For controversial director Darryl Yap, 'Every bash is cash'

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
For controversial director Darryl Yap, 'Every bash is cash'
Director Darryl Yap (left); Ella Cruz in a scene from 'Gluta'
The STAR / File; Viva Films via YouTube, screen grab

MANILA, Philippines — In his two years since his debut full-length feature "Jowable" in 2019, Darryl Yap has managed to elicit strong reactions, some condemnation, on the subject matter and promotion of his films.

The controversial director chooses to brush aside the bashing he consistently gets whenever he releases a new film, lending it to his experience in social media by seeing it pragmatically as it is — every bash is cash.

The 34-year-old director is currently one of Viva's busiest filmmakers.

In February, "Tililing" was caught in a controversy that had celebrities like actress Liza Soberano calling out his attention. Yap said it was a film that shed light on mental health but his movie's poster was criticized because some saw it as misrepresentation of people who suffer from the illness.

Related: Darryl Yap defends ‘Tililing’ after psychology major Liza Soberano criticizes movie poster

Prior to the July 2 release of "Gluta," he's again called up for practicing "blackface," a form of makeup done by non-black performers in the 19th century that is now seen as highly offensive.

"Gluta" stars Ella Cruz, who plays an Aeta that dreams of becoming a beauty queen. 

Related: Darryl Yap under fire anew for his movie 'Gluta'

Before he was signed with the major film company, he was at the helm of VinCentiments, a group that produces plays and short films. It currently has 4.3 million Facebook followers while its YouTube channel has 1.62 million subscribers.

Among its most popular projects is the 2018 short film version of "Jowable" that Viva eventually made into a movie starring Kim Molina.  

Yap stressed that he is not aiming to be edgy but attributes it to the environment he grew up in and to his lack of film schooling. The latter, he said, is an advantage for him since he is not confined to following a system or a school of thought.

He further shed light on his filmmaking during the storycon for his "69+1," an upcoming film that explores the concept of throuple or polyamorous relationships. It stars Janno Gibbs, Rose Van Ginkel and Maui Taylor.

"Being a batang '90s in Olongapo, I'm soaked in a very liberal thinking about the sex trade. Nakaka-shock sa audience, normal sa akin. Bash sa akin, kibit balikat lang ako," he replied when asked if it was deliberate on his part to "push the envelope" when it comes to making films. 

"Is it deliberate? I guess 50-50. Now, I know nakaka-offend. As filmmaker coming from the social media (socmed) industry, gamay ko na socmed, na ang bawat bash ay cash. Naniniwala ako the engagement, discussion is actually very beneficial to my bank account and promo of the film," he said.

He reiterated that he's not out to annoy people by coming up with these controversial films. Yap believes it just happens that his films manage to raise the brows of a few people.

He also believes that his films are a reflection of our society.

"Sa sobrang pagiging politically correct natin, people will tag me as problematic eh. They always say I am problematic. Well, for me, film is a reflection of society and whenever I expose a problem, they call me problematic. Society is problematic and my films are just a reflection of it," he said during the recent virtual presscon of "Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam."

The latter reunites him with his "Jowable" lead star Kim Molina who plays Tasya, a woman diagnosed with the rare condition called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain. It also stars Jerald Napoles, a nameless character born with cleft palate.

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