Maribel and Mara: Direk Xian is cool, relaxed
No, mother-daughter tandem Maria Isabel Lopez and Mara Lopez didn’t gang up on budding director Xian Lim on the set of his debut short film, “Our Love Story.”
Mara thinks their being a real-life mother-and-daughter actually helped Xian—making things easier for the newbie filmmaker. “My mom and I love working with each other. This is not our first time to play mother and daughter. We’ve done a few projects already and our closeness is always evident onscreen.”
Maribel, as Maria Isabel is known in the biz, agreed, saying that collaborating with Mara is always “fun.”
Mara has nothing but praise for Direk Xian. “My mom and I got surprised when we found out Xian was going to direct. We realized that he’s not just a talented actor, but also has a future in directing. He was super relaxed on the set, but he knew what he wanted.”
Maribel concurred: “Working with an actor-director is beneficial to us actors. He knew our needs and provided us great comfort, such as our own hotel rooms for privacy and relaxation.”
Xian also made sure that his team was well-nourished at work.
“He ordered good, high-quality food from the hotel,” recalled Maribel. “Since Mara is a vegan, he made sure that she had plant-based diet in the catering spread.”
Maribel described their partnership with Xian as “refreshing.” “I’ve worked with award-winning directors in the past and you kind of know what to expect. But working with a ‘raw’ talent has an element of surprise. He was very open to suggestions and his willingness to learn was readily apparent.”
Mara related that Xian’s film was uncharted territory for her. “I’ve never done anything like this before. Without giving away too much, let me just say it’s not really a love story. I truly enjoyed playing my character because she has many layers.”
Maribel concurred: “It’s not your typical love story and it has a surprise ending.”
The beauty queen-turned-actress pointed out: “The film made me understand that, as a mother, we always want to protect our children, but kids will still do things their way.”
Mara asserted that she now knows what she wants in life. “I’m grateful to have been given this role … because I was able to explore things I haven’t tackled before.”
Maribel and Mara exclaimed that they would work with Xian again in a heartbeat.
“Xian and our creative consultant Arvin Belarmino were great … the whole crew is overflowing with pure talent. I am looking forward to reunite with them soon. Hopefully, in a full-length feature film,” Mara enthused.
Along with Arvin’s “The Gathering,” Xian’s short film “Our Love Story” is part of Pelicula’s “Encuentros en el cine: Shorts from the Philippines and Spain.” It premieres on Oct. 12 and will be reshown on Oct. 20 (6:30 p.m.) at the Instituto Cervantes Intramuros.
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