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GMA directors, creatives share their proudest moments

GMA is home to awarded shows not just here, but internationally as well.  

With an endless string of award-winning and fan-favorite soaps, GMA-7 has solidified its presence among millions of households worldwide.

Behind it is a roster of talented and passionate individuals.

Among them are directors Mark Reyes, Don Michael Perez, Mark dela Cruz, Irene Villamor, LA Madridejos and Dominic Zapata.

“I’ve been directing for more than 25 years,” shared Reyes, who famously directed the network’s highly-successful fantasy series, “Encantadia.” “I am very thankful to GMA that they gave me the chance to direct different genres from all forms of dramas, to live shows and live Sunday afternoon musicals and films as well.”  

Perez, who has been with GMA since 2005, moved his way up from being a spiels director. Since then he has gone on to direct numerous shows, anthologies, and series. “I would say I have been able to hone my craft to meet the demands of the current TV landscape here.”

 On the other hand, dela Cruz is looking forward to engaging a wider audience “targeting the global market.”

Villamor feels privileged to be given the creative freedom to bring her visions to life. “There are technical and production principles that have been applied in my last shows. So with all this exploration, I hope to continue in the upcoming projects and push for quality in all aspects.”  

Madridejos is also pushing for new techniques to adapt. “Ang daming learnings especially sa industry natin kasi need naming maging updated lalo na ngayon na we are also looking na maipalabas ang shows natin sa ibang streaming platforms.”

Zapata continues to find enjoyment in the direction process. “With every new project I continue to be genuinely thrilled with the process of its creation, and every time I am still fascinated with how I can execute a script in a different, perhaps fresh new way. For me, there is a pureness in the joy of telling a story.” 

Sineneng, on the other hand, is looking forward to working with “actors, creative team, staff, and crew, whom I have never worked before.”

“I believe that life is a continuous learning process, and I am excited to interact with a different brand of talents,” he added.

Other Kapuso directors who have made significant contributions to the industry: Jorron Monroy, Zig Dulay, Monti Parungao, Ricky Davao, Gina Alajar, Laurice Guillen, Rico Gutierrez, Neal del Rosario, and Rechie del Carmen.

Focusing on elevating local cinematography, Monroy is pushing for worldwide recognition of Filipino content. 

On the other hand, Dulay is keen on having more cultures and people represented on teleseryes. “Sana magtuloy-tuloy pa rin sa pagkakaroon ng mga serye na kagaya ng ‘Sahaya’ at ‘Legal Wives,’ na hindi lang magbabahagi ng mga kuwento ng mga Indigenous Peoples kundi ng mga taong nasa gilid-gilid at madalas walang representasyon o boses sa mainstream media.”

Parungao is looking to push storytelling beyond what is usually done. “New plots and twists that we can execute in the new production procedures brought by the pandemic safety protocols,” he quipped.

Davao agreed, adding, “I am also excited because GMA has invested in state-of-the-art equipment to bring these stories to life with beautiful visuals.” 

Alajar looks to adapt and create new practices in her upcoming projects. “Since I am a fan of Korean Dramas, hopefully in the future we can try different approaches in the making of, different star combinations, and hopefully we can have more epic dramas.”

For Guillen, GMA is home and shared one of her proudest Kapuso stints, which is the top-rated daytime drama series, “Ika-6 Na Utos.”

“It was a proud moment not just for me but for the entire team – production, creative, technical, and the actors. In all the years, I have been a director with Kapuso, I have felt very happy and at home. Kapuso has always kept a personal and professional connection with me, which I value very much,” she said.

Gutierrez continues to find joy in his work. “I’m grateful I get to direct different types of television shows, from children shows, game/reality shows, musical shows even news, public affairs shows, and action /fantasy shows. Masaya siya. Don’t want to sound cliché but I love my work.”

 Adding to that, del Rosario admitted, “As a director, our responsibility as storytellers is to touch hearts. I never stopped learning new things when it comes to honing my craft. Knowledge is a continuous effort but should be coupled with passion, dedication, maturity, and humility.” 

On the other hand, del Carmen shared the project that she is most proud of. “I am a Kapuso director for five years now. My proudest Kapuso moment is being involved with ‘First Yaya’ which was a phenomenal primetime rater and is now moving to create its book two, ‘First Lady.’”  

Apart from directors, a show will not be as successful as it is if not for its backbone – a creative team – whose main goal is to create and elevate a story into a visual masterpiece that will give the audience the best viewing experience.  

GMA Drama creative director Aloy Adlawan and creative consultants Richard ‘Dode’ Cruz, RJ Nuevas, Suzette Doctolero, Des Garbes-Severino, Kit Villanueva-Zapata, Denoy Navarro-Punio, Jojo Nones, and Agnes Gagelonia-Uligan all shared favorite shows they have worked on.  

For Adlawan it’s “Sinenovela’s Magdusa Ka,” his first teleserye in GMA as head writer. “The show not only went into air with really high ratings, but it was also the first GMA drama show that was nominated in the International Emmys for Best Telenovela.”

Another show close to his heart is “The Good Daughter,” which starred Kylie Padilla. It was the first show to achieve double-digit ratings in the Afternoon Prime programming.

For Cruz, It is “Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin.” “Because it was the first successful GMA-7 produced soap that paved the way for the current GMA Telebabad. I was so euphoric seeing my first baby become a hit for my beloved home network.”  

“My favorite conceptualized shows are ‘Ika-6 Na Utos’ and ‘Anna Karenina,’” shared Nuevas. “Because these shows resonated with audiences.” 

For Doctolero, it is difficult to choose just one. “I have so many. ‘Encantadia’ because I felt like a child again when we were writing that show. ‘Amaya’ because I’ve learned a lot kasi ang dami kong books na binasa for that. ‘My Husband’s Lover’ because it was so beautiful. It talks about love, it’s liberating.” 

Garbes-Severino’s choice is one that challenged her during the height of strict safety measures of the current pandemic: “I Can See You.”

“It was the first show that was taped during the pandemic, and we were just so happy to prove that it could be done. That it was well-received by the viewers was just a bonus.”

Villanueva-Zapata, in turn, named “Grazilda.” “I always lean towards character-driven concepts. Grazilda is a feminist antihero – a standout, not like any other I’ve ever written. She is selfish, temperamental, bratty not a typical protagonist by any means, but she certainly has depth.” 

On the other hand, Navarro-Punio’s choice is “To Have and To Hold,” which showed the intricacies involved in a marriage. “I wanted to create a series that encapsulates a breakdown of a marriage and how the characters deal with their disillusionment, the pain of betrayal and how to also heal from it.” 

For Nones, “First Yaya” is a proud moment. “I felt so proud and grateful when ‘First Yaya’ was the number 1 program in the country, regardless of genre or format.”

Gagelonia-Uligan narrowed it down to two choices: “‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko” and “Love of my Life.” “Masarap ‘yung nakaka-entertain ka na, nakakapagturo ka pa sa mga bata, at maging sa matatanda,” she said.

What do you think?

Written by Tempo Desk

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