Back in the early days of the pandemic, who would have thought that the Filipino film industry can still thrive in this unfortunate time of health emergency? Filmmakers and actors were quick to adapt to the ‘new normal’ through their commendable creativity, even with the challenges brought by the lockdowns. Thanks to The IdeaFirst Company for keeping our sanity and our hearts in check amid these days of uncertainty. The makers of Gameboys, the first-ever Boys Love (BL) series in the Philippines, introduced a wider Filipino audience to a genre that challenges the norms and raises brows among conservative societies but depicts the reality of our evolving culture in the modern age.
In case you haven’t watched it yet, (we highly recommend you do), Gameboys is a story of two young boys who played the game of love, starring Elijah Canlas who played Cairo Lazaro, and Kokoy De Santos a.k.a. Gavreel Alarcon. The two gamers met online and eventually became lovers fondly called by fans as “CaiReel” who went through the highs and lows of any relationship.
The web series is well-received by a wide variety of audiences from in and out of the country, garnering international fans and awards like the Best Web Series in the Indie Shorts Awards Seoul months after the show hit the internet. This can be credited to the strong script and direction, as well as the on-point portrayal of EliKoy (Elijah and Kokoy) for their roles, which all made the story relatable to the viewers.
ACCOMPLISHED LEAD STARS
Elijah is a young seasoned actor in his generation, having won the prestigious Best Actor awards at the Gawad Urian, previously at the 17th Asian Film Festival held in Rome, and at the 2020 FAMAS Awards for his performance in “Kalel, 15,” a film that chronicled the story of an HIV-afflicted teenage boy.
Kokoy, meanwhile, is not new to the showbiz industry who exhibits an equally laudable acting prowess. He starred in numerous films prior to the hit BL series, but it was the CineMalaya film “F#*@BOIS” in 2019 that opened more doors for him to be cast in multiple projects after receiving rave reviews for his strong performance.
Contrary to the rather serious roles they previously played, the EliKoy tandem in real life both have a charming sense of humor on and off cam, much like the fictional CaiReel. They are featured in Parcinq Magazine’s third and latest release, #TheGamebreakersIssue. It was a fun-filled shoot as they playfully teased each other in between shoot. We also got to discover how well they know each other in person as we put them to a ‘friendship’ test.
In another fun segment of Parcinq’s exclusive interview, the boys’ prowess was evident at reenacting iconic Pinoy movie lines like a pro worthy of praises, awards, and more opportunities for their flourishing careers.
ELIKOY X A'TIN
Even when Gameboys ended with 13 episodes in total, the hype from the EliKoy fandom didn’t when the makers announced Season 2 of the much-beloved BL series. Not only that, the A’TIN fandom of Parcinq’s first cover boys and lead Pinoy pop band SB19 was on fire when the trailer of Gameboys 2 played the band’s hit ballad "Hanggang Sa Huli" along with the cast credit. We at Parcinq who are avid fans of the pair and the boy group are thrilled to have this powerful collaboration, too!
Aside from being the first BL series in the country, Gameboys also made a record of being the first Filipino BL series to be streamed on Netflix in December last year. The victorious show indeed set the standards for Pinoy BL and surely set the bar high.
Bucket hats, MacrobyRxandy. Chokers, ts.chokers. Bracelet, Stones for the Soul
Perhaps the greatest reminder that shows like Gameboys want us to remember is that love comes in many forms and in many colors—that everybody deserves to give and receive love, free from judgment on the basis of gender or sexual preference.
Words by Joseph Pilapil
Produced by Philip Vargas
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Creative direction and Final Art by Joe Andy
Grooming by Nadynne Esguerra
Styling by Yannie Tui
Assisted by Ian Rey
Shoes by Joco Comendador
Shot on Location at the Rx Studio
Special thanks to The IDEAFIRST Company