Filipino online users are encouraging the public to stop “boycotting” the upcoming Filipino animation film on Netflix just because Robin Padilla, a vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, is part of it.
“Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story” is the first Filipino-made adult-animated film to stream on the leading entertainment service next month. It tells the story of a salescat caught in a love triangle with her mongrel boyfriend and a bourgeoisie business dog.
It is a romantic-comedy with a refreshing look at societal expectations, personal aspirations and the classic love triangle.
The animated film stars Angelica Panganiban as the voice of Nimfa, a pussycat working as a perfume salescat in a department store, Robin Padilla as Roger, Nimfa’s macho boyfriend working as a janitor and Sam Milby as Iñigo, the high-society dog whom Nimfa meets.
“Hayop Ka!” shows a struggle that will test whether Nimfa and Roger’s love for DVDs and cheap street food will prevail or if Iñigo’s high society charms will tear their relationship apart.
The film is also the first animated film from the country that will be available across Asia in Filipino or English or “Taglish” as “You Animal!”
It is directed by Avid Liongoren and produced by Rocketsheep Studio and Spring Films, Piolo Pascual’s production company which produced “Kita Kita.”
Rocketsheep, meanwhile, is the studio behind “Saving Sally,” a Filipino film that mixed live-action with 2D animation.
Liongoren said that “Hayop Ka,” which he dedicates to fellow Filipino animators, took over three years to develop.
“While our main goal is to elicit a few laughs, our advocacy is to encourage local animation production. In the global animation industry, the Philippines is a go-to nation for outsourcing animation services. We are home to thousands of talented animators but sadly, we are not known for ideating and producing our own work,” Liongoren shared.
“There have been less than 10 animated feature films in the entire 100-year history of Philippine cinema, and we want to continue adding to that, while also hoping that little by little, someday Filipino animators can be known as not just service providers, but creators as well,” he added.
Juan Miguel del Rosario, the president of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc., revealed in an interview that trained animators in the country tend to leave and work abroad due to higher compensation.
He hoped that the government would be able to support the animation industry to encourage more Filipino animators to create more original content in their land of birth instead of flying to other countries.
Meanwhile, when reports of “Hayop Ka’s” release surfaced, some Filipinos asked their fellow Pinoys to refrain from “boycotting” the animated film because of Padilla’s participation.
Apparently, some social media users have been criticizing it due to the actor’s involvement, who is known for his controversial remarks as a Duterte supporter.
“I know we all don’t like Robin Padilla but the local animation industry deserves our full support because they worked hard for this. So let’s watch on October 29!” a Twitter user said as she retweeted the film’s trailer.
“Do not boycott this film just because of some problematic VA. Support this film because you support local artists, animators, and Filipino animation!!” another online user wrote.
“Sure, kasali sa cast of voice actors si RP (Robin Padilla), pero please don’t boycott the film, this is definitely a big step in Filipino animation. Also, this gives me (along with my friends that wanna take animation) a lot of hope in our careers, so please support this!” a Filipino wrote with pleading eyes emojis.
Another Twitter user claiming to be a junior 2D artist shared that she had an “opportunity” to work with the team behind the animated film during her internship.
“I know one VA (voice actor) here’s controversial but I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to help/work on this project during my internship and I know for a fact that a LOT of very talented/passionate people worked very hard on this one, so for them, go watch and support local animation!!” she wrote.
Padilla recently made headlines for sharing that he is in favor of Duterte granting absolute pardon to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who slain transwoman Jennifer Laude.
The actor also “misleadingly” linked the Beirut blasts to terrorism as a means to justify the highly-contested Anti-Terrorist Act of 2020 even though it was not yet established that terrorists have caused the attacks at that time and despite it happening in another country.
Padilla likewise earned flak for criticizing youth environmental activist Greta Thunberg and calling political dynasties the Philippines’ biggest problem while endorsing the candidacies of Duterte’s children in Davao before.
— Featured video from Rocketsheep Studio via YouTube