Brillante Mendoza Film Festival at SM Pampanga

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It was a homecoming of sorts for internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza when he showcased four of his award-winning films at SM City Pampanga Cinema 6. Born in Pampanga, he has brought honor not only to his hometown, but also to his country in the last five years.

The two-day event which featured Manoro, Kaleldo, Foster Child, and Lola, was held in celebration of the 10th anniversary of SM City Pampanga, and coincided with the Pampanga Day festivities.

Brillante, who was honored last year in the My City, My SM campaign, took time out from his busy schedule to talk about his films and answer questions from film enthusiasts who were delighted to not only have the opportunity to view his films, but also learn about their nuances from the director himself.

Lola is the story of two elderly women who bear the consequences of a crime involving their grandsons. One is the victim while the other one is the suspect. Both weak and poor, they laboriously solicit money in the midst of a storm — one for the victim’s burial, one for the suspect’s bail bond. Lola has won awards such as Best Film in the Eighth Rome International Film Festival in Italy; Best in Cinematography in the Durban International Film Festival; Best Director, Best Sound and Best Film at the Golden Screen Award of the Entertainment Press; the Grand Knight Award at the Miami Film Festival; Best Film, Best Actress and Best Photography at the Las Palmas Film Festival in Spain; and the Ecumenical Jury Award at the Frabourg Film Festival in Switzerland.

With Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda and board member Trina Dizon.

Manoro is the story of a 13-year-old aeta named Jonalyn, who after graduating from elementary school teaches middle aged and eldery aetas to read and write, thus enabling them to cast votes for the election. Manoro was the recipient of the Cinema Avvenir Award at the Torino International Film Festival in 2006; and the Best Film, Best Director and Digital Lokal Awards at the Cinemanila International Film Festival in 2006.

Kaleldo tells the story of a motherless family after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and tells viewers that life, as depicted in the turn of events in the lives of the film’s characters, is as changeable and as volatile as the seasons. Kaleldo won the Netpac Award at the Jeonju International Film Festival in 2007; the Best Actress Award in the Durban International Film Festival in 2006; and the Best Film, Best Performer, Best Screenplay and Best Achievement in Cinematography Awards at the Young Critics Circle in 2005.

Foster Child is the story of a woman and her husband who were hired by a local child care facility to provide a temporary home and care for abandoned babies as they await formal adoption. The inevitable separation is always a heart-breaking event for the foster family. Foster Child won the Special Jury Award at the Eurasia International Film Festival in 2007; and Best Film and Screenplay at the Young Critics Circle. It was also screened at the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007; and won the Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Awards at Gawad Tanglaw in 2007.

Students from Holy Angel University pose with Brillante.

Students from the Dominican School of Mexico, the ICT School in Sindalan, and Pampanga High School participated in the open forum. After the film showing, they were thrilled to be directed by Brillante for photo ops along side murals of his films.

Brillante began the film festival by telling the students, “if I could only touch one or two of you with my films, I would have accomplished much.” From the looks of it, he touched hundreds of young people during the screening.

The Brillante Mendoza filmfest is one of the exciting events at SM City Pampanga.

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