Piolo Pascual to make first horror film in Derick Cabrido’s ‘Mallari’

Cabrido (left) with Louise delos Reyes on the set of “Deadly Love”

The fact that you’re blessed career-wise is no excuse for you to be arrogant,” said filmmaker Derick Cabrido when asked to share one valuable life lesson he has learned telling stories through film for 12 years now.

This 2023, Cabrido is not only set to direct Piolo Pascual’s first horror film, titled “Mallari,” he is also poised to shoot another one with Barbie Forteza under GMA Films. Cabrido has also finished shooting a series for Viva One, starring Jaclyn Jose, Marco Gumabao, McCoy de Leon and Louise delos Reyes, titled “Deadly Love”; a romantic-comedy project starring Bela Padilla and JC Santos for Viva Entertainment titled “Wish You Were the One”; and another horror project for Regal Films titled “Untold.”

“Everything is a blessing from God. There is a purpose why this particular blessing has been given to you. You have to learn to appreciate all of them because they can all be taken from you with a snap of a finger,” Cabrido, whose last nationwide commercial release was the 2019 supernatural horror film “Clarita,” starring Jodi Sta. Maria.

Luckily, when the pandemic broke in 2020, Cabrido was able to release “U-Turn,” starring Kim Chiu and Tony Labrusca, via Netflix. He also directed “The Goodbye Girl,” with Angelica Panganiban as lead, as Star Magic’s 30th anniversary offering.

“Because of the pandemic, our company, Clever Minds, was able to develop concepts that are now being released one by one. Included on the list is ‘Mallari,’ which has since had a major change in storyline. It used to be about a single character. Now, it features three characters in three different timelines,” he pointed out. “In a way, the pandemic became a blessing in disguise. Even though production halted, I still had work as a director. At the same time, as a storyteller, I was able to develop materials that we never imagined possible, ideas that we were able to relate to our experiences during the pandemic.”

High expectations

Cabrido said “Mallari” was developed with Piolo in mind. “We just didn’t know how to approach him. He hadn’t done horror before. We pitched it to him and we were happy he was interested,” said Cabrido. “I have high expectations for Piolo, simply because I know his caliber. I know he can do this because he likes being challenged. I can think of a lot of new things for him to do in this project. I’m confident that he will be able to pull it off.”

Piolo Pascual

Piolo Pascual

The director admitted to feeling excited about reuniting with Forteza, whom he first worked with in “Tuos,” alongside Nora Aunor. “Barbie is one of my closest actor-friends in the industry. We used to go to videoke joints together. She’s the type who I can just call any time of the day. We were just talking on the phone two weeks ago while she was in the middle of a shoot. She’s sweet like that,” he said.

Sta. Maria, whom Cabrido has gotten to know so well after “Clarita,” has also become a dear friend. He and the actress even coproduced Dolly Dolu’s boy’s love film titled “The Boy Foretold By the Stars.” “She is one coworker I never thought would end up becoming my friend. At the time we made ‘Clarita,’ she was already a big-name actress, but I never had any problem with her on the set. She would chat with everyone there, including the staff. She is so humble. I’m grateful that she is my friend. Whenever I have problems and need advice or prayers, I would call her,” said Cabrido.

Forever grateful

Cabrido has definitely come a long way since participating in the 2011 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival with the late Joseph Israel Laban via “Cuchera.”

“I honestly wanted to join Cinemalaya simply to experience it. We made a film and didn’t really think about its promotion and distribution, and who our actors would be. Today, over a decade later, I already have my own company (Clever Minds). I’ve done several films and was able to visit different countries because of them. What used to be something I did just for fun has now become my career,” the 35-year-old said.



As a way to pay it forward, Cabrido said he is open to the idea of mentoring young artists. “The late Mel Chionglo, who headed the selection committee of Cinemalaya at the time, was one of my first mentors. I will forever be grateful to him for encouraging me to direct. He pushed me despite my fears and insecurities. I also want to train others later on. In this industry, it’s difficult if you don’t have someone guiding you.” INQ

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