Why Students Are Watching This New Faith–Based Movie in Droves
By Cooper Dowd, Contributing Writer & Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor
Students in the Philippines are watching the new faith-based movie KAIBIGAN in droves and Christian filmmakers are screening the movie in local schools to share the Gospel.
“The responses [to KAIBIGAN are] just dramatic,” said executive producer Tarny Perkins in an interview with Movieguide®.
KAIBIGAN follows two high school students, Jake and David, who learn to navigate friendship, family and the Christian faith. In real life, the two lead actors are twins named Jesse and Christian Perkins. The Perkins twins along with their father, Tarny, wrote the script for KAIBIGAN.
Prior to KAIBIGAN, the Perkins twins used their talent for music to tour schools in the Philippines and then the idea for KAIBIGAN popped into their heads.
“The vision for the movie came about after one of the school tours. That was in 2017,” explained Tarny. “We immediately started working on the story line and began work on the script. This was done when the tours were ongoing, so it took some time. We contacted Stephen Baldwin in 2017, who by the way is a truly amazing brother, and moved quickly because we had a date for Stephen to shoot in Manila.”
Tarney continued, “Shooting began during July 2018 through August 2018. We stopped production and resumed June 2019 to August 2019.
“We’ve been to over 1500 schools,” Tarny added. “And in those schools Jesse and Christian sing a couple songs, and in between the songs they advocate, no drinking, no drugs, no smoking, no bullying, and a love of Jesus.”
Jesse and Christian, who are the Youth Ambassadors for the Department of Education in the Philippines, want to preach the Gospel message to students through KAIBIGAN.
After many of the screenings of KAIBIGAN, students write down their reactions to share.
One student wrote, “The movie KAIBIGAN has been such a blessing. For [me] it shows sportsmanship [and] love for [one’s] family.”
But the filmmakers don’t only interact with the students. They talk to the faculty and staff as well.
“We talked to the administrators, we talked to the teachers, we talked to the principal, we talked to the kids, because we spent time with them and we know what the issues are,” Tarny said. “And nobody’s addressing these problems in a way that’s effective for the kids… So, what we were finding was that two things were really lacking in the schools, hope and love.”
The movie also stars veteran actors such as Tirso Cruz III, Jean Garcia and Cesar Montano. The Perkins consider all their actors as gifts from God.
Although COVID-19 halted the KAIBIGAN tour, the Perkins know that their project has already made a substantial impact in the lives of students and beyond.
“Even more [people have come to] attend our church afterwards where they would receive Jesus and join Bible Study groups,” said Tarny. “[Even] more send us comments on how the movie has changed their lives for the better.”
KAIBIGAN debuted in the Philippines in early December of last year and is now available on streaming.
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