Zig Dulay was well-aware that it was going to take a lot more than his usual ways to pull off a career first: a mystery murder drama for a TV series. Away from his comfort zone, Zig dug deep into his storytelling roots, drawing strength from the story’s inherent beauty, the promise of new knowledge, and the trust from those who persistently believe.

Visionary filmmaker Zig Dulay, 37, is coming off a successful campaign on the big screen. His Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry “Firefly” won two Best Picture awards, Best Screenplay, and Best Director, among many others – adding more feathers in his cap.

Most recently, he directed the sci-fi family drama, “My Guardian Alien,” topbilled by the GMA Prime-returning Kapuso Primetime Queen, Marian Rivera.

It did not take long for the 37-year-old artist to star in yet another grand media conference– this time for the upcoming mystery murder drama “Widows’ War,” where Box Office Queen Bea Alonzo and Primetime Goddess Carla Abellana are set to join forces. 

Unfamiliar genres are often too risky to brave for many, but not Zig. 

In an interview with GMA Regional TV News, the multi-awarded director discussed why there’s nothing he won’t plunge himself into so long as he believes in the story’s ethos, and he has the trust of his “co-storytellers.”

“Ang nagpu-push sa akin kung bakit ginagawa ko yung best ko ay yung tiwala,’ he told GMA Regional TV News.

The Isabela-born filmmaker believes he has found a safe haven in a trusting network who allows him to explore and expand his wheelhouse.

“Yung tiwala ng network, yung tiwalang binibigay ng mga artista at mga tao sa team, enough yun para panghawakan kong kahit mahirapan ako at maraming challenges, along the way kailangan ko ito harapin kasi maraming naninwala sa akin,” he said. 

Beyond the camaraderie-building trust from those who believe in his capabilities, Zig also puts a premium on trusting wholeheartedly in the story’s ethos and principles.

“Naniniwala ako sa materyal. Naniniwala ako sa gustong i-impart doon sa audience na hindi lang sya murder mystery, marami rin syang paraan para kapulutan ng aral– yung pagpapahalaga natin sa pagkakaibgan, pamilya at katotohanan,” he explained.

Looking at something in a brand new light, adding spice to his cinematic vocabulary, writing on a much bigger canvas– the idea of taking in new knowledge simply excites Zig. 

This has made him bolder as a filmmaker, as he has beautifully perfected the art of gratitude.

“Bago ko tanggapin yung proyekto, alam kong marami akong matututunan, dahil bago ito sa akin. Kasi yung konsepto ng pagkatuto, tingin ko never natatapos, lalo sa aming mga storyteller,” he shared. 

Needless to say, he is not easily fazed by the daunting task of navigating uncharted waters. “Every time may challenges – yung hirap, puyat, pagod, sobrang effort – nilalaban ko kasi alam kong marami akong matututunan. Hindi lang sa script, pero dun sa production mismo. After ako dun sa pagkatuto,” Dulay explained.

Asked how he prepared for “Widows’ War,” no pun intended, the Kapuso filmmaker revealed having to consume a ton of literature related to the genre in order to understand its nuances and complexities. “Marami akong pinapanood na pelikula, binasang libro at articles, kasi I really had to equip myself eh, its not (within) my comfort zone.”

Zig firmly believes in the unparalleled power of truth. For Widows’ War, through the help of the creative team’s conceptual genius, he wanted to somehow reverse-engineer the process of truth-seeking to make the viewing experience much more interesting.

His vision: an engaged audience left with no choice but to look at the question of their truth’s own subsistence. “Kapag napanood ito ng mga tao, mapapatanong sila– sa panahong ito, at sa henerasyong ito, kanino nanggagaling ang katotohanan? Sino ang may hawak ng totoo? Sino ang dapat paniwalaan at sino ang hindi?”

A far contrast to his more recent outputs, Zig recognizes that the change in genre also prompted him to shift gears and speak the truth using an entirely different approach. 

Without compromising his purpose and losing grasp on his principles, he had to constantly ground himself on the lived realities of people whose stories lay the very foundations of artistic expression.

“Lagi kong gina-ground yung sarili ko sa katotohanan at realism. Yun yung dala-dala ko everytime ginagawa namin yung eksena. Para mas magawa ng mas maayos yung buong serye. Bagamat serye sya, pag pinanood mo, nangyayare talaga sya sa totoong buhay,” the filmmake shared. 

The heart of Zig’s pursuit is not the glamorous numbers nor the inevitable praises that come with a show’s success, but the rigorously wonderful process by which he manifests himself as a storyteller – and, above all, the promise that there will always be beautiful stories to tell.