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Antoinette Jadaone

Antoinette Jadaone

Meet filmmaker from the Philippines, Antoinette Jadaone.

Image by Neil Daza

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a woman filmmaker based in the Philippines. I’m now about to make my 11th film, a story of a coming of age of a girl obsessed with her celebrity idol. I’ve been developing the film for three years, and finally, it’s coming to life. When I’m not writing screenplays and directing films, I eat, sleep or travel. My dream destination, for now, is Cuba. Ask me again in two weeks, I definitely will say Peru or Morocco. Or Cuba.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Pasig is a half-residential and half-industrial city. It’s home to both the booming Ortigas Center central business district and the exquisite Pasig River, which I think is the world’s dirtiest, most polluted river. (Did a quick Google. It actually is only 8th in the world! What is wrong with us humans?!) I grew up in a house that’s roughly 20 meters away from the Pasig River, and though it might seem like it’s an unappealing neighborhood, I actually had the best childhood there. Growing up, I spent time, talked and played with people with colorful personalities and rich histories. It is a huge part of the storyteller that I am today.

 

Growing up, I spent time, talked and played with people with colorful personalities and rich histories. It is a huge part of the storyteller that I am today.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

Best is it has the best of both worlds – high-end to bargain, malls to parks, hotel food and Shake Shack to street food. Worst is the rush hour traffic.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Imperfection defines character.

 

How did you start your career in film?

By sheer kapal ng mukha, as we say it in Filipino. In film school, I looked up to Joyce Bernal, a woman filmmaker and celebrated alumna of my film school. She directed some of my most favorite romantic comedies and shaped the romantic comedy genre in the 2000’s. I found her cellphone number and messaged her that if she needs an assistant for her future films, I volunteer as tribute. Months passed and there was no message from direk (that’s how we address our directors) Joyce. So I moved on.

 

I began work as a production assistant in a production house in advertising. Though we’re shooting TV commercials, it wasn’t the same as film. Then out of the blue, I got a message from direk Joyce saying that there has been an opening in her team just now, are you game? Without asking my boss first, I replied yes. The next day, I told my boss the truth: that film’s my first love, and working for a woman director I look up to will be a dream come true. He let me go quite easily, saying: I understand. We really always go back to our first love. Whoa.

 

In two months, I was working with direk Joyce as her script continuity girl. That was twelve years ago, and I’m still here doing my first love. It’s still one of the best decisions I made in my life.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Yes. My Mama and Papa never questioned why I wanted to work in an industry that has abusive working hours and unfair compensation. I guess that’s a testament to my convincing powers that someday, I’ll be a director and we’ll have our name on movie screens one day. Sometimes you just gotta believe, darling.

 

I guess that’s a testament to my convincing powers that someday, I’ll be a director and we’ll have our name on movie screens one day. Sometimes you just gotta believe, darling.

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

Sundance. It’s been a dream.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Banksy. If only to be let in on a secret. But I promise I won’t tell.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Strong, supportive, inspiring women who are unapologetic about both their success and failures.

 

Strong, supportive, inspiring women who are unapologetic about both their success and failures.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

I grew up watching the romantic comedies and love stories of Joyce Bernal, Olivia Lamasan and Nora Ephron.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

I am lucky to be a woman in the 8th most gender equal country in the world and the most gender equal in Asia. I’m even luckier that in the Philippine film industry, the movers and shakers of Philippine cinema – directors, producers, production house owners – are mostly women. But it is an industry that embraces all and does not prejudice against any gender, shape, size, age, color or story. I wish the same for all film industries in the world. Cinema is for everyone.

 

Cinema is for everyone.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

Don’t rush. Start from the bottom. The harder the climb, the richer the story.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Antoinette Jadaone and Neil Daza.

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