Ever since rumors circulated, linking Direk Paul Soriano to Siargao lead actress Erich Gonzales, interest has been high for this 2017 Metro Manila Film Fest entry.
To date, Siargao now has the third most number of cinemas among the eight entries of MMFF 2017.
Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad has the highest number of screens dedicated to it while Ang Panday is in second place.
What can Direk Paul say about those who watched Siargao because of the Erich infidelity rumors?
"Then at least, they watched the movie," said the husband of Toni Gonzaga with a smile.
"I mean, like I said, I hope we can really put that issue to rest because there's really no truth to it.
"It's really just hearsay."
This is what Direk Paul told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an exclusive interview held earlier today, January 4, during his solo press conference at the Relish restaurant in Quezon City.
The movie Siargao has definitely put the spotlight on this beautiful and tranquil island south of the Philippines.
After winning six major MMFF 2017 awards including Best Director for Direk Paul and Best Supporting Actress for Jasmine Curtis-Smith, the film has landed among the must-see movies in the annual film festival.
Set in the picturesque surfing destination, Siargao tells the story of three characters: Diego, a musician, played by Jericho Rosales; Laura, a travel vlogger, portrayed by Erich Gonzales; and Abi, a local island girl, played by Jasmine.
They are all on the island for their own reasons: to come home, to search for a new adventure, and to move on from heartbreak.
One of the locations used in the film is Harana Surf Resort, owned by Direk Paul together with his friends.
Aside from Jericho, Erich, and Jasmine, the movie also stars Luke Landrigan, Wil Dasovich, Mica Javier, Roxanne Barcelo, Will Devaughn, Suzette Ranillo, and Leon Miguel.
At the MMFF Awards Night held last December 27, Siargao took home the following awards: Best Sound, Best Original Theme Song (“Alon” by Hale), Best Editor, Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress. Siargao was also named 2nd Best Picture.
BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCE. When MMFF 2017 opened on December 25, Direk Paul says he got his biggest heartbreak when he learned that Siargao was screening in only one cinema in Mindanao.
“My film was shot in the northern part of Mindanao, but people in Butuan, Surigao—they couldn’t even watch a film about an island that was just so close to them.”
Now, as the MMFF enters its last weekend, the producer/director is happy to share the news that the box-office performance of Siargao has definitely picked up since then.
“Definitely so much better than the first day,” Direk Paul says. “It’s been very positive the last few days, and it’s only because [the numbers have increased] from 50 cinemas on our first week to more than 150 cinemas, and hopefully, more over the weekend. That’s why we’re doing so well.”
PEP.ph asked if they have already been able to recoup the investment that they made?
He disclosed, "Hindi pa. But if we continue this pace, I think so. That’s why #SiargaoStrongWeekend ang hinahabol namin."
Direk Paul adds that more audiences in the provinces are also appreciating Siargao.
“Now we’re showing in Butuan, Tacloban, all over. There are even cinemas I never knew existed, na nandun ang Siargao. Super blessed that cinema owners are giving Siargao a chance.”
With the hashtag #SiargaoStrongWeekend, Direk Paul and the film’s producers are hoping for that “last epic wave that we will ride Friday, Saturday, Sunday; that will really push our box office up.”
This romance drama produced by Ten 17 Productions already received invites to international film festivals but Direk Paul said he can't reveal them yet.