The Debut [DVD] [2001]

The Debut utilizes a solid 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Few defects or grain exist on the screen, which contributes to an excellent viewing experience. The film's low budget is not apparent with the bright and clear colors. This release features a 2.0 channel Dolby Surround track that presents the considerable dialogue in understandable fashion. The overall transfer is not extremely powerful and remains fairly centralized, but it still does an impressive job. This special edition contains a surprising collection of worthwhile extra features. Writer/director Gene Cajayon and co-writer John Manal Castro remain very down-to-earth in the feature-length commentary. Both speakers offer insights into the Filipino culture and describe the difficulties involved in shooting. Also noteworthy are six deleted scenes, which include an alternate opening and some good personal moments. Several fine documentaries enhance our understanding of this film, which stands as basically the first picture to deal with the Filipino-American experience. "The Making of The Debut" runs for 20 minutes and contains impressive conversations with co-writers Cajayon and Castro. "The Little Film That Could: Touring the Country" showcases their nationwide journey to get the film viewed. This disc also contains two short films that showcase the story's origins and the writers' early work. 1992's Debut provides the initial foundation that Cajayon used to sell the feature film, and Castro's Diary of a Gangsta Sucka depicts the family life and background of a wannabe Filipino gangster. "The Mercado Files" provides three featurettes that each cover a specific aspect of the film. The remaining supplements include advertisements, a gag reel, DVD-ROM features, and several previews.
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Special Features

  • Director and writer commentary
  • Deleted scenes
  • Gag reel
  • "The Little Film That Could: Touring the Country" featurette
  • "The Making of The Debut" documentary
  • Original "Debut" short film
  • "Diary of a Gangsta Sucka" short film
  • "The Mercado Files: The Debut Music" featurette
  • "The Mercado Files: The Art of The Debut" featurette
  • "The Mercado Files: The Basco Brothers" featurette
  • English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese subtitles
  • TV spots
  • Trailers
  • Animated menus
  • Web link
  • Closed Captioned


The Debut
Ben Mercado (Dante Basco) is an 18-year-old from a Filipino-American family who is soon to graduate from high school and plans to go to art school -- though he's trying to keep this a secret from his father Roland (Tirso Cruz III), who is determined his son will become a doctor. Right now, most of the Mercado family is preoccupied with an elaborate coming-out party being thrown for Ben's sister Rose (Bernadette Balagtas), which seems to have less to do with Rose and more with Roland's desire to impress his father Lolo (Eddie Garcia). Ben isn't too thrilled about having to attend, so he invites his best friends Rick (Brandon Martin) and Doug (Jason Schaal) to fight off monotony until they can slip out unnoticed. To their surprise, Rick and Doug find themselves having a great time getting a glimpse of Filipino culture, and Ben (who is enjoying himself more than he lets on) meets Annabelle (Gina Alajar), a pretty girl who is friends with Rose. However, Ben soon discovers that Annabelle recently parted ways with her boyfriend Augusto (Darion Basco), and Augusto is still very, very jealous -- and willing to start a fight with anyone who makes a move toward "his girl." The Debut was, appropriately, the debut feature for writer and director Gene Cajayon and was enthusiastically received at the 2001 San Francisco Asian-American Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Dante Basco
    Dante Basco - Ben Mercado
  • Eddie Garcia
    Eddie Garcia - Lolo Carlos
  • Image coming soon
    Tirso III Cruz - Roland Mercado
  • Gina Alajar
    Gina Alajar - Gina
  • Image coming soon
    Darion Basco - Augusto
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