“We are so in love with pain.” Those were the words of JP Habac, the director of I’m Drunk I Love You as he spills truths and a little bit of heartbreak amid the third year anniversary of his film. So pop that bottle of alcohol and get your sad songs ready for this exclusive.
Rough sand, band music, the end of college tangled in your hair—that’s the kind of good time JP Habac’s 2017 film, I’m Drunk, I Love You, has to offer. It’s all about that salty beach air stinging your eyes, the five-minute intervals that could make or break everything, and the burning taste of alcohol washing away the ghost of desperate kisses on your lips. This film speaks to many of us who have been there; who went through the college experience, who got a little a too drunk, and a little too honest, who fell a little too in love, who got a little too lost in the moment of trying to figure who they are and what they want to be. And JP is just like every single one of us, as revealed in this exclusive interview with the director.
I’m Drunk, I Love You was inspired by JP’s own college days where he listened to music, had drinking sessions, and felt carefree and afraid of the future all at the same time—a lot like us, to be honest. Humans cope with stress, anger, and sadness in many different ways, and in college, these negative feelings are heightened by thoughts of the future and that uncertainty that unfolds right in front of our eyes. This film capitalizes on that confusion, of those dialed-up feelings and that need to get away, alongside the wrappings of falling in love and finding yourself.
“People, most especially Filipinos, we are so in love with love and pain—I think,” JP critiques. Our long talk on the phone consists of a lot of truth-spilling, some laughing, talks of film, and very relatable conversations on the drunk and college experience. He even explains that the title is one that came out as a stroke of genius from a very, very drunk friend from a drinking session–and we both agree in good humor, that some of the best quotes come from drunk people. But the angle of unrequited love, heartbreak, and even the themes of alcohol are just accessories to the real story he wanted to tell in the film—the story of growth and the coming-of-age.
With his own fair share of college mishaps, from starting off as a BS Biology student in hopes of becoming a doctor, to shifting into film, and falling into the trappings of unrequited love himself; JP wants to share these stories of college life, stories accumulated between him, his co-writer and his best friend, and tell them through Carson’s seven years of learning encompassed in the three days of the film’s events. The ending is carefully crafted to cater to Carson’s character development; with silence as the backdrop in the audience’s realization of what Carson deserves.
“[In silence], that’s when we realize that we got something from, you know, from all those heartbreaks, from all those hurt and pain,” JP laments. “I think that’s enough for her to understand what she deserves; it’s enough for her to realize that she has to graduate…I think that’s the perfect ending for that kind of story.” And JP knows a thing or two about unrequited love; wanting to tell the authentic story of falling in love with one’s best friend–which doesn’t always end in happily-ever-after, no matter what mainstream media wants you to think–he recalls falling in love with his own best friend. “When I fell in love with my best friend, I didn’t get the love that I was expecting,” he explains in a forgiving chuckle. Whether he’s over those feelings of hurt and rejection, they’re still a part of him that he carries throughout his filmmaking.
Currently working on I’m Drunk, I Love You’s sequel, I’m Drunk, I Love You Too, he talks of themes of accepting and overcoming defeat; “Because accepting defeat doesn’t really mean that you are weak…You have to accept that sometimes, life is unfair.”
Among other things JP is currently working on film-wise, he has an extremely confidential surprise for us coming into production soon, as well as his father and son coming-of-age story, Olsen’s Day, submission for CineFilipino Film Festival. His LGBTQ+ film Golden, about a group of old senior gays who perform as drag queens for a living, is also set to go into production possibly in the last quarter of the year. Fresh into a new decade, his year is looking comparably great as opposed to 2019, which he claims was “not really a good year” for him.
As our conversation dwindles down to a soft close, I think back to all the drunken mishaps, those moments of rejection and stagnation, of being lost and not knowing what to do. Three years past the release of I’m Drunk, I Love You, those lessons I’ve come to learn in my first viewing of the film stay close to me, and even closer now than ever, having gotten to know the man behind the film as well.
Whatever this Valentine’s Day held for every one of us, know that we deserve happiness this day and every other day of our lives, whether we’re single, in a relationship, or in a complicated mess. If you don’t know that yet, we’ll always be here to remind you.
Have any drunken misadventures to share? Let us know!