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EXCLUSIVE: Petersen Vargas on directing his first Star Cinema film and working with DonBelle

Direk Petersen also relayed a message for DonBelle fans who are excited to see their upcoming film “An Inconvenient Love”!

Humility Javier
Humility Javier

10/12/2022 in News
EXCLUSIVE: Petersen Vargas on directing his first Star Cinema film and working with DonBelle

In the months leading up to Star Cinema’s major comeback to theaters with “An Inconvenient Love”, we got the chance to sit down for an exclusive chat with the film’s award-winning director Petersen Vargas! 


As Direk Petersen shared how he took a director’s microscopic lens to Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano’s chemistry in the upcoming romance flick, he also gave us a preview of who he is as a filmmaker. 




At the heart of Direk Petersen’s career is his long-time passion for storytelling: “I didn’t really think of it when I was young but the more certain thing ever since is I wanted to tell stories. I think dun nanggaling and it just became obvious when I transitioned to telling stories in the medium of film.” 


As a millennial, his earlier experiences of watching movies involved renting out DVDs from the now-defunct retailer Video City. 


“That was my version of Netflix,” he recalled. “And renting stuff from Video City became my private activity. It was a solitary hobby of mine to watch Video City rentals during weekends all by myself.” 


But it was not until Direk Petersen began failing in his first course in college when he found his pivotal moment to pursue film instead. 



“When I successfully shifted, I think everything just kind of made sense. It was a happy accident that the universe just led me into this world,” he said. 


Having directed queer films “2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten” and “Hello Stranger: The Movie”, he shared that stories of youth capture the energy he loves telling on the big screen. 


I go back to really just wanting to tell stories from my own life. Since I’m gay, I really zoned in on those experiences when I was younger. But I realized that there’s this larger theme that I want to constantly tackle, this continuous effort to portray the word ‘youth’ on screen. It’s such a simple word but lagi akong nakikiliti nung word na ‘yun like youth cinema. I feel like those kinds of stories, those kinds of films, will always have this kind of energy.” 


Now that his first Star Cinema film, “An Inconvenient Love”, is set to hit theaters soon, he gushed over what he’s looking forward to the most with this movie. 




“I grew up watching a lot of Star Cinema movies. My generation, parang you actually kind of pattern how you fall in love with how Star Cinema tells its love stories. So in that way, I’m excited to capture that feeling as well,” he said.


He continued, “But what I’m even more excited about is that it’s 2022 and I think a lot of our ideals and values have flipped. And I’ve seen that, I’m living in this period where things have changed. So I’m excited to capture the same feeling but with a different look. My personal goal is for this Star Cinema film to have that same Star Cinema feel but to look like it’s made in 2022.”


In fact, when he first heard the concept of this DonBelle-starrer, Direk Petersen felt like “it was right up his alley.”


“At that moment, I already felt like I had to do it,” he lit up. 



When asked about his working experience with Donny and Belle, he answered, “Sobrang dali. I feel like it really helped that they were so into their characters. I remember the first meeting I had with them was about their thoughts on the script. Hearing them talk about it was so encouraging because sobrang aligned ‘yung ideas.”


He further detailed, “Even like activities that are meant for just Donny, Belle would also accompany him, and vice versa. They were so selfless about being part of the experience of preparing for it. They don’t just understand the characters, they also understand the kind of film we’re making.”


Direk Petersen, whom Belle has previously described as “cool” in an interview, requited that feeling with the stars he’s working with.


“Sobrang nag-vibe lang talaga ‘yung personality ko with them. When I met these two, it felt like I was meeting people who I really wanted to be friends with. So I think if you give off that energy, you exchange it as well.”


He also spoke in detail about the difference in Belle and Donny’s acting styles, emphasizing how that “helps him achieve the best results for every scene.”



“So far, I feel like they have two very different approaches, whereas Belle is the overthinker. She really wants to make sure before the take that she’s right there in that moment. And so, we’d have these moments where she’d pull me aside. Because we do this often, it also helps me because I kind of frame the moment also as her character, so I feel it. Sometimes, kapag naiiyak siya sa eksena, naiiyak din ako,” he shared.


“Si Donny, siya naman ‘yung tipong he’ll get to the scene and he’ll just be there on set all to himself without talking to anyone. He’s there because I feel like he wants to be on set agad wherever that moment is. And masu-surprise ka na lang because hindi naman kayo nag-usap but whatever I wanted to tell, nagawa na niya. And when he gets to me after a first take, kung anuman ang sasabihin niya, ‘yun lang din naman ang sasabihin ko,” he explained.



One of the things that Direk Petersen also stressed was how different Donny and Belle’s characters are in this movie compared to their previous screen roles.


“I think their characters here are so different from their characters in ‘He’s Into Her’ and ‘Love is Color Blind’. These characters that we’re going to watch in this film, I’ve never seen them in that light,” he admitted.”


“Here, we’re trying to ground DonBelle in something more immediate and raw. Parang these are people that you know in real life. These are people that you see on the daily commute or have been friends with in college. I feel like because we’re grounding them in this way, parang nag-iiba ‘yung dimension nung love story and nung kilig,” he said.


And to DonBelle fans who are thrilled to watch this movie, Direk Petersen has the best thing to tell you!


“I can’t wait to show you what we have in store for you guys kasi baka hindi niyo kayanin. Kasi hindi na namin kinakaya on set,” he teased.


Written by Enrico Santos and Daisy Cayanan, "An Inconvenient Love" is slated to premiere on November 23.


Make sure to follow Star Cinema’s official social media accounts for more updates! 


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Read more stories here: 

FULL CAST REVEALED: Meet the all-star cast of ‘An Inconvenient Love’

EXCLUSIVE: Donny Pangilinan, Belle Mariano begin filming for ‘An Inconvenient Love’ 

FIRST LOOK: Donny Pangilinan, Belle Mariano on the set of ‘An Inconvenient Love’  

Belle Mariano excited to star in ‘An Inconvenient Love’: ‘I’m so ready’