Following in La Primera Kabogera’s footsteps
Who would’ve known that Mara Lopez, who looked calm, cool and collected, was actually on pins and needles while walking on the red carpet during the opening of the 65th San Sebastián International Film Festival?
The Filipino actress traveled to Spain for the premiere of her latest film, Daniel Palacio’s “Pailalim” (Underground), which is in competition in the New Directors’ section of the A-list festival.
“I was extremely nervous and excited,” Mara told the Inquirer. “The red carpet was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. There were hundreds of people watching, shouting, asking for autographs and selfies. It was intense!”
From afar, she spotted international stars John Malkovich, who is the jury head of the main competition, and Alicia Vikander, whose film (Wim Wenders’ “Submergence”) opened the festival. “There are so many celebrities at the opening,” Mara related. “I haven’t bumped into Hollywood stars yet, but I will definitely get a photo when I meet John.”
Wearing a green gown by Vorge Fitzgerald, Mara posed for a snapshot with Spanish actress Nathalie Poza and Chilean trans actress-singer Daniela Vega.
Helping her get dolled up were compatriots, stylist Catherine Divine of Moxie Amsterdam, Shar Schmitz (who created the jewelry) and Malou de Boer (who did the makeup).
According to netizens, Mara’s emerald gown was reminiscent of the Albert Andrada creation donned by mom, Maria Isabel Lopez, on the Cannes red carpet for the premiere of “Ma’ Rosa” last year.
Brimming with pride, Maria Isabel admitted: “This has always been my dream for Mara. She joined me at the Berlinale for ‘Halaw’ in 2011. As early as then, I told her that she would have her turn on the red carpet someday.”
Proud mom beamed with joy: “Now, it’s her time to shine.” She conceded that her daughter is “more of a beach babe and would rather walk around in flip-flops.”
“I told Mara to Google the red-carpet appearances of Hollywood stars,” Maria Isabel quipped. “Pivot, turn, smile, wave … own it!”
Following in her mom’s Primera Kabogera footsteps, Mara sashayed on the San Sebastián red carpet with panache on Sept. 22. She later wore a white Andrada gown for the film’s premiere last Sept. 25.
She recounted that the audience was “very curious” about the filmmaking process.
“The idea that there were people living in a cemetery was new to foreigners, so they asked a lot of questions on how Direk Daniel came up with the story,” she volunteered. “They wanted to know how we were able to shoot the scenes—especially the sequences where the cemetery’s real residents looked unaware that a shoot was taking place. They kept asking questions until we ran out of time.”
Cannes-winning filmmaker Brillante Ma Mendoza, who is acknowledged as a master of gritty cinema, is Direk Daniel’s mentor and serves as the producer of “Pailalim.”
Needless to say, Mara was on cloud nine during the premiere. “It was my first time to watch the film and I am glad I got to see it on the big screen.”
After the screening, she and her friends went out for a night cap. “And the Q&A continued over wine and pinchos!”
All in all, she described San Sebastián as a “wonderful” experience. “Aside from catching movies at the festival, I’ve been surfing a lot, too. Just before the gala, I surfed at the Zurriola Beach. From the ocean, I could see the festival venue. It was fantastic!”
She also motored to nearby France over the weekend, to “hang ten.” “France is just one hour away. I surfed the whole time. I love it here so much!”