‘Basta Gagradweyt Tayo’ teaches us lessons beyond the classroom

Published March 9, 2021, 2:59 PM

by John Legaspi

Led by a 20-year-old student, this miniseries was shot entirely during the pandemic

Endria Silva as Airah and Esau Villamor as Raffy

In our pre-pandemic time, even before the K-12 era, the month of March is the make it or break it month for any high school student in senior class. It is where all the rush happens. Classmates running to submit requirements, the endless signature teachers give, ultimately leading to that moment when you can finally say, “This is it. Goodbye, high school.”

But apart from the academic frenzy, it is also the month where we get to be brave and feel quite clingy with our best buds. After all, it is the last time before anyone gets to jump to college. In the last days prior to graduation, we felt that there wasn’t enough time for us to spend with our buddies. You roam the hallways while reminiscing on what happened on each corner in the past years. You tend to do crazy things, just for the sake of that final hurray moment (For this author, it was riding for the first time. I know, not that crazy). 

That’s what this local miniseries “Basta Gagradweyt Tayo” is all about—the rush, the brave, and the crazy moments before you throw that hat in the air. But while our commencement exercise is the dawn of our road to real maturity, for the characters of the show, it was the moments before their graduation where they get a taste of what real life is, complete with secrets, crime, and hidden agenda—an ideal situation we want to see the youth in.

Written and directed by Leighton Aiden Angcan, “Basta Gagradweyt Tayo” centers it story on two seniors: Airah, who is on a mission to help her crush graduate, and Raffy, the crush who is the very definition of the word angst. What may seem a cliché high school tale took a different path that would leave you questioning what would your young self do if you wound up in that situation.

Filmed in the middle of the pandemic. The miniseries uses Aristotle’s quote, “The way human beings do things is by making rational choices,” as a form of warning sign for the events to come. But drawing a full circle to Aristotle’s thought, the show gives a conclusion to the phrase “what is worth doing for the sake of what” in a cool, fun, and indie kind of manner, with the perfect OST to match. 

Leighton Aiden Angcan

To shed more light about the show, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with Leighton, a 20-year-old first year BS Biology student in San Pedro College, Davao, as he tells us his inspiration for the miniseries and his life during the pandemic. 

What’s the inspiration behind ‘Basta Gagradweyt Tayo’? How long did you work on it?

The idea of “Basta Gagradweyt Tayo” was born when I got frustrated with my online classes. The new way of learning frustrated me to the point that I had to reassess myself if I could even bear all of this up until I graduate. Honestly, online classes are mentally draining and students are also being dumped with heavy workloads. It’s also an undeniable fact that some institutions are showing lack of competence and compromises in this new normal. Ergo, I came up with a coming-of-age idea that would tackle defects in the educational sector. This film wasn’t really done in a tedious process. It took me two days to finish the draft script and I developed the story while we were in the middle of shoots.

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Why did you choose to do it in a series format than a film?

I have been making miniseries ever since and I personally think that I like how I’m able to play with its format more than film. Fortunately for me though, during the course of quarantine, episodic shows became popular online thanks to BL and other series that are available to watch on Youtube for free. So, I immediately took the chance and joined the hype as well.

Why is it important for artists to create even during the pandemic?

Being in a pandemic is absolutely draining for artists especially with postponed projects or having limited resources in making their craft. But in this new normal, creatives are given new ways to express themselves and continue making art. I believe that it’s important to continue making art because we’ll never be certain when all of this is going to end. They say the pandemic isn’t a practical time to produce art, but in these times that we live in, waiting for a more practical time would be like waiting in vain. 

What do you aim for the audience to feel after watching the miniseries?

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With the message I wanted to address in the film, I wanted the audience to be disturbed after watching it. I hope that they’d get to ponder and think about the underlying issues presented in the story and that it will have an impact on them.  

What can the viewers expect next from you and the show?

As of now, we have no plans for a new series since I definitely have a limited budget to produce another one. Still, I never stop writing film ideas that come into my head. I have screenplay drafts here waiting for the perfect time to be produced.

How can people help you with your future projects?

I accept sideline commissions and gigs in photo/video shoots to make money that I’ll be using in making my next projects. I’d be very happy to accept photo/video works or get to have producers fund for my future films.

[email protected] (LA Films) | [email protected] (Personal Email) | Facebook: Facebook: L.A. Films | Instagram: @films.la

Stills and images from Leighton Aiden Angcan.

Watch the first episode of ‘Basta Gagradweyt Tayo’ here: