'Run' director on people who cannot accept gays: 'Stop meddling with us'

Keann Johnson (right) and JR Versales

Mel Magno, director of the Filipino gay movie "Run," may sound like a broken record when he made a strong appeal to the public to treat gays with respect.

"Stop meddling with us if you cannot accept us. Kung ayaw ninyo sa amin, well, the feeling is mutual. Let's just learn to respect one another. You want us to respect you, then respect us," said Magno during an interview for the press preview of the film "Run" which will be shown on KTX.PH starting Jan. 22.

Keann Johnson

Magno said that this is the message his movie wants to convey to the public - respect one another. He expressed disappointment that he still hears or reads stories of gays who are no accepted by their families, office mates or friends. Magno revealed he was hit by his father several times when he was younger because he's gay.

"Lumaki ako sa bugbog. Naglayas ako. Tumira ako sa palengke by Blumentritt. Tapos kinagat pa iyong mukha ko ng daga. Nangyari ito dahil bakla ako," he added.

Magno also called on filmmakers to stop making fun of gay people in the movies.

"Bakit seryoso ang 'Run'? Seryoso ang buhay ng bakla. Tama na yung mga ginagawang katatawanan ang mga bakla! I am not a caricature. I am a thinking individual. In fact, I have a 125 IQ baka hindi nila alam. So ayokong gawin ninyo akong katatawanan. Seryoso ako. Intellectual ako. Meron akong karapatan para igalang ninyo," he said. "Kung ayaw ninyo akong igalang, then fine. Leave me alone!"

The theater director said that the movie "Run" is a combination of his personal experiences as a gay person and his opinions about homosexuality.

"Combinaton ito ng aking mga pananaw at ng aking personal experience (on being gay). So ito sana yun gusto kong maging. Ayaw ninyo kami pero dapat kaming mag exist. Mag-e-exist kami pero ayaw ninyo sa amin pero gusto ninyo tanggapin namin kayo? Hindi puwede yun."

"Run," which plays about 2 hours, stars Keann Johnson and JR Versales. It's the story of Gene who is the only child of a military official. His father never appreciates his efforts because he is gay. He runs away to save his life. Gene bumps into Mark who is also running away from his past. They developed a relationship but their past continues to haunt them.

Mel Magno (center) and the cast of 'Run'

Magno also said that he is not sold to the idea of fighting for gay rights. 
"Bakit kailangan pang ipaglaban ang gay rights?  Where is justice? I am also demanding social justice. Gusto namin magmahalan, gusto namin magsama, pakialam ninyo?" he said.

"Kung may complain kayo tungkol sa amin, sa Diyos kayo magtanong kung bakit kami ganito," he said.

Also featured on the movie are the heart-wrenching songs composed by Magno. "Fourteen of my compositions are featured in this film. Kapag gumagawa ako ng kanta, dapat maiiyak ako sa song para mapatunayan ko sa sarili ko na effective yung composition ko."