Will 'Tween Academy' reach 'Bagets' status?

Chuck Smith

It's a film that director Mark Reyes V hopes to be the “'Bagets” of this generation.

“Tween Academy: Class of 2012,” produced by GMA Films, is the big screen offshoot of GMA-7's Sunday youth-oriented show “Reel Love Presents: Tween Hearts.” The show was only meant to be a one season offering. But due to its unprecedented success—thanks to the fans of popular young stars Barbie Forteza, Joshua Dionisio, Bea Binene, and Jake Vargas, among many others—the show is already nearing its first year on the air.

Of course, this kind of success merited a full length feature.

Joining the four young stars in the movie are the equally-promising Derrick Monasterio, Kristoffer Martin, Joyce Ching, Lexi Fernandez, and Yassi Pressman, also part of “Tween Hearts.”

Former “Tween Hearts” cast member Louise delos Reyes, Yahoo! OMG Amazing Male Newcomer awardee Alden Richards, Philippine Azkals team Under-23 member Mark McMahon, young rapper and now actor Elmo Magalona, and FHM Philippines' sexiest woman for 2011 Sam Pinto are also part of the film's young cast.

The tween movie looks at lives of high school students—their loves, their passions, their problems. The film may not be as irreverent as “American Pie.” It is not based on literary canon like “Clueless” or “She's the Man.” And it may not be rich with poetic detail like “Dead Poets Society” or “The History Boys.”

But it is undoubtedly Pinoy, undoubtedly fresh, undoubtedly now—and undoubtedly relevant considering where the youth stands in society today.

According to GMA Films president Annette Gozon-Abogar, they made sure the film will appeal not only to the young.

“As you all know, generations come and go but there are certain things in life that remain constant, that remain the same. So lahat ng tao, pag nanood ng 'Tween Academy: Class of 2012,' makakarelate kasi ang mga issues naman talaga ng kabataan, napagdaanan natin nung kabataan natin,” she said.

Annette added, “We believe that Tweens of GMA are the perfect role models ngayon ng kabataan. So, we're going to launch them in this movie, pero we made it a point to show a lot of values sa pelikulang ito, hindi lang po para sa kabataan.”

In fact, GMA Films is confident with “Tween Academy” that they announced during its press launch last August 18, Thursday, that “Tween Academy: Class of 2012” is only the first of a planned youth-oriented films starring the popular tweens.

Next in line is “Tween Academy: The Musical.” And then there's also Elmo and Julie Anne San Jose's planned debut movie, “Just One Summer.”

Tweens on a roll

Need to say, the tweens are striking while the iron is out.

Barbie Forteza, perhaps one of the tween pioneers of GMA with “First Love' back in 2010, knows the pressure of mounting a movie is different from their usual fare in “Tween Hearts.”

“Sobrang excited and, at the same time, ninenerbyos, kasi iba yung pagtrato ng mga viewers sa sinehan at sa TV. Kasi sa TV, libre lang, pwede mo panoorin any time. Pero pag sa sine na, binabayaran na, kung talagang gusto ka ng mga nanonood,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kristoffer Martin, whose love team with Joyce Ching started when they played the young Dingdong Dantes and Nadine Samonte in “Endless Love,” is thrilled to star in his first move.

“Sobrang saya. Kasi first movie ko ito e. Sa premiere night, sobrang inaabangan ko yung mangyayari. Gusto ko marinig yung mga feedback nila,” he said.

Yassi Pressman said: “Masasabi ko po sa movie na ito is it's very, very relatable”

And why should fans and regular moviegoers alike watch the film?

Said Bea Binene: “Kasi itong movie na ito, it shows kung ano talaga yung pinadadaanan ng mga tweens when it comes to love, family, school, bullying—lahat. Para sa kanila talaga ito.”

“Tween Academy: Class of 2012” premieres August 24,Wednesday, in theater nationwide.