From Headlines to Loglines: A behind the Scenes Story

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A film reel for your thoughts – Photographed by Jean Pagtalunan at Starbucks, Trinoma (12/10/16)

Brown skin tone that have captured dozens of sunrise and sunsets, tired but spirited eyes that have seen the depth of hundreds of stories, and a long, dark hair that has been growing with him since he started in the industry–these are the things that Direk Zig Dulay is made of.

Bearing 16 nominations and four prestigious awards, Indie film director Zig Madamba Dulay keeps his career rolling as he paves his way to the filmmaking scene. Currently working on his Cinemalaya 2017 entry entitled, “Baggage” Direk Zig continues to tease the audience with his inexplicable talent in weaving stories found in the society. But before anything else, let us take a replay on how this successful screenwriter and director started.

The Crossing (Paglipay)

Being a writer in nature, the name Zig Dulay, have been present in school publications since he started high school. Born in a secluded province such as Isabela, the young aspiring writer, Zig Dulay, was not familiar with the courses available for college and decided to choose the one course that he thought would suit him, Journalism.

“Iyon (journalism) pinaka familiar sa akin, na pinakamalapit doon sa passion ko…Kasi wala kang kaidea-idea e, na, kapag nanonood ako dati ng Star Cinema, gusto ko makapagsulat ng pelikula, kapag manonood ka ng MMK, gusto mo magsulat sa T.V. Wala ka pang idea kung ano dapat kukunin mo,” he stated.

With that in mind, Direk Zig entered the University of the Philippines in Baguio with the course, Communication Arts major in Journalism and minor in Broadcasting. Throughout his college life, he published different articles which almost always never fails to be seen in Sun Star, a popular community newspaper in Baguio.

In spite of the many lessons he garnered from studying Journalism, Direk Zig eventually realized what his heart truly wants and thus started Director Zig Dulay’s courageous crossing from Journalism to Creative Writing.

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Research, Look and Listen – Photographed by Jean Pagtalunan at Starbucks, Trinoma (12/10/16)

Giving Voice to the Missing

From the mountains of the Summer Capital to the speeding cars in the city, Direk Zig traveled miles to fulfill his passion for writing. Once he realized his interest in the said field, he enrolled in UP Diliman under Araling Pilipino major in Creative Writing and Film.

During his stay in the university, Direk Zig, fortunately, became a protégé of the veteran screenwriter, Armando “Bing” Lao which is famous for the so-called “Found Story,” a technique in scriptwriting, wherein real events and issues happening in the country are taken as an inspiration to build a story that will showcase the hard truths found in one’s surroundings.

Due to this, Direk Zig was able to apply his researching skills in the film industry. In fact, he admitted that even though his research was not used for creating news stories, he is still grateful that he studied Journalism for it helped him in finding interesting stories and characters for his scripts.

“Sobrang laki ng tulong, kasi sa journ tinuruan tayo kung pano kumuha ng datos, pano kumuha ng mga facts, kung pano mag-research…And then, nagagamit mo ‘yun sa pag-research mo ng masinsinan. ‘Dun sa pag create mo ng kwento…”

On the other hand, Direk Zig admitted that unlike the other screenwriters and filmmakers in the Philippines, he still haven’t found his own style yet. He humbly acknowledged that this takes time and that he is only just beginning his journey in the industry, and while he is mostly known for creating socially relevant films, he does not think of this as his definition in the industry.

When asked about the thing he most values in filmmaking, he answered that more than anything, a film should be honest and factual.

“…dapat truthful siya, dapat tama yung mga logic niya (characters) doon sa buhay, dapat naniniwala ka na ‘yun yung gagawin ng character, dapat naniniwala ka na ‘yun yung pupuntahan ng kwento. Yung “truth” sa pelikula yung binibigyan ko ng importansya…”

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Real Passion, Real Stories – Photographed by Jean Pagtalunan at Starbucks, Trinoma (12/10/16)

Furthermore, Direk Zig also gives importance to the message that the film wants to relay to its audience. According to him, this is what makes the film stronger and meaningful.

Striving for the “Ekstra” Mile

And indeed, the things the director values most in films are the reasons for his majestic success. After joining several prestigious film festivals like Cinemalaya, Metro Manila Film Festival, Sinag Maynila, and others, he was able to bag different awards such as, “Best Screenplay” for Ekstra which he co-wrote with Direk Jadaone and Direk Jeffrey Jeturian and “Best Short Film Award” in 2013 for his film, “Missing” in the highly respected Gawad Urian Awards. Direk Zig also became the country’s delegate in film festivals in other countries like in the 2015 Ajyal Youth Film Festival in Qatar, wherein his film “Bambanti” won the Best Film award.

Despite his ongoing success, the director stayed modest and true to his craft. In fact, when asked about the kind of story he wants to write in the future, he answered that he wants to write films about a person’s existence and the meaning of life. But, he honestly stated that he thinks he is not yet ready for those kind of stories for he is still young and inexperienced.

Moreover, having experience in both mainstream and independent cinema, Direk Zig hopes for the feud between the two mentioned types of films to end. He also mentioned that filmmakers should stop battling about what kind of cinema is the best but they all should work together in order to create quality films for their audience. In turn, he wishes for the audience to be also picky with the films that they intend to watch.

“Sana mas aware sila…siguro mas matalino yung pagpanuod ng mga tao. Ma-realize na ang film ay hindi lamang for entertainment but dapat nakakapag-ambag sa kanilang kamalayan bilang mga pilipino.”

Meanwhile, when asked about the thing still missing in his life, he answered, laughing:

“Lovelife nalang talaga ang kulang.”

 


Written by Jean Pagtalunan and Thea Panganiban

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