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Directors on The Coming of Age Films That Made The Biggest Impact on Their Lives

Directors on The Coming of Age Films That Made The Biggest Impact on Their Lives

Read Time: 5 minutes

In case you need a little advice on those coming of age films

 

 

Coming of age films come a dime a dozen; I have my favorites and I’m sure you do as well. They teach us different things at the different moments that we watch them; they impart different moments of wisdom that stick to us momentarily or for life.

 

But personal preferences breed debate and you and I can battle it out on the comment section of an article as much as we want—so let’s turn to what some would call experts when the discussion is on coming of age films: directors.

 

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Gabby Flores

Film Student, awarded best thesis

 

Wonder: What coming of age film made the biggest impact on your life and what did it teach you?

Gabby: The Breakfast Club is my favorite coming of age movie. I’ve seen it twice and picked up different things [both times] I’ve seen it. The first time was in high-school; it was [an] eye opener to me because of how it’s so true that you don’t know what someone is going through, especially in the world we live in today. It made me more sensitive and kinder to other people, I think that it is something we need to make a conscious effort of.

 

The second time I watched it was in college, when I was finding my way around different crowds and circles and trying to find out where I’d fit. I realized that I didn’t need to fit anywhere but where I was, I only needed to be me. I found that it was okay to have different friends from different circles; it pushes you to grow instead being confined in groups—especially how we know those high-school stereotypes still exist. Today, I’m thankful I still carry these lessons with me to make a conscious effort for others and to just also be me.

 

 

Paolo Abrihan

Director at Manila Man

 

Wonder: What coming of age film made the biggest impact on your life?

Paolo: City of God

 

Wonder: What lesson did you learn that you still carry with you?

Paolo: Life is circumstantial but to alter it, you have to be prepared to go to war.

 

 

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Gino Santos

Director of Ex With Benefits, Love Me Tomorrow and Sin Island

 

Wonder: What coming of age film made the biggest impact on your life?

Gino: I can’t pick just one. Three movies come into mind when I think of great coming of age films—it would have to be 2002’s Filipino film Jologs by Gilbert Perez, 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High directed by Amy Heckerling and written by Cameron Crowe and 2003’s Elephant by Gus Van Saint. All these films focus on multiple characters within the film.

 

Wonder: What lesson did you learn that you still carry with you? Do you think it’s important that everyone learn this?

Gino: Everyone has their own journey in life; everyone can be the protagonist—everyone has their own story to tell. We all play a part in society: the poor, the rich, the geeks, the outcasts and etc. Just like in movies.

 

 

JP Habac

Director of I’m Drunk, I Love You and Sakaling Maging Tayo

 

Wonder: What coming of age film made the biggest impact on your life?

JP: Almost Famous

 

Wonder: What lesson did you learn that you still carry with you? Do you think it’s important that everyone learn this?

JP: Like the idealistic kid in the film, we see all the cruelties and heartbreaks and yet we find much room for hope.

 

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Caloy Solingco

Director and partner at WYD

 

Wonder: What coming of age film made the biggest impact on your life?

Caloy: I saw Kevin Smith’s Clerks while I was in film school and it made a big impact on me. I’ve followed Kevin Smith’s works since. Clerks is about a convenience store clerk named Dante, who is made to go to work on his day off. As the day progresses, it unfolds as one of the worst days of his life.

 

Filmed in black and white and financed by credit card loans, the low-budget movie redefined cinema for a wide-eyed film school geek like me. The whole movie is practically people talking in one place—and it felt relatable precisely because it seemed like something my friends and I would normally do.

 

It is as much a coming of age story for the characters, as it is for the filmmakers—who proved to audiences that self-financed DIY aesthetics with a SOLID story could make a great film.

 

It made an impact on me cause I realized that filmmaking could be simple, honest, rough around the edges and not necessarily aesthetically pleasing, but still be captivating, magical and inspiring.

 

Clerks is a challenging film to watch (I mean it’s basically people talking captured with a static camera), especially in this day and age, where our attention span for moving images is measured in seconds. It is a constant reminder for me that, when it comes to fimmaking, simplicity is key and story is king.

 

 

Wonder: What lesson did you learn that you still carry with you?

Caloy: The biggest lesson I learned from Clerks isn’t from the film, but rather from how they made the film. Kevin Smith was a film school dropout with no money to even think of making a film and yet he was able to shoot Clerks, and it catapulted him into an iconic career.

 

He bet on himself and surrounded himself with people who believed in him. His friends acted on the film and worked on it as key creative crew and staff. He stuck to his guns and focused on what was true to his interests and humor. He worked so hard to achieve this. Smith worked at the location where they filmed the movie—he was an actual clerk, manning the store in the morning and filming late into the evening, sometimes sleeping for only an hour per day.

 

He thought outside the box. Having no immediate cash, he funded the movie through credit cards (which he paid off once the movie was profitable), comic book sales and insurance claims. He did crazy things to make a movie.

 

Those are my key takeaways: Bet on yourself. Surround yourself with the right people. Think outside the box. Work hard.

 

It sounds easy but is probably the hardest combination of things to commit to when making a film or simply navigating through the plots and scenes of this movie we call life.

 

I try my best to remember these lessons and oftentimes even just one of these makes a world of difference in situations we find ourselves in.

 

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So, who are you putting your faith on? What kind of lessons do you think you need to brush up on?

 

 

Art Alexandra Lara

About The Author

Made of sarcasm and expletives. Did three years for an economics degree, rewarded myself with three years in the insurance biz. Entered this world as a freelance writer for entertainment and news, now making a living on movies, intimate interviews and the hush-hush of relationships.

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