Interview with Quark Henares, director of the musical comedy RAKENROL
SDAFF programmer Eric Lallana interviews director Quark Henares about his musical romantic comedy RAKENROL, which plays this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival.
How did the idea for RAKENROL come about?
My dad owned a rock music radio station, so as early as the age of 12 I was hanging out with the greats and going to underground clubs. Diego had an older brother who was a punk who’d bring him to shows, and played with bands since he was 16. After my movie Keka I wanted to make something that was less violent, and more fun. I figured it had been a long time since a young ensemble film was made in the Philippines, and I wanted to do something in that vein that was a bit more current and different.
What inspired you to make a movie on the underground music scene in the Philippines?
I was a music guy long before I was a film guy. In high school I managed bands, and eventually had one of my own. I also started out as a music video director, and I still direct music videos today. Diego plays guitar for one of the biggest bands in the Philippines: Sandwich. We had a weekly radio show that focused on indie rock, and during one of our episodes I just out of the blue blurted out, “Hey, let’s make a movie.” And that was that.
How did you and co-writer Diego Castillo come together to write the script for your film?
Diego and I have known each other for years. He’s actually the guy who got me into movies. When I was 12 he showed me Taxi Driver, Reservoir Dogs, and The Godfather. His girlfriend at the time, Myrene (who the main character Irene is based on) had a radio show that would play bands like Bikini Kill, Pavement, and The Pixies. Writing the script was second nature to us. We actually wish we documented the whole writing process because it was like doing our show. We’d finish each other’s sentences, mention people we both knew and things that have happened, reminisce a bit. It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that everything in RAKENROL actually had happened, or was said by someone we knew.
RAKENROL won the Audience Award back in early May at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. What elements or themes do you believe the audience related to so well in your film?
We were surprised that people outside the Philippines would actually be able to relate to the movie, because so much of what happens is culture- and location-specific. Foreign audiences would tell me, though, that a lot of what happens in the film is a universal experience. Talented guitarists around the world do end up serving you coffee, and everyone has at least one Jacci Rocha in their lives