Andi Eigenmann, Jaclyn Jose and director Brillante Mendoza at the 69th Cannes International Film Festival for their nominated film “Ma’Rosa.” AP/Joel Ryan 

Brillante Mendoza to teach Cannes fest directors about Filipino culture
Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (philstar.com) - May 18, 2017 - 9:41am

MANILA, Philippines — Institut français, France’s film institute that promotes heritage films like those shown in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, invited Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza to mentor new and upcoming directors in Cannes Festival.

“I got the invitation a month ago. It’s overwhelming because these are not new filmmakers, but young filmmakers developing a project,” the Filipino Cannes Festival Best Director winner told the press on Wednesday during the launch of his movie made for TV5, “Panata.”

“I'm looking forward to also learn from them and to working with them and collaborate with them, and also to share our culture and stories with them,” Mendoza added.

According to him, before he joined Cannes with his 2007 film, “Foster Child,” the world’s filmmakers thought of Filipino films as “melodramatic.”

“‘Foster Child’ is not melodrama, but documentary-like, more of real-life approach, so Cannes had a different perspective of Philippine cinema, so they became interested with what we’re doing here in the Philippines,” he explained of what could have been the cause why Cannes invited him as mentor.

He pointed out that filmmakers abroad are also curious on how Filipino directors like him can churn out world-class, award-winning projects like “Kinatay,” which won him the Best Director stint in Cannes in 2009, despite a limited budget and shooting time.

“Dahil sanay na tayo sa hirap at sa mga nangyayari sa paligid natin, both natural and unnatural, kaya kailangan natin mag-pursige,” he said.

Brillante is also known for mixing big name actors with independent ones, a technique he also employs in his monthly movies made for TV5.

He assured that though he already have several awards to his name, including Best Film for “Lola” in the 6th Dubai International Film Festival, he will still work with independent artists because as a director once told him, “Masarap katrabaho ‘yung mga indie actors kasi wala silang ibang gusto kundi umarte lang.”

He took note of a student, who is only in his 20s, who has been among the only 10 selected to compete in the short film category of Cannes last year. The last time a Filipino was able to do so was when Raymond Red became the first, and so far the only Filipino to win the Palme d’Or award at the Cannes in 2000, for his short film, “Anino.”

Brillante was nominated in Palme d’Or for his 2008 film, "Serbis,” starring Coco Martin. He was also nominated for the award for “Kinatay” in 2009.

Instead of being threatened by new and younger filmmakers, he is actually happy to share what he knows.

“Mas maraming natututo, mas maganda kasi I’m wishing to grow the audience for indie filmmakers,” he enthused. “At ‘di dapat ipagdamot ang binigay sa’tin ng Diyos. Dapat talaga ipamahagi s’ya.”

Related: Brillante Mendoza to serve as ‘godfather’ to Cannes Festival directors 

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