of urban life.

The film is brimming with wit—the humor based on human folly and weaknesses, which makes it relevant and universal. But the main beauty of the film is the flawed protagonist. The selfish Hapi, played with effective nuances by Tabangay, earns our emotional connection. He picks up lessons on life as he goes after his dream—and we unavoidably learn with him. He may be cocky but we sympathize with his pain, his failures, his burden, and his heartbreak.

Alfajor, the Indian money lender, played by Tapalla with much bravado, is a pleasure to watch, hilarious in his irritation and frustration with folks that borrow money but never pay him back.

In an age when a chunk of Filipino indie films promote immorality or hedonism, “Walang Take Two” is a refreshing change. Rarely such an indie film that comes along that is clean fun yet intelligent and socially aware. This film is proof that you can derive entertainment from wholesome comedies and that wit is possible in a values-oriented film.

And among the issues on poverty, lack of self-discipline, and worldly ambitions, as well the affectionate poke at Filipino culture, the heart and soul of the film is Hapi’s relationship with his elderly father—the most touching part of the story. The father-and-son element of “Walang Take Two” sends a powerful message about how we treat our own parents.

“Walang Take Two” was produced by independent outfit INCinema and premiered in September 2015 in select cinemas in the Philippines and abroad.

It is a rich, playful, unpredictable, and intelligent comedy about life’s mini tragedies and lessons. Playful and somber, light and painful, riotous and deeply touching, the film will resonate long after you’ve left the cinemas.