Kwentong Jollibee's 2021 short films explore love in the time of COVID-19
Scenes from 'LDR'
Jollibee Studios via YouTube, screenshot

Kwentong Jollibee's 2021 short films explore love in the time of COVID-19

Kathleen A. Llemit (Philstar.com) - February 15, 2021 - 7:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — It's that time of the year again for fans of the Kwentong Jollibee series as the fast food chain recently premiered the third episode for this year titled "Hero" on its YouTube channel Jollibee Studios.

Director Ianco Dela Cruz's teased about his latest entry in the wildy popular Valentine short film series.

"Although again, we still don't know what the third film will be," was his brief answer to this writer's question if it was a conscious effort for Jollibee to come out with less "masakit" (hurtful) films for this year.

This was his comment after Pepe Diokno, director of "First Date" released on February 8, shared that we need a break from 2020.

"I don't know but I think we can all agree that after 2020 we just want a lighter, happier 2021," Diokno remarked, being the first one to answer this writer's query.

And then he goes on quipping "parang may feels" on Dela Cruz's "Hero" poster where a man kisses the forehead of a woman with both of their eyes closed, their body language seemingly resigned.  

Dela Cruz has successfully made viewers cry in "Vow," that viral video in 2017 where there was a twist showing a guy not marrying his bestfriend after everything that they went through.

He again pinched the hearts of the hopeless romantics with last year's "Choice," where a woman who seems to be torn between two men in the beginning of the clip turned out to be facing a heartwrenching decision between letting go of the past and moving on with her present.

He, Diokno and Antoinette Jadaone, who directs her first Kwentong Jollibee film "LDR," all agreed that filming had a major shift due to the protocols in place. They had to be tested prior to being allowed to proceed with filming. Wearing of masks and face shields as well as making sure everything is sanitized are part of the protocols they have to follow.

While these are necessary to stop the virus from spreading, these were challenges as well because acting could be limited especially when it comes to facial expressions.

Dela Cruz shared his experience while filming "Hero."

"It was totally different kind of challenge because our story is right smack in the COVID era so a lot of protocols were in place but kami onscreen mo makikita, meaning lahat sila naka-mask, faceshields. So it was a very, very big challenge for the actors to emote with their eyes. That was the number one challenge for all of us. Luckily, we have very, very good talents. Both of them were very brilliant. Kahit mata lang ang nakikita, mapi-feel mo talaga yung emotions," he related.

The first two, "LDR" and "First Date," have already racked up millions in views.

"LDR" premiered last February 4. It follows the story of Brian and Mina who had to keep in touch with each other through any means possible to keep their love alive. It uses a cover of Parokya ni Edgar's "Your Song."

"The lyrics of 'Your Song' especially the chorus fits very sa story kasi parang ulong-sulo yung chorus noon. 'Yung buong message ng song ay kahit na umaatras ako, bumabalik pa rin ako sa'yo. Ganon din nangyari noong lockdown. We are all apart but because we found strength in love, we are still together even though magkalayo talaga sila," explained Jadaone.

"LDR" has over eight million views as of this writing.

Diokno's "First Date" is all about self-love and women empowerment. It follows Mara's days as she tries to cope and live by herself amid a pandemic. While learning new skills like fixing a broken faucet and flat tire, she discovers things about herself. It currently has 4 million views since its premiere last February 8.

Jollibee has already produced over 36 Kwentong Jollibee short films since its launch in 2017.

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