Game Changers: Maricel Laxa, Donny Pangilinan team up in esports film

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For the first time, veteran actress Maricel Laxa will share the screen with her son, young star Donny Pangilinan.

The two are set to collaborate on the first-ever esports movie "GG," portraying the roles of well, mother and son.

During a recent media conference, Maricel emphasized the movie's relevance in this day and age.

She pointed out that it's not just about controllers and keyboards; it's about the heart of the home and the stories that unfold within its walls.

They aim to demonstrate that, when balanced, gaming can strengthen family bonds, encourage friendly competition, and lead to great achievements.

Maricel posed a question, "We wanted to be relevant. Sino sa inyo ang walang katanungan tungkol sa nangyayaring involvement ng bawat miyembro ng pamilya sa mga gadgets, sa mga games and esports? Sino sa inyo ang walang issue dito?"

So now, when they were presented with a story involving esports, they took the time to carefully consider its relevance.

"Kung makakasagot kami ng kahit na isang tanong lang na magpapatawid sa mga magulang at mga anak tungkol sa mga katanungan na ito parang kahit papaano may na achieve na kami ng kahit konting connect. Kasi di ba sa ngayon importante sa atin yung may connection tayo" she related.

Maricel stressed the significance of people being connected both online and offline.

"So yung mga magulang magtataka, 'Bakit hindi kami connected ng anak ko online, di nila ako fina-follow?' Connected ba kayo offline? Kasi kung hindi, hindi rin kayo magiging connected online," she pointed out.

"So ito yung hope namin na sa movie na ito maging relevant kami sa lahat ng miyembro sa pamilya at mabigyan namin ng voice ang esports community na misjudge in so many ways," she stressed. "Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon na magkaroon din sila ng sariling voice para ipakita na may relevance din sila."

The story centers around aspiring pro-gamer Seth (Donny) being compelled to live with his estranged mother Iya (Maricel) and secretly lead his underdog esports team TBB (Tokwa't Bad Bois), all while mourning the loss of his beloved grandmother (Boots Anson-Roa).

According to Maricel, a few days before they began filming, the team had her play some games so she could better understand what the gamers go through.

So how was the experience?

She mentioned experiencing vertigo after playing.

"Tapos ang bagal ko pala, ang mga reflexes ko," she said.

But above all, Maricel noted how she gained a newfound respect for gamers and those involved in the esports community.

"Dahil it takes a lot of skills, a lot of courage, determination, and discipline to be able to excel in this field. And my hats off to you," Maricel declared.

She admitted, "Ako ay guilty na kapag nakikita ko ang mga anak ko na palaging nasa phone nila, nakakapag-judge ako na hindi sila dapat diyan lang na matagal. Pero salamin din yun ng mga ginagawa ko sa phone ko. How much time do I put using phone or my gadgets? Kung meron guidelines and boundaries na na-set yung magulang together..."

Maricel believes that in their family, they were able to establish "good boundaries" that they all agreed on.

"And that's the important. Anything na hindi niyo napag-uusapan na nawala sa control will be bad. So I really encourage parents and children to have healthy communication when it comes to gadgets and esports."

"GG" features an original FPS game called Requiem, modeled after a neo-Manila far in the future.

The film, which is written and directed by Prime Cruz, is being brought to life by the collaborative efforts of Cignal Entertainment, Create Cinema, and Meadiaworks Inc., the company owned by Maricel's husband, Anthony Pangilinan.

Overseeing the creative production of the movie is Maricel's daughter, Hannah Pangilinan.