• Released
  • May 19, 2000
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • Comedy
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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

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