Director Joyce Bernal Ranoa-Bismark
SONA director Joyce Bernal dedicates work to poor Pinoys 
( - July 23, 2018 - 10:23am

MANILA, Philippines — When director-producer (she produces "Children of the Lake," a film on the Marawi siege) Joyce Bernal got a call from Martin Andanar, secretary of the Presidential Communications Office, to direct Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation (SONA) address, she did not ask “Why me?”.

The award-winning director calmly accepted the job — pro bono.

The petite filmmaker — Bb. Joyce to showbiz insiders — remembered all the years she spent as a student of UP (University of the Philippines), or as a “iskolar ng bayan” and decided it is payback time.

So she is dedicating her work to the have-nots, “those who line up in government offices,” hoping to get badly-needed help for things that matter — a sick parent’s medicine, a child’s tuition fee, a devastated home.

Direk Joyce first thought of adding Tagalog subtitles so the housewife washing her family’s laundry can get the president’s message better. But she realized this will not do, considering how the president enjoys adding adlibs to his speech.

She will be happy adding shots in-between pauses during the president’s speech to keep the audience glued to the set from start to finish. After all,the world is watching. And everyone must know what the president is saying.

As a filmmaker who believes in letting the audience decide ("Children of the Lake," for instance, will present issues without taking sides), Direk Joyce does not mind following Andanar’s directive to “capture everything” the president says. The viewer will hear every word — even expletives which cannot be cured with the sound of music — the president says.

“The president is not an actor whose lines and movements you can rehearse. That’s why I don’t know if you can call me a director in this case. A director talks to the person and asks what his intentions are. You match them with his,” she told in an interview.

And since she has yet to talk to the president personally, Direk Joyce is banking on her knowledge of his speeches, and what she saw in last year’s SONA instead.

She will include some aspects of what last year’s director, the award-winning Brillante Mendoza did, like where the cameras are positioned in the halls of Congress.

The rest — from the time the president steps out of the chopper, to the time he walks to the podium and delivers his speech — will be a matter of course.

The whole world will see the SONA. So Direk Joyce is hoping to get quality equipment to enhance her shots.

Most of all, she hopes to talk to the president himself, despite his busy schedule.

“It will make my job better,” she explained. “It will make me gear all my shots (toward a certain direction).”

When this interview was held days before the SONA, Direk Joyce has not given up hope. She looks forward to meeting the president and talking to him.

It would make her payback to the Filipino people — to whom she owes her education — complete.

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