After her heartbreak over a big break being cut short, neophyte actress Daniela Stranner is finally at the cusp of stardom anew, with a feature film debut helmed by no less than box-office director Cathy Garcia-Molina, who, already, is heaping praise on her latest ward.
“A good actress” who is certain to be “one of the better ones,” was how Garcia-Molina described Stranner, whose young career kicked off in 2018 as one of the members of that year’s Star Magic Circle.
“Pag nalaman ng tao at nakita nila kung ano ang kayang ibigay ni Daniela, they would love her, too,” the filmmaker said in a recent interview.
Stranner, who has followed Garcia-Molina’s films, recalled she was nearly moved to tears when she first heard the director’s supportive words.
“That’s really a big deal,” Stranner told ABS-CBN News, pointing out that Garcia-Molina is known in showbiz as a mentor credited with honing the talent of her actors.
That Garcia-Molina will direct her first-ever movie, via “Love at First Stream,” is a dream come true which Stranner didn’t expect to come so soon in her career.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” she said.
The Star Cinema and Kumu co-production will feature the pairings of Stranner and fellow newcomer Anthony Jennings, and former “Pinoy Big Brother” housemates Kaori Ouinuma and Rhys Miguel. A third “love team” will be selected to also star through on ongoing Kumu campaign, which ends July 26.
MAKING IT DESPITE CRISES
For Stranner, “Love at First Stream” is a fresh start after the derailment of what would have been her big break with Jennings, as the “second love team” in the primetime series “Make It With You.”
The ABS-CBN title, which starred Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, was among the programs that got cancelled at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, cutting short its run to three months until March 2020, with no resolution to its story.
Then, in May, ABS-CBN was forced off free television when its broadcast franchise expired after a congressional panel left un-discussed the network’s renewal application. ABS-CBN’s free-TV and radio frequencies were shuttered for good in July after the same committee voted to kill the franchise.
“Natunganga lang ako noon,” Stranner said of the cancellation of “Make It With You.” “I messaged Anthony. I asked if he’s okay. ‘It’s not okay.’ We weren’t okay. It was our big break, our very first project.”
“I was overthinking. ‘Paano na ako? Am I going to have projects?’ I expected, after ‘Make It With You,’ siguro doon pa lang ako makikilala. I was hoping,” she added.
Recalling the second blow of ABS-CBN’s franchise denial, Stranner at the time decided to fly back to Germany, where her father is based.
“I couldn’t handle everything that’s going on. I didn’t know what was happening. I was so sad about ABS-CBN. May mga natanggalan ng trabaho, including my close road managers,” she said.
“It was really hard for me and my family, because we were looking forward sa mga nangayayari sa akin sa showbiz, and then everything went down in just a few months.”
‘HINDI KAMI PINABAYAAN’
In that season of uncertainty, Stranner held on to hope that her showbiz breakthrough was merely delayed, not denied. She credited Rise Artists Studio, which manages her career, for turning the tumultuous period into an opportunity for its talents’ growth.
“Hindi kami pinabayaan ng Rise. They gave us workshops. They were still training us. We had our show ‘We Rise Together.’ Hindi kami pinabayaan ng ABS-CBN kahit ganoon ang nangyayari,” she said.
“Nagtiwala ako nang sobra, kasi alam namin na hindi kami pababayaan.”
Over a year since the back-to-back crises, Stranner now finds herself reclaiming the “big break” she once thought would elude her for good.
This time, she intends to prove doubters wrong, with both her training as an ABS-CBN artist, and the guidance of a director she has long aspired to work with.
“Iyon ‘yung lagi kong naririnig tungkol sa akin, na ganda lang ang meron ako, na walang akong talent. Gusto ko patunayan na mali sila. I can act. I can show my talent,” she said.