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Meet Unique, Ben&Ben(&Ben) in a parallel universe, thanks to this student

Meet Unique, Ben&Ben(&Ben) in a parallel universe, thanks to this student

The first time I watched that viral “Unique, ano gusto mong ulam?” video on Facebook, my initial thought was: What the fuck, I want a full series right now.

The second, third and all the times after that (yes, I shared it on Facebook for my own future reference), I started imagining a portal to a world of satisfying weirdness—the kind we all (secretly) need during this time. All we need to do is press the button and believe in the Super Bayani prophecy. 

Super Bayani’s videos are relatively easy viewing. Andre Caparas Julitan, the guy behind Super Bayani, has made these videos on Facebook and YouTube bite-sized, unpretentious wonders with suave punchlines. But although digestible, these animated clips give you tons of ways to describe them. Are these visual fanfics? One-fourth of my quarantine dreams? A deja vu on the internet? The paradox is Super Bayani’s charm. 

Nineteen-year-old Andre, who currently studies at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, loves filmmaking and recently found a penchant for animation. Thanks to this combination, we’re being fed with absurd, slice-of-life stories that put local musicians—and even us—at the forefront of effortlessly witty narratives. 

Aside from mundanely framed stories that hit close to home (shoutout to “1/4 Sheet of Paper”), Super Bayani also serves us a parallel universe where our offbeat fantasies are actual realities. Exhibit A: Ben&Ben being confronted by a talking computer about their impending “downfall,” thus the need to meet a third Ben. Exhibit B: Jollibee being a literal bee and pep talk-ing with… a young Jose Rizal?

For this week’s #SeenOnScout, we picked Andrei’s brain on his thought process, love for film and what’s it like making funny content during these dark times.  

How did the idea of doing these short and absurd animated videos start?

Filmmaking has actually been my main interest for the last couple of years. Sadly, with the sudden appearance of the pandemic, it was harder for me to get some friends together and make movies. That’s when I turned to animation. It was definitely harder for me to do, but all I needed was myself, some voices, and a lot of time.

What was your initial vision for Super Bayani?

I don’t think I have a particularly clear vision of what I wanted Super Bayani to be at the start. But for most of the animations I’ve made so far, I took inspiration from my favorite YouTube animators—Jack Stauber and Ethereal Snake, and tried to mix them with modern Filipino culture.

Why “Super Bayani” in the first place?

Because like a superhero, I want to inspire people. Hindi, joke lang. (laughs) I wanted the branding to show that the videos I make [are] for local audiences. Plus, I think the name’s pretty catchy.

How long have you been doing animation? 

Well, I’ve been trying to learn it on and off during high school, but it was only around last August that I started to really get into it. I guess quarantine gave me a reason to try out new things.

Out of all personalities, why did you choose local musicians to be your protagonists? 

Growing up, my taste in music has mostly been OPM and so a lot of inside jokes between me and my friends revolve around them. That’s where I base my videos off. Ben&Ben&Ben in particular was initially an idea I had when I saw a picture of Miguel and Paolo Benjamin with Rowell Santiago. So I thought, what if there were more of them?

Aside from local musicians, your videos also show some funny slice-of-life moments that mirror Filipino culture. What inspires you to make these stories?

Right now, everyone’s stuck at home and are left with their own thoughts. There are several times when I’d just sit and reflect on all the things I’ve experienced before, and looking back at those times gives me some comfort. With creating these slice-of-life animations, I hope I could give a little comfort to other people as well.

Do you feel like it’s extra difficult to create funny content during these times?

Knowing myself, It’s already hard for me to be funny even without the pandemic! But yes, with everything happening in our country, it’s hard to keep a positive outlook. However, seeing other Pinoy content creators striving to entertain their audiences inspires me to continue pursuing this craft.

No pressure, but we’re curious—are we seeing more videos from you tackling unexplored scenarios? 

I took a little break but I’m definitely gonna keep making videos! I’d like to continue creating these short slice-of-life type animations and hopefully, once I grow a bigger audience, I could make longer and more meaningful content.

Still from “Unique, ano gusto mong ulam?”

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Jelou Galang
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