After directing the first State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte a few months ago, it seems internationally acclaimed and award-winning director Brillante Mendoza has kept himself busy by directing advocacy films.
Earlier this month, the Presidential Communications Office of Malacanang released the first of two anti-drug campaign ads directed pro-bono by Mendoza. The 30-second video titled “Father” shows a drug-dependent father who has been missing out on the milestones in the life of his daughter because of his addiction to illegal drugs.
The second yet-to-be released video shows a mother’s perspective through an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who juggles multiple jobs abroad. She is not aware that the remittances she sends to her son are actually used to buy illegal drugs.
Mendoza also directed a film that pays tribute to caregivers or carers of the sick. The film called “Pagpupugay” is in collaboration with RiteMed. For a change, it does not highlight the sick people or patients only, but also those who take care of them, their family members especially.
The two-minute film shows various scenes of a family member (a son, daughter, spouse or sibling) taking care of a sick loved one and the emotional and physical difficulties they face while doing so. There is a scene where the cared for mother throws all of the food at her daughter, who is feeding her. Watch the film here:
In the behind-the-scenes video of the film, Mendoza calls the carers and caregivers “unsung heroes”. He also cites that it was the first time for him to do a film about them. He says the challenge lay in drawing out the emotions from the talents to capture the real emotions felt by a family member caring for a sick loved one.
The works of Mendoza is also featured in an exhibit to mark the 40th year anniversary of the Metropolitan (Met) Museum of Manila. “Brillante Ma Mendoza: A Contemporary Filipino Filmmaker” is open to the public from September 5 until October 1, 2016. It showcases screenings of his full length films, documentaries and other productions such as television commercials and campaign videos. Also on display are the video production equipment that the Cannes best director used in filming his masterpieces.
Mendoza is part of a collaborative movie, “Reflections”, with two other Asian directors, Isao Yukisada (Japan) and Sotho Kulikar (Cambodia). It will be part of the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival, which will start on October 25. The film highlights the theme “Living in Asia” and features three films that reflect the way of life and culture of the directors’ respective countries. It is part of the Asian Three-Fold Mirror, a series of collaborative filmmaking project between the Japan Foundation Asia Center and the Tokyo International Film Festival, to promote understanding among neighboring countries as well as their people’s shared identity as Asians.
Mendoza’s film in the trilogy is titled “Shinium” (Dead Horse), about an illegal Filipino immigrant in Japan (portrayed by Lou Veloso) who returns to his homeland for the first time in decades after being deported. Once again, Brillante tackles a story of an ordinary Filipino courageously overcoming extraordinary situations. Filmed in Hokkaido and Manila, it deals with the issue of the loss of national identity and home. The two other films that make up the trilogy are “Pigeon” by Yukisada and “Beyond The Bridge” by Kulikar.
Of course, Mendoza’s latest masterpiece, Ma’Rosa, which won Jaclyn Jose the Best Actress award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, was recently chosen as the Philippines’ official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category in the upcoming 2017 Oscars. So, we will definitely hear and see a lot more of Mendoza in the months ahead.