Manila, Philippines–A small film with a big heart, “Kiko Boksingero” (Kiko, The Boxer), a film by debuting full-length feature filmmaker Thop Nazareno, a multimedia arts graduate from the College of Saint Benilde, is one of this year’s top-grossing entries at the Cinemalaya: Philippine Independent Film Festival, which closes today at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and select Ayala mall cinemas.
Reviews have been generally positive: “The most endearing thing about ‘Kiko Boksingero’ is how it is so unafraid, as a film, to tell a simple story in a very simple manner. By being straightforward and removing unnecessary dramatics, ‘Kiko Boksingero’ finds its footing early and eventually rises beyond expectations,” wrote Wanggo Gallaga on Interaksyon.com.
Film critic Oggs Cruz, in his review, said, “Sure, it’s essentially the coming-of-age story of a boy who has been raised first by a sickly mother and then by a gentle nanny. However, beneath its mellow charms and elegantly depicted quirks is a sublime portrait of a childhood that is rendered incomplete by society’s expectations of what proper masculinity should be and the immaturity of a man who perceives fatherhood not as a duty but as a mere hobby.”
Inspired by his childhood friend whose untimely death happened while the story of “Kiko Boksingero” was still being developed, Nazareno told BWW Movies, “It’s been surreal. We never expected the audiences’ positive feedback. Honestly, the film almost didn’t push through because of budget constraints. We only shot last June [a little over a month shy of the Cinemalaya film festival].”
He said, “Budget is always a major concern among independent filmmakers. In shooting a full-length film, you need a bigger team compared to doing a short film. We shot in Baguio City for eight shooting days, but we stayed there for 10 days, not including conducting ocular visits prior to the principal photography. That’s why we wrote the film with a small story, focusing on…