By Clay Bohle
Founded in 2008, the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF), a multifaceted, in-depth industry program for global genre film professionals, has provided invaluable programs for all film-related fields, including film development, co-production, financing, and post-production, solidifying its place as a leader of the Asian genre film market. Held in Bucheon, South Korea, in conjunction with the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan), this year celebrated NAFF’s 8th anniversary, and TOKYOPOP was proud to take part in the program.
This year’s NAFF included 27 genre projects from 15 countries, with TOKYOPOP offering the Asian Film Award, a cash prize, to one outstanding project. We are proud to announce that the winner of the NAFF 2015 TOKYOPOP Asian Film Award is “Ricky Boy The Wonder Boy,” a film project from the Philippines directed by Victor Villanueva and produced by Daphne Chiu!
In a small, peaceful provincial town in Cebu city, lives a miracle - an 8 year-old boy who has the ability to heal anyone with just a point from his fingers. His name is “RICKY ROQUE FRANCISCO PILAR,” or more fondly known as “RICKY BOY THE WONDER BOY.”
Ricky Boy is a small-town celebrity, famous for his mystical ability as a faith healer, and his small town became somewhat of a tourist attraction for people with various ailments, minor, serious and terminal.
But years pass, and Ricky Boy, now 17 years old, has lost his healing powers. There are rumors abound about how his powers disappeared, ranging from demonic entities, engkanto (elementals), siphoning his powers, to the most popular rumor of all: he read a porn magazine. No one really knows for sure, not even the 17-year-old Ricky himself. All he knows is that he wants to put his faith healing past behind him, as he is embarrassed and traumatized by it.
He is now a rebellious and anti-social teenager who likes to skate and listen to punk rock. He finds life pointless until he meets Gale, a young free-spirited girl who has a strange fascination with death because she grew up in her family-owned funeral home. As they grow closer, Ricky falls in love with her, but things change when he finds out that she has a terminal disease and her days are numbered. Wanting to save her, Ricky goes on a journey with his friends to find other faith healers and discover a way to get his faith healing powers back in hopes of healing her.
“Ricky Boy The Wonder Boy: My Life as a Teenage Faith Healer” is a teenage rom-com adventure with a mystic twist. The movie examines the bizarre pseudo science of faith healing, and how Filipinos are fascinated with it. A lot of Filipinos rely on faith healing over medicinal science; some may work, while some are scams, preying on the victim’s false hopes. It is also a coming of age story about growing up and accepting change, paralleled to the mystic and the unknown. As Ricky realizes that not all things are black and white, he finds that sometimes you just need to instill in yourself a little bit of hope and magic to mutually inspire one another to live on. It’s also an ode to our teenage self, and that moment before we say goodbye to that wonderful time in every person’s life and step into the world of growing up. Growing up is about accepting change and taking a leap of faith, but it doesn't have to be a bummer, all dark and scary, when you have friends going along for that adventure. It is a genre movie that is fun for all ages.
Director VICTOR VILLANUEVA:
Victor Villanueva is a graduate of Advertising from the University of San Carlos. Taking an interest in filmmaking, he took a few courses at the International Academy of Film and Television. Dubbed as the rock star charming filmmaker from the island of Cebu, Philippines, he has a natural knack for comedy and the absurd that has endeared him to many fans. Prior to directing, he has also handled international productions as prod. coordinator for the Korean movies Blue Salt (2011) and Taste of Money (2012) when they shot scenes in Cebu, Philippines. His first feature film is “My Paranormal Romance,” a rom-com fantasy adventure, won best editing, best production design and a Special citation award at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2011. He is now a freelance director for films, commercials and music videos, and manages a band, Drop Decay. He has not gotten a lot of sleep lately.
Producer DAPHNE CHIU:
Daphne Chiu graduated filmmaking at The International Academy of Film and Television (Cebu, Philippines) where she first met Victor. Don’t get them wrong; they’re not an item. They’re just friends! Daphne has been around helping mostly first-time filmmakers bring their films to life. She uses her Chinese powers (and Korean look) when crunching the numbers of a production budget. Her first production work was as a Production Office Assistant in 2008 (in a Hollywood set in Cebu). Now she continues pursuing her passion as Producer and Line Producer. Her recent projects are biopic war films: “Heneral luna” and “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo,” coming of age “Sana Dati,” family drama “Mariquina” (2014), both finalists at Busan International Film Festival 2014 & 2015 respectively. Currently, she’s handling three projects: “RICKY BOY THE WONDER BOY,” “Ella” by Cesar Hernando and “Rebels with a Case” by Cannes Film Festival Palme d’or Winner, Raymond Red.
(Note: this is a concept poster image.)
Stay tuned for more info as this awesome project comes to fruition!