How Travel Sparks Creativity In Antoinette Jadaone

The acclaimed film director gives us a peek into her everyday carryall and teaches us how to flex our creative muscles, no matter where the hustle takes us.

It was the blockbuster hit That Thing Called Tadhana that cemented Antoinette Jadaone’s reputation as a director of romantic films for modern Filipino audiences. But in the eight years since her directorial debut, Antoinette has produced two television series and ten feature films that show remarkable wit and range, beginning with 2011’s Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay to this year’s Liza Soberano/Enrique Gil-starrer Alone/Together.

“I write out my ideas as they come, no matter how weird they are at that point in time — and I don’t pre-edit. I find that when I edit in my head, ideas die prematurely,” she says, pointing to the contents of her bag. “And so, my notebook and laptop are like my treasure chests. I root around in there when I need to pitch new film concepts.”

Travel is a necessary luxury for the acclaimed director. “When I was younger, every instance of travel was earned. It was a cycle of working hard, saving up and then traveling. I’d make sure my travels coincided with film festivals that I could attend. And then I’d extend the trip by a few days to get in the leisure experiences,” she says.

And while Antoinette is reaping the spoils from her commercial successes, travel continues to be something she gladly saves up for. “Now, with what I have, I don’t purchase branded goods — all of it goes to travel. It’s my form of personal luxury.”

What’s In Her Bag

1 — Charger pouch: “Holds all the chargers I need.”

2 — Kindle: “I was hesitant to get one at first, but I needed some books for research and gave in to this purchase. I enjoy the flexibility of one-minute downloads.”

3 — Pencil case: “Because I’m old-school like that.”

4 — Bag: “It’s from Portugal, made from vegetable-tanned leather and salvaged Japanese denim. The older it gets, the more beautiful it is.”

5 — Wallet: “This was a gift — it might be a Balenciaga and be more expensive than its contents.”

6 — Notebook: “With every new film, I get a new notebook. This is the one I used for Fan Girl.”

7 — Laptop: “I bring it everywhere — even when I’m not scheduled to do any writing.”

8 — Pens: “I have fountain pens — they make me feel like I’m doing more important writing — and free pens from film festivals. I’m old-school. I like writing my thoughts out on paper.”

9 — Fan Girl script: “I had this with me even when I was not on set, so I could scribble notes anywhere.”

10 — Making Movies by Sidney Lumet: “I re-read this book before I start work on any movie. It puts me in the director’s frame of mind — especially helpful after I’ve spent months writing the screenplay. I recommend it to filmmakers.”

Antoinette’s Travel Style

1 — Adventure seeker or solid leisure?  Mix of both, but I do prefer coffee and good food

2 — What makes you a great travel companion?  Anything goes! I’m also great at unearthing a city’s hidden gems

3 — Tour group or solo travel? Never solo

4 — Light or heavy packer? Light

5 — Aisle or window? Window

6 — Coffee, tea or wine? Coffee

7 — Next stop on your travel bucket list? Melbourne

8 — Preferred travel camera? The Fujifilm X-T100

9 — Three work travel essentials? Laptop, camera and portable WiFi

10 — Favorite travel-themed films? Before Sunrise, Under the Tuscan Sun and Milan

11 — Best films you’ve seen recently? Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and Andrea Arnold’s Oscar-winning short Wasp

12 — Your new film in three words? Not a rom-com

13 — Your all-time favorite director? Ishmael Bernal

14 — A director whose brain you’d love to pick? Asghar Farhadi

15 — Films that inspired you to make movies? A lot of award-winning Filipino shorts, such as Raymond Red’s Anino and others by Lyle Sacris

16 — Film genres you may work with? Crime, suspense or even horror

17 — Standout moment in your career so far? Maybe That Thing Called Tadhana

18 — Best way to unwind? Eat!

19 — First leisurely thing you do when you arrive at your destination? Eat! (haha)

20 — Favorite comfort food? My mama’s sopas, or macaroni soup

This article first appeared in the October 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Gabbie Tatad

Photographed by

Lucky Leoparte

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