BEING SOFIA: Ikarus’ First-Ever Desktop Film Series (A Review)

I miss watching local theater in Manila, and I can still remember the last show we watched, Next to Normal by Blue Rep. Being Sofia is not a live performance but more of a film series shot with the pandemic in Manila as setting, featuring the aspirations and socially distanced relationships of the younger generation.

Being Sofia is a five-episode series about a college student reconnecting with her old friends, Riley and Liam, during the pandemic. But there’s one problem: both of these friends have other interests aside from friendship. And to complicate things more, Joey, a long-time friend and confidant of Sofia, also has feelings for her. Meanwhile, Dale, Sofia’s brother, tries to support his sister as best he could while struggling with his own feelings of inadequacy in his effort to become a social media influencer.

I finally finished watching the fifth episode, and here’s why you should binge-watch Being Sofia this summer:

The pilot episode started slow as it introduces the character of Sofia and felt like a college film project of bored students taking advantage of the application of the Zoom genre to theater acting. But there is something about the Gen Z characters that draws you in and make you want to get a glimpse of what it is like for the next generation of Filipinos.

Slowly, I was drawn into the story because it was an insight into the lives of our kids, their online distance learning and pandemic realities. The film showcased the characters’ home setup, which is the actors’ real-life setup, and gave a glimpse of genuine quarantine backdrops.

I have 4 sons and I always ask them if they have crushes and how they do courtship in an online world when they are in Discord all the time. If there’s a reality flaw in the film series, it’s that they should have made use of Discord as opposed to Facebook Messenger conversations because most Gen Zs are not in Facebook anymore.

The series was produced throughout the 2020/2021 pandemic in Manila so even if the characters and stories are fictional, you can relate to what’s happening and you can see how the characters grew. The production quality also improved throughout the series. It is, in a sense, a historical snapshot of the feelings and ideas during this time.

Dale Reyes’ character is the most relatable for people during this pandemic, especially for those aspiring to be an influencer during these times and to make it big in the digital space. It’s a comedic take on the hard realities of starting a channel and doing silly things just to get an audience.

All of us are forever newbies especially in social media and digital channels, and there’s no easy way to build one’s own presence. If you are a millennial or even a Gen Xer starting in this space, you will be able relate to Dale.

The mysterious Joey Carlos only appears in Messenger conversations, which defines the relationship. His character remains a mystery all throughout, and I love how they scripted the conversations, relating them to the whole storyline. It’s like that friend that you have, appearing only as a message from time to time.

This was the most fun live discussion I’ve had so far in Awesome! LIVE, being able to discuss directly with the characters as the actors themselves but still with the same background featured in the film series. It’s like a talkback after the fourth episode discussing the creative motivation behind Being Sofia. Ang galing!

Note: Watch this after the fourth episode before you watch the final 5th episode.

This is the first time I watched an Ikarus’ Theater Collective creation because in the past you have to drive to remote theater venues during rush hour just to watch. I love watching fresh materials and these serve as inputs to your own creative and personal art expression whether in blogs or online communities. Galing!

Overall, it is highly recommended for parents for them to get a more emphatic understanding of how the Gen Z Filipino generation is thriving in the digital pandemic world and a glimpse of the angst of the millennial influencer-wanna-be. It is best to binge-watch the series in one sitting as you would your Netflix Filipino telenovela but this one provides more insights and is more relatable like a historic snapshot of quarantine in Manila.

I learned to strive to understand my kids more and even started our own Discord server and got into gaming just to get into their world. I treat each name I see in Viber or Messenger chat as a person with his own aspirations and pandemic struggles. How I wish a lot more people would watch Being Sofia than just the lives of other people in the US or Europe. This is close to home, and I wish the people behind Sofia did not force a closure on the fifth episode but just let the series evolve.

Congratulations to Mary Dela Vega as “Sofia” for showing us the ups and downs of her character and taking leadership with her actions! I love Justin Ayran’s portrayal of “Dale Reyes” as a wannabe influencer and how I wish they would set up a fictitious YouTube account where the viewers can interact with Dale’s YT persona. Thank you to CJ’s Liam and Danie’s Riley for a job well done fighting over Sofia. Kudos to Joey!

May sequel ba ito? Will tune in to your future performances, and good luck with your theater careers!

Binge-watch Being Sofia at at ₱500/head for the 5 episodes.

Congratulations to Ikarus Theater Collective for an awesome creative concept and the success with which they produced the show remotely. Let me know what you think after watching the series and add to this review.

Live an Awesome Life with Christ,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Thanks to Nikkei Team for the experience. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

Disclosure: Our Awesome Planet is an official media partner of Being Sofia.

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