The long wait is over, animation fans. You can now find out who Nimfa Dimaano will spend her happily ever after with, as streaming giant Netflix releases today “Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story,” the first Philippine animated flick to join its roster.
Long before the drop, the film has garnered support because it’s been seen as a chance to showcase the talents of aspiring Filipino artists. Despite a call for boycott due to the casting of Robin Padilla ( a vocal supporter of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte), cinephiles have urged that the credit be given to its animators.
Directed by Avid Liongoren (“Saving Sally”) and written by Manny Angeles and Paulle Olivenza, adult comedy “Hayop Ka!” follows the story of Nimfa (Angelica Panganiban), a perfume sales kitten at a department store. When she meets and falls for rich business dog Iñigo Villanueva (Sam Milby), her relationship with macho mongrel and janitor/boyfriend Roger (Padilla) is tested. It’s a classic love triangle fit for a daytime soap opera and it doesn’t pretend otherwise.
Liongoren revealed in an interview that the story was inspired by talk radio. “Alam mo kapag sumasakay ka ng taxi at 11 p.m. tapos may mga tao na tatawag sa radio para ikwento ‘yung problema nila in life, tapos papagalitan lang sila nung DJ, ‘yun ang pinaka-inspiration niya. Ang pinaka-climax niya, dahil sa dami ng problema ni Nimfa, napatawag na lang siya sa radio at pinagalitan lang siya nung DJ,” he said.
Panganiban said that while she initially struggled with her first voice acting role, immersing into her character still happened naturally. “Actually hindi naman malayo sa akin si Nimfa though never lang akong nakapag-cheat pa at ayaw ko naman siyang achieve-in. Ayaw kong makapanakit. Siguro wala naman akong nakikitang mali sa personality ni Nimfa kasi lahat tayo ‘di ba, may mga pangarap along the way na gusto ko rin naman ng ganito or ganyan. Iyon siguro, naiintindihan ko ‘yung character niya and ‘yung proseso para matuto siya,” she said.
The team boasts of a uniquely Filipino movie and is hoping that it will pave the way for more homegrown films to reach a bigger audience and receive more funding. Said Liongoren: “My team and I took over three years of serious hard work to create this light and comical film. While our main goal is to elicit a few laughs, our advocacy is to encourage local animation production. In the global animation industry, the Philippines is a go-to nation for outsourcing animation services. We are home to thousands of talented animators but sadly, we are not known for ideating and producing our own work. There have been less than 10 animated feature films in the entire 100-year history of Philippine cinema, and we want to continue adding to that, while also hoping that little by little, Filipino animators would also be known not just as service providers, but creators as well.”