Friday, September 24, 2010

Jeepney Press 2010 September-October Issue Page 3

KITAKITZ by Elena Sakai

Bakal Boys: The Docu-Drama of Metal Divers

Have you heard of the “metal divers”? In the Baseco area of Manila, there are many children who dive for metal scraps and sell them to earn money. Many people may have heard about the scavengers in the smoky mountains, but even the people, the ‘adults’ that live in the area were not aware that their own children did this. It is a very dangerous job, and many children die drowning every day.

The film, “Bakal Boys” is a docudrama aiming to put an end on this issue, won the Best Script Award in the SKIP City International Digital Film Festival held in Saitama this July, after winning over 20 awards all over the world, including the Best Film Award in 2010 Cinemalaya.

The director of Bakal Boys, Ralston Jover says that he started working with 15 boys of Baseco, who were the ones that actually appeared on the film, 2 years before starting to shoot. Although all of those 15 boys were brilliant, the main character, “Utoy” was very special. Being 11 when they started to shoot, Utoy was illiterate. However, with the help of the acting coach and social workers, in a year’s time he memorized all the entire script, including all of other’s line, by heart.

Bessie Badilla, the producer, says that by the time that they finished shooting, all 15 boys were no more ‘metal divers’, and were all back in school. The film continues to win many awards, and every time the money is sent to the Bakal Boys foundation, to support the education of the children in Baseco, and to support the vocation of the parents as well. Now, over 70 children are back to school, and there are almost no more metal divers in the Baseco area.

What made this film special was how natural the actors seemed to be. Ralston would let the 15 boys lead the film, and let them “be”, show what they would usually do, and the crew would just follow them. This film is a true story, an issue that needs to be solved, and yet, has ‘drama’ to touch the viewer’s heart.

The Bakal Boys will continue to appear in more international film festival, to stop metal divers, and to help them stay in school. For more information about the film, please visit

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