MANILA — “Distance lang ‘yan. The love must be stronger than that.”
These were Antoinette Jadaone’s words as she shared the message she hopes viewers will pick up from “LDR,” a short film she directed as part of the latest Valentine-themed “Kwentong Jollibee” series.
Released on Thursday, the film follows a young couple, Brian and Mina, as they cope with being in a “long-distance relationship” during the pandemic lockdown.
Jadaone is no stranger to depicting “LDR” stories. Her previous collaboration with Jollibee Studios, the short “Fight or Flight” in 2018, was similarly themed. In the same year, the acclaimed filmmaker released the London-set “Never Not Love You,” starring James Reid and Nadine Lustre as a couple whose dreams put them on different paths.
Referring to her latest offering, Jadaone said, “Ang difference lang, hindi siya totoong LDR story na nasa ibang bansa ‘yung jowa.”
“It is a kind of LDR na lahat tayo naranasan, whether we liked it or not, which is a lockdown relationship. In that sense, madaling ma-channel ‘yung feeling of longing, feeling of wanting companionship and your loved ones and friends beside you during the lockdown.”
“That’s what happened in the story.”
Jadaone, who has written most of her films, said “LDR” had a ready script handed to her by Jollibee Studios and its partner agency. She credited the company for its openness that allowed her to revise the short substantially.
Originally, “LDR’s” treatment featured the woman character “typing something into her journal” to narrate the story.
“They allowed me to revise it based on how I see the film in my mind. The treatment that I used was breaking the fourth wall, because I love ‘Fleabag,’ so iyon ‘yung ginamit ko,” Jadaone said, referring to the 2013 British comedy series.
Beyond her fascination with “Fleabag,” Jadaone saw breaking the fourth wall, or directly addressing the audience, as a fitting portrayal of yearning for physical connection during quarantine.
“Lalo noong gitna ng lockdown, parang ganoon na tayo — kinakausap na natin ang mga sarili natin, kasi wala na tayong makausap,” she said.
“Lahat ng naiisip natin, sinasabi natin. It was one way to show how we really were during the middle of the lockdown. Kaya breaking the fourth wall ‘yung ginamit ko.”
Jadaone’s “LDR” is one of three shorts Jollibee Studios is releasing this month, in celebration of Valentine’s Day.
Pepe Diokno directed “First Date,” about a woman dealing with isolation during the lockdown, while Ianco dela Cruz helmed “Hero,” about how “love can help get a person through life’s most difficult moments.” The episodes will be released on February 8 and 12, respectively.