Multitasking challenge in latest film ‘366’ ‘unforgettable’ for newbie director Bela Padilla | Inquirer Entertainment

Multitasking challenge in latest film ‘366’ ‘unforgettable’ for newbie director Bela Padilla

By: - Reporter
/ 12:25 AM April 13, 2022
Bela Padilla

Bela Padilla

Reading and writing stories were some of Bela Padilla’s favorite pastimes growing up. But never did she imagine that she would one day pursue them as part of her show biz career.

“Acting came first. Writing was coincidental; I didn’t plan it. I have always loved reading and writing, but I didn’t think I would get to this point,” Bela said in a recent virtual conference for her directorial debut, the upcoming romantic drama movie “366,” which she also wrote.


“Writing was the reason I was offered an opportunity to direct,” added the 30-year-old artist, who’s credited as a writer in such movies as “10,000 Hours,” “Camp Sawi” and “Last Night.” “My bosses, who have read my scripts, tell me that they can already picture the movie from what I write. So why not try directing?”

Daunted by responsibilities

That she’s now a woman of many hats is a result of her passion for her craft. “The opportunities that opened up for me are all blessings and coincidental. But it’s also because I put myself out there … I love what I’m doing, and there are still a lot of hats to try on,” she said.


Premiering on Viva Entertainment’s digital streaming platform Vivamax on April 15, “366” follows June (Bela), a heartbroken woman who has 365 days to move on from her ex-lover, Pao (JC Santos). Her neighbor, Marco (Zanjoe Marudo), suggests that he and June do the things they never got to do.

Marco becomes June’s “proxy-boyfriend.” And together they start moving on with their lives—one day at a time. According to Bela, the story came to her while on a trip to the Maldives, where she learned about a Filipino couple “challenged by fate.”

While she was excited to direct a film in which she’s also one of the lead actors, Bela admitted that she was initially daunted by the responsibilities.

“I was so nervous on my first day. I didn’t act yet and just focused on experiencing what it was like directing Zanjoe. There were moments when I would just watch him rehearsing the scene, then I would realize that I’m also part of this,” she said. “After the first month of shooting with Zanjoe, it was time to shoot with JC. Eventually, I had to come up with an on and off button in my head that tells me, ‘In this part, you’re a director. Over here, you’re an actress.’”



Juggling both tasks was a challenge. Luckily, there was creative director Irene Villamor to assist her on the set. And it also didn’t hurt that JC and Zanjoe are both skilled and professional actors. “Because Direk Irene was familiar with the story since the first draft, she also knows where I want to bring the scene,” she said.

“I know I have shortcomings on the set because I’m a newbie director. I was nervous and shy. But they all helped fill in the gaps. JC and Zanjoe have been really helpful in my first project as a director. The collaboration that happened among us … That was unforgettable for me,” she said. “They’re all supportive and had great energy.”

“I will always remember that my first ever directing project was with them. They were so easy to work with. They’re pros; they come to the set ready,” she added. “I trust them so much. When I learned that I would be working with them, I didn’t ask for anyone else.”


Meanwhile, as an actress, Bela said her character, June, is a departure from the roles she has done in the past.

“She’s different from the ones I have done before, like in ‘100 Tula Para Kay Stella’ and ‘Meet Me in St. Gallen,’ where I played women who are strong, spunky, may dating. But for the first time, I played someone fragile and needing love. I had more room to play around because it’s all new to me.”

“366” touches on “love, loss and starting anew.” And as a fan of love stories, working on the movie feels like “home.” “I think we always go back to love stories. They don’t go away, no matter what generation or period in time you’re in,” she said. “Love is universal. So the material feels like home.” INQ

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TAGS: Bela Padilla, Entertainment
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