July 24, 2012

On People: Princess Dalmas, Film Director

Princess Dalmas, Film Director
The term ‘Up and Coming’ is thrown around a lot, but in this case, aptly describes young director Princess Dalmas. Talented, driven and passionate, Princess has a couple of films under her belt with an international screening. As one of the few young people and indeed, one of the few directors willing to ask the hard questions, her unique and considered perspective is deserving of a national audience.

Princess at work.

Princess giving instructions to veteran actress, Ms. Dionne De Guzman and young indie film actress, Kiele Brawner.
Tell us something about yourself.
Right now, I’m still on the way to getting my degree. I love telling stories in one way or another, I’m exceptionally clumsy and I eat way too much gummy worms and sour gecko. hmm Other than that, I’m incredibly, wonderfully boring.

Tell us a weird quirk of yours.
I like watching strangers but not to the point that it becomes creepy. Okay, maybe just a liiiitle bit.

How did you start your career?

I grew up thinking that movies were concrete proof that magic is real. I still do. Not knowing what else to do the summer before college, I took a summer film program where people from the industry imparted their knowledge to me. Since then, I could not let it go. I wanted to make magic too :)) My graduation film, “Birthday” was selected by the Filipino International Film Festival to be exhibited in Los Angeles. I then made an experimental and socially relevant film that was screened in selected universities. Because of the success, I set up Princess Motion Pictures (http://princessmotionpictures.com/). I’ve been making films and videos, ever since.

Tell us something about your films.
My films have yet to satisfy me, but every flaw, every speck felt like they needed to exist. When I re-watch my work, I learn from my mistakes. The films I’ve done are mostly youth oriented. If there’d be a story arch or genre that could apply to every single person, yes, even to those who don’t have enough teeth anymore, it would be Coming-of-Age. I’m open to exploring more on the pains and delights of growing up. Jonathan Tropper once said, "Even under the best of circumstances, there’s just something so damn tragic about growing up," and I think that that is so damn beautiful.
Princess' first full length film.
Tell us about your typical day at work.
I would say nothing about my day at work is typical. Everything’s unpredictable. I can’t help but surprise myself continually. In fact maybe I could say that a “typical” day at work would be filled with implicit and explicit stupefaction. And food. :))

Who or what inspires you and why?
Everything inspires me - The sheer presence of being and the act of being. Maybe even a can opener can inspire me. But if we were to identify my driving force, it would be the fact that everything and everyone is under the threat of being taken for granted. We let too many things pass without our noticing. We’re probably built that way, but I, the storyteller, have immense power to change that, even for a moment. As to the question of who inspires me, the range is quite variegated. It could be my family, my friends and great directors like Christopher Nolan or Martin Scorsese. It could be anyone who believes in something with just about the right amount of madness.

What was the best thing that ever happened to you?
I try not to relish much in the biggies. It would be difficult to answer since I don’t remember much of those. I always believed that real happiness is the long string of little delights, not some one-time-big-time incident. But then again what is the best thing that ever happened to me? I don’t know. It continues to puzzle me haha.

What can you say about the film industry in the Philippines?
The said industry could be compared to a long-infected patient. The side-effects are massive in range for it affects the perception of every citizen in this society. The Philippine cinema has long been sick. In most countries, even if new, nameless actors star in a major motion picture, people will still watch if they are given enough premise. Unfortunately for us, the masses only watch if bankable celebrities star in the movie.
I could see improvements but we still have a long way to go to actually have a decent film industry. I know they’re too selfish or too scared to let go of formulas. Movies are business after all. But a true businessman should be willing to take risks. The film industry will never improve if not enough of the big guys take the risk and produce and finance works of substance. The tastes of the people will adapt if transition is carefully planned and executed.

What is the most memorable moment you have had as a film director?
It would be that one moment I fell asleep on the set. Just because there was a bed in the scene. No, but seriously? I think it would be the time I got recognition, but the best times would always be moments from the set.

What message do you have for people aspiring to be a film director?
Focus. That’s something I have yet to master, but you will need it more than anything else at some point. And oh, learn to accept that there’s no such thing as style. A director is always naked on the set, stripped of everything but choice.

Princess Motion Pictures
http://princessfolio.tumblr.com/ <---- If you want direct access to her films.

websites I'd like to share features artists' workspaces:
http://www.theselby.com/ , useful info for creative people:
http://the99percent.com/ , a USA based reviews site I write for

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Listening to : Terrible Love by Birdy
            <3 : Princess
            =( : rainy days

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