Director Mikhail Red on the set of the movie
Photo by Honey Orio-Escullar
Dead Kids stars going through separation anxiety
Honey Orio-Escullar (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Dead Kids, the first full-length feature produced by Globe Studios, is on its way to cinemas soon after the final scenes were completed recently at an exclusive high school in Quezon City.

“Yes, there is sepanx (separation anxiety),” said Khalil Ramos with fellow cast members Sue Ramirez, Vance Larena, Kelvin Miranda, Jan Silverio nodding in agreement when asked about their working experience during the 10-day filming of the thriller directed by Mikhail “Mik” Red. Dead Kids also stars Markus Paterson and Gabby Padilla.

Newbie actor Jan admitted that he and Kapuso actor Kelvin were also feeling emotional when they realized that it was already the last shooting day of Dead Kids.

Kelvin, trying to hide his emotions, said, “I will miss everyone. Sobrang masaya po lahat and we never had a problem on the set. I will miss our bonding moments and our friendship.”

The actors were also all praises for direk Mik for being a “cool director” despite the pressures of helming two movies at the same time — Dead Kids and Block Z, which stars Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia. The 27-year-old filmmaker doesn’t mind shuttling between the two movie sets.

“Chill lang siya,” said Khalil. “Even when we were talking about the script and the characters, he really gave us freedom as actors. Sobrang collaborative and I enjoy working with him and the super talented crew. We really had no idea if what we were doing was right during our first few days… but eventually, tuloy-tuloy na.”

Kelvin agreed, “You won’t feel tired at all because he’s easy to work with. Direk Mik doesn’t get mad. Sasabihin niya sayo nang maayos if he has suggestions so you would really understand. So, there’s no pressure at all.”

Jan added that they were like a barkada on the set. “I think it helped na halos magkaka-age kami so super enjoy, super happy.”

...and during the pocket presscon with the cast (from left) Vans Larena, Sue Ramirez, Jan Silverio, Kelvin Miranda and Khalil Ramos

For her part, Sue said, “We really feel appreciated. He would always thank us whenever we did our scenes appropriately even if it’s not necessary because it’s part of our job.”

“He’s very encouraging,” shared Vance. “The way he affirms us that we are doing something right gives us encouragement. It feels good as an artist at mas makakabuhay na mag-perform that’s why we’re so thankful to him.”

Direk Mik, who never denied that directing an ensemble cast is challenging, said, “It was fun working with them, even though actually nabubugbog (ako) because I’m doing two movies. But every time I was on the Dead Kids (set), the energy was so high, (it was) super happy, very light and more collaborative, I guess. This is a new experience for me, new learning experience but at the same time, I’m enjoying the challenge (because) I love exploring different genres.

Stressing that Dead Kids is not the typical barkada film, the young director said, “Every project (is an) opportunity to learn so it’s a super fun experience and the Filipino audience will enjoy this because we are (changing) the barkada film.” 

Loosely based on a real-life kidnapping event, Dead Kids tells the story of a group of high school misfits who plans a kidnap-for-ransom plot targeting the school’s alpha jock, the son of a wealthy narco-politician.

“We wanted to do something that was not seen yet — a heist, youth kidnap thriller set in high school,” said direk Mik. “And because it’s a Filipino movie, hindi maiiwasan yung subtext na political climate dito so it’s a perspective coming from the privileged kids in the age of EJK or crime in the Instagram generation. It’s a black comedy youth thriller which I conceptualized, while my younger brother Nikolas (wrote) the screenplay.”

As for the film’s message for the moviegoers, he said: “For the Gen Z, they should open their eyes on what’s around them. Life is bigger than high school in a very general sense. It’s a cautionary tale.”

Isn’t he pressured to at least equal if not surpass Eerie, the blockbuster film which he also helmed?

Direk Mik said, “Hindi naman siguro. I just enjoy the process of making genre movies for Filipino audiences so for me that’s what comes first.”

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