Indie director talks about life with wife Toni Gonzaga and son Seve
To say that film director Paul Soriano lives a colorful life can well be taken in the literal sense. Asked how he begins every working day, the 35-year-old independent film director and producer chuckles and says he checks out the hues outside and on set, as well as lighting, on a daily basis before rolling the camera.
Soriano is an award-winning director who has helmed such critically acclaimed movies as “A Journey Home” (2009); “Thelma” (2011)—where he won the Film Academy of the Philippines’ Best Director and Best Screenplay awards—;“Kid Kulafu” (2015); and “Dukot” (2016).
As a producer, he is behind the company Ten17P, which churned out noted films like “Dagitab,” “Mariquina,” internationally acclaimed “Transit,” and the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear recipient, “Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby for the Sorrowful Mystery).”
These days, Soriano excitedly shared with The Manila Times that he is working on a movie titled “Siargao,” which stars Jericho Rosales, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Erich Gonzales.
“I think I have an interesting story to tell with Siargao—a story about finding and losing yourself, and falling in and out of love. We have a great cast and we’ll of course showcase the beauty of the island of Siargao, which is also a main character in the film” the director elaborated on the sidelines of his launch as Samsung QLED TV’s brand ambassador.
Soriano further acknowledged that the upcoming movie is his first attempt in the romantic genre—what with his previous titles generally tackling biographies, inspirational stories, and family dramas—all the more reenergizing his passion for making moving pictures.
Outside the reel world, Soriano lives his life more vibrantly most especially with the presence of his first-born Seve.
In the confines of his private offices in Makati where important decisions for his company are made, Soriano lit up as he conveyed to The Manila Times how his and wife Toni Gonzaga’s almost two-year-old marriage has been blessed, albeit changed, by their little bundle of joy.
“Definitely it’s been a total 180-degree turn. Our lives have completely changed but for the better,” Soriano assured.
The director and then-longtime girlfriend Gonzaga—whom he met while shooting the singer-actresses’ music video—were wedded in June 2015. In September the following year, Gonzaga gave birth to a boy they named Severiano Elliot, or Baby Seve.
When asked for their parenting style, the director-producer simply said he and his wife works as a team.
“If I am working, she’s there with Sevie. If she’s working I am there with Sevie. Sometimes I even have to hold meetings at home because I want be with my son. We both try to be home as early as we can and spend as much time together as we can as a family,” Soriano said.
The director also admitted how he and his wife have given up a number of things they used to enjoy just to be able to better take care and be present in Seve’s seven months of life thus far. Top on the list is sleep—an “activity” they both love to do.
“If you talk to Toni, she’ll tell you she would love to sleep if she’s given the chance. Gone are the days we sleep for eight to 10 hours so the fact that she has given up the one thing that she loves for our son, that’s a drastic change,” Soriano beamed.
As a reward, the couple has been able to see the milestones of Seve who is fast becoming a celebrity on his own. The little boy has a verified Instagram account @severianoelliott that has hit no less than 400,000 followers.
“He’s starting to crawl, climb up his crib, shout more and make more sounds. He’s responsive to the colors of the television. He loves watching his favorite cartoons—he jumps up and down, claps his hands, and laughs when he sees the funny characters on TV. We get to share all these milestones with him, which may seem small but feel so big for us,” he intimated.
With that, Soriano said he is excited to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, Gonzaga’s first official celebration of the occasion, and divulged he will fly back to from Siargao just to be with her on May 14.
“I can’t miss it. Definitely I have to be there for Toni and Seve, to enjoy the first Mother’s Day. I guess it’s going to be a simple celebration at home and just be a team.”
In ending, Soriano uses his expertise once more to describe life with his son.
“Yes, it is even more colorful,” he exclaimed. “Of course, I am extra inspired to work because I am no longer just providing for myself or for Toni. I’m working really hard to be able to save as much as I can so I can give him a great education, great experiences.
“I think as a parent that’s your first responsibility—to give him the best tools you possibly can so that he can also find his own character and be who he wants to be.”