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For Xian Lim, Kim Chiu is an inspiration in his filmmaking

“Kim might have a different outlook in life but we support each other,” admitted Xian Lim referring to his girlfriend Kim Chiu about his embarking on a new journey in his art—film directing.

Xian didn’t exactly mean Kim doesn’t want him to do a new role in his artistic work he just simply puts her on the spot—as a lover who is as excited as him in his new found love or job.

“Of course, Kim is an inspiration,” he smiled.

Because directing alongside writing is a dream come true for Lim who has been looking for new avenue to express his thoughts and feelings.

First, it was writing alone.

“I was able to write something creatively. But I know I still have something to improve on. There was still a room for improvement in what I was able to jot down one day,” recalled Xian in an exclusive interview with him at the Dream Theater (Tanghalang Manuel Conde) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) one day after Valentine.

Oh! Xian and Kim just spent their Valentine’s Day in a very cozy place—Kim’s home where her sister cooked for them.

“Kim is very supportive of what I do. This time, in my directing career, she is a big help,” said the actor.

So after scribbling some notes on his story idea, Xian was thinking of who would be the next person to read his draft.

Who else by prizewinning screenwriter Ricardo Lee, also known in the biz as Ricky Lee? “I went to Sir Ricky with my story idea and he said I could make something out of it,” he intimated.

Without knowing it, Xian was already enrolling himself in the Writers Studio, an organization formed by Ricky for interested writers or alumnus of his free scriptwriting seminar and workshop. Of course, there were requirements. No one enters Lee’s writing school without submitting one’s writing samples or write-ups to work on.

That time it was the draft of Xian’s story idea, barely a script that took in him as one of the students of the famous writer. He was one of the curious as a cat budding scriptwriters to have learned a lot from Ricky.

Lim devoted ample time to attend regular sessions under Lee’s tutelage.

Xian Lim with movie reporter Boy Villasanta

“It was only after Ricky’s advice that I could say I had created something,” he quipped.

But Xian had someone who collaborated with his writing. It was his friend and associate Ays de Guzman. Ays also gave additional meanings and dimensions in his story idea which according to the synopsis of the narrative is “a man’s beliefs in reality is tested when suspects are accused of a crime they believe to not have committed.”

The idea has something to do with Tabon cave which easily gave away the title “Tabon.”

After the whole concept and title, what’s next?

“Someone gave me the idea to join Cinemalaya. I love writing, first and foremost. And Cinemalaya is an ideal organization for me,” says Xian who is teeming with excitement on telling and retelling his story idea and eventually his writing and directing.

Besides, Cinemalaya has a very special place in Xian’s heart because it was in this independent film festival that his career took off as an actor. “It is a comeback to Cinemalaya,” he exclaimed. “This is it,” he added.

In 2010, the late maverick filmmaker Gil Portes was looking for a new face to play a very pivotal role in his masterpiece, “2 Funerals” written by award-winning scriptwriter Eric Ramos. The character to be essayed was a young man to have witnessed the interchanged caskets of two dead people and its implication in his life. The young man to pop up during the audition was a newbie named Alexander Xian Lim. Eventually the upstart bagged the coveted role.

I first saw Xian during the premiere showing of “2 Funerals” at the Main Theater of the CCP. He was already dashing as a newcomer. He was a standout among the crowd.

True enough, the next thing after his debut was numerous offers to do films for major companies like Star Cinema.

Xian was immediately signed up with Star Magic of ABS-CBN. And as they say, the next important thing to happen is history.

He made a number of glossy films and television dramas. One thing led to another until he was paired off with Kim who was at a point in her career was departing from her love team both reel and real with Gerald Anderson.

The Kim-Xian tandem was a hit and still is.

It turned out a box-office chemistry and the personal got in the way because without them knowing it, the two young people were in love in real life.

Even if Xian had already left Star Magic and moved to Viva Entertainment as his talent management, he has never severed his ties with most of Star Magic artists which of course, include his sweetheart.

During the time of the interview, Xian had bid adieu to Kim when he was about to board the plane to Russia where he was to shoot a film.         

Meanwhile, Xian’s directing a film came in as much as he also wanted to expand his artistry. It was also a prodding of his friends and associates.

After revisions of “Tabon,” he registered his intention to direct the project.

Xian then beat the deadline three years ago for the 15th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival full-length category.

It was a long since it took a least a year to know the results of his attempt at one of the most respected local film festivals.

It was only last year that he was announced and all the nine others nine as finalists to this year’s Cinemalaya.

During the announcement, some people inside the Main Theater were surprised to have heard the name Xian Lim as one of the finalists in the 2019 Cinemalaya. He’s a finalist as a director. Could it be a namesake of an actor very active in his current craft? Could it be someone used Xian Lim as a pen name? Could it be the real Xian Lim?

Yes, it was the real Xian Lim, Alexander Xian Lim-Uy, in the roster together with another industry stalwart Joji Alonso, a producer and investor on a lot of independent films.

In August, we will finally see the entire work of Xian Lim as director.

Let us keep our fingers crossed for his new career.

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