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17 January 2014

Alvin Yapan, "2013 Director of the Year" (Brun Philippines Critics' Choice)

Picture taken from the director's
Facebook Page
For screenwriter and director Alvin Yapan, 2013 had its highs and lows, one low to be precise.  In the middle of the year, Yapan offered us the sensory “Debosyon,” a film that often had to take a back seat to more publicized films du jour like “Transit,” (our entry to the Oscars) and the much-hyped “OTJ.” However, unlike the aforementioned films, “Debosyon” has something much more to offer if only the audience would have the patience to peer through the layers.  Unfortunately, in October, Yapan backpedalled and gave us “Gaydar,” an infuriating cute comedy that was obviously rushed and meant to reel in more mainstream audience. “Gaydar” is still entertaining but it made some of us go, “Oh no he didn’t! Damn! Oh yes he did!” He pertains to Yapan. 

Top: Yapan directs Agot Isidro in "Mga
Anino ng Kahapon." / Bottom: with Mara
Lopez shooting in Mount Mayon for
"Debosyon." (Images taken from

the films' Facebook pages)
Thankfully, by the end of the year, Yapan gave us “Mga Anino ng Kahapon,” which is as multi-layered as “Debosyon.”  As always, the surface is just a deceptive design, and in “Mga Anino ng Kahapon,” Yapan made a daring critique about Philippine society. The film is not just about schizophrenia.  To hover around the obvious is to miss much about Yapan’s work. 

You cannot consider Yapan as belonging to the current purveyors of slow cinema. Yapan does not need a long time to get his narrative through, his camera lingers when it needs to be, and quickly shifts into fast gear and disappear if warranted.  In a way, Yapan does not burden his audience with slow cinema with its obsession about time and length just to be artsy; primarily, he is a tapestry maker. His films are like tapestry: heavy pieces of cloth that have many things woven into it. The longer you stare, the more the tapestry reveals to you.

Yapan is an auteur with his very own style. Despite “Gaydar,” Yapan still stands out as one of the finest directors we have.  Brun Philippines chose Alvin  Yapan as its 2013 Director of the Year.


Film and Television Works in 2013
Debosyon” (writer, director)
“Titser: TV Mini-series” (writer, director)
Gaydar” (writer, director)
Mga Anino ng Kahapon” (writer, director)

Best Performances in Filipino Films 2013 (Critics' and Readers' Poll)


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