Food poisoning, exhaustion and the saga of 'Rakenrol'

More than a year ago, director Quark Henares had a clear idea of what "Rakenrol," his currently showing film, would be about.

“At first we wanted people to see what our life was like, as musicians. How we don’t make money at all and play in the worst places. But when you become a part of the scene, it becomes a part of you forever. It becomes about the family and the friendships you make, and that never goes away,” said the maverick filmmaker in an exclusive online interview with Yahoo! Philippines OMG!

As the son of the owner of the now defunct rock station, NU 107, Henares grew up listening to prerty much everything NU played and had a unique vantage point of the local band scene. Aside from eventually forming his own bands, Blast Ople and Us-2 Evil-0, Henares went on to direct  music videos of the very bands he listened and admired.

Among those bands was Sandwich whose guitarist, Diego Castillo had forged a close bond with Quark due to their similar passion for music and films—a friendship that would eventually lead to the making of the film. 

Glaiza sings Velvet Underground


“For some weird reason I just went up to Diego one day and said, ‘Let's make a movie.’ So more or less we developed it together. We churned the script out really fast, maybe over a period of four to five months as most of the things in the film were anecdotes we’d tell each other or from old scripts we were writing,” the 31-year-old director recalled.

Described as “a heartfelt ode to the underground scene," "Rakenrol" follows the adventures of two outsiders (Jason Abalos and Glaiza De Castro) who, like the filmmakers themselves, find a larger family among the outcasts that populate the local indie music scene. They decide to form a band and encounter all sorts of characters and mishaps along the way.

“Glaiza was the last in a long line of actresses who were auditioning for [the female lead] Irene, most of them more popular than her. By that time I asked her to sing a song, instead of the usual Alicia Keys track she asked if she could sing Velvet Underground. I jumped up in my seat. I knew she’d be the one,” Quark revealed.

Even with the inspired casting and more ideas than the film’s two-hour running time can accommodate, the intended 12-day shoot of "Rakenrol" took up to 13 months to complete. Yes, this was Quark’s and Diego’s own "Apocalypse Now."

Murphy's Law ruled the set


Though Henares took breaks along the way so he could make money to fund the movie, "Rakenrol" was beset by snags. "Murphy’s Law ruled our set," he said.  "Locations closed, clothes were lost. At one point, the whole crew got food poisoning. The movie took so goddamn long to make that the mission statement suddenly changed. I realized when it was finished that almost all the places we shot in, save [the rock and roll bar] uSaguijo, were gone. 'Rakenrol' suddenly became this time capsule of what we used to be like.”

And it’s a time capsule that neither Henares nor Castillo want to revisit anytime soon. 

“I think we’ve said all we’ve had to say about the rock scene," said Henares, who is now spending the next two years on his MBA at the University of Southern California. He found the experience of making "Rakenrol" so exhausting, he's thinking of not using any rock music in his next film.

"If this makes money I’ll produce Diego’s horror film, and we’ll hopefully work on different things in the future!”

Featuring original songs by Mikey Amistoso of Ciudad and Mong Alcaraz of Sandwich, "Rakenrol" is currently showing at most SM and Robinsons Cinemas nationwide.

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