Paolo Ballesteros was one of the celebrities who took part in the kick off event of the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival spearheaded by the MMFF Executive Committee and the Film Decelopment Council of the Philippines.
Stars of the eight official entries gathered last December 3 at the SM North Edsa Skydome to interact with fans and present the official trailers of the Magic 8.
To represent the entry Die Beautiful, Paolo performed a song number for fans.
In this Jun Lana film, Paolo is cast as a transsexual named Tricia who has a dying wish: to have a wake that is as fabulous as the life she lived.
This movie earned for Paolo the Best Actor award at the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival held in Japan last November 3.
(Read: Paolo Ballesteros named Best Actor; Birdshot wins in Tokyo Film Fest 2016)
Was it awkward for him to shoot a love scene for this movie?
"It was a very happy set. Very light lang yung working [conditions]... "
How did he prepare for his intimate scenes with another guy?
"Nag-google ako!" said the Eat Bulaga host with a laugh.
When he learned that he would do a love scene with a guy, did he have any hesitations?
"Hindi. Nag-rejoice ako!" Paolo said again with a laugh.
What if the role required him to do a love scene with a woman, would he have accepted the project?
"Ah, dun ako may hesitation. Charot! Depende kung mukhang lalaki yung babae."
Turning serious, Paolo pointed out, "It's not everyday na nakakagawa ka ng film na ganun ang theme."
Will he accept roles in the future similar to the one he did in Die Beautiful?
"Okay lang basta bigyan rin nila ako ng award. Char! Okay lang. Every project naman na ginagawa ko, I make sure na I give my 100 or mas mataas pa na effort."
The awards night of the 42nd MMFF has already been rescheduled for December 29 instead of January 8, 2017.
If he could choose, would he want to win in the Best Actor or Best Actress category?
"Actually, ang hinahangad ko nga lang Best in Long Gown, e!"
He continued, "Never naman ako nag-expect but I'm hopeful not just for me but for the whole film na ma-recognize at ma-appreciate ng mga tao."
ON MMFF CHANGES. This year, the MMFF 2016 selection committee was given a new set of criteria that placed emphasis on quality and technical excellence.
Big-franchise movies were unable to make it to the Magic 8 of the annual film festival that will kick off on December 25.
One of those that was not chosen was Mano Po 7: Chinoy, which was produced by Regal Films.
Mother Lily Monteverde of Regal expressed her disappointment with this new system when she pointed out that indie films are not suited for the holiday season.
(Read: Mother Lily on MMFF 2016 entries: "There is a time for the indie movies, but not Christmas season.")
As the lead actor of this indie film Die Beautiful, what can Paolo say about this viewpoint?
"Kanya-kanya tayo ng pananaw. Ako kasi yung tao na pag may negative akong naiisip, I just keep it to myself kasi wala namang matutulong yung pagka-negative.
"For those people na nagsasabi na hindi siya pam-Pasko, sana magkaroon sila na open mind kasi hindi lang naman one-way street.
"Dalawang daan...maraming options. I-try mo muna. Paano mo sasabihin ma hindi maganda kung hindi mo pa na-try?
"I-try mo muna then kung hindi mo talaga type, sarilinin mo na lang."
There are also those saying that the entries of MMFF 2016 might have lower ticket sales in the box-office compared to previous years.
"Mga accountant ba sila?" joked Paolo before answering, "Sana mga well-wishers sana. Kung may hindi magandang sasabihin, keep it to yourself. Sana maging positive tayo sa buhay at maging positive ang outlook natin sa buhay."
Would he want the same system to be implemented next year?
"Hindi naman nasa akin yun. Ang sa akin lang, basta ano yung maipalabas na maganda kasi mayroon namang committee and kung ano yung gusto nila, it's up to them."
(To stay updated about the latest news about the MMFF, visit http://www.pep.ph/guide/mmff)