Male prostitution for reel

Danny Vibas

For some reasons, Pinoy filmmakers have stopped doing movies about bar girls and female prostitution. Not that there are no more girlie bars and prostitution dens in the Philippine archipelago. It's just that our filmmakers seem bent on making us pay attention on male prostitution instead.

In 2005 there was the digital film "Masahista", which focused on male masseurs whose services to male gay customers include sex. The film made it to several international film festivals and, in fact, won in some of them.

This year's male prostitution film is "Twilight Dancers", directed by Mel Chionglo from the script of Ricky Lee.

It's the third time around for Mel and Ricky to team up in a movie tackling the lives of male strippers in gay bars who are called macho dancers by Pinoy gays, who mostly patronize them (though according to gays who frequent gay bars in Metro Manila, there are now a lot of female yuppies and lonely matrons who hang out almost regularly in gay bars and go on romantic-sexual dalliances with macho dancers).

In the late nineties, they teamed up for "Sibak" (Midnight Dancers), starring movie newcomers Gandong Cervantes, Lawrence David and Alex del Rosario. In the early 2000s Mel and Ricky teamed up anew in "Burlesk King", starring bold actors Rodel Velayo and Leonardo Litton (both of whom are not related to the prominent real-life Velayos and Littons).

"Twilight Dancers" topbills newcomers Tyrone Perez, Kris Martinez and Lauren Novero. They are joined by the more or less established former bold actor, Allen Dizon, who portrays a retired star male stripper who has been hired by a wealthy regular at a gay bar portrayed by award-winning and versatile actress Cherie Pie Picache.

Shot with digital cameras (but to be shown as converted 35 mm film this September), "Twilight Dancers" has award-winning film director Joel Lamangan (as a gay bar-visiting closet queen city mayor who turns up in one scene fully dressed as a woman. Also cast in the film as male strippers are former child actor Terence Baylon and 2005's Close Up To Fame contest finalist Kris Martinez. The real-life gay TV host-singer Arnell Ignacio portrays gay bar owner while the real-life gay actor IC Mendoza, a grandson of the late and much-loved TV host Inday Badiday (also known as Ate Luds) as a gay bar impersonator.

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