Real life in reel for award-winning indie film director

Oct. 17, 2012

“It is my social responsibility as a filmmaker” — Brillante Mendoza, world-acclaimed indie film director  

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — “Film is a powerful medium to educate people on the social issues in the country,” world-acclaimed independent filmmaker Brillante Mendoza said in a press briefing Tuesday during the culmination of his Film Festival at SM Lanang Premier.

Mendoza, the first Asian to win the Best Director Award in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival for his movie Kinatay, has directed 16 independent films since 2005.  He was here for the two-day screening of his films.

He started venturing in indie films after receiving positive feedbacks on his first film, Masahista.

“(Masahista) wasn’t intended to get the attention of foreign audience.  But I realized that I could be a part of changing the life of our people in using film,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said his stories are centered on social issues, saying, “It is my social responsibility as a filmmaker.”

The making of independent or alternative films, according to Mendoza, is the same with how mainstream movies are done.  He said there’s no significant difference with respect to the production budget.

“When you say independent film it does not necessarily mean a low-budget film.  The process is the same but its story is out of the box,” he said.

Mendoza said that while indie films focus on social issues, the mainstream films anchor on “restorative plot,” or something that tells the audience “there’s always a solution for every problem.  In indie films, he furthered, a real time story is employed where a more humanistic way of seeing life is depicted “because in real life our problems do not end.”

Mendoza believes that film is an effective instrument to educate the people especially students.  “Film showing should not be limited to individuals or to the prerogative of students.  I believe, it should be supported by the Department of Education.”

Most of Mendoza’s films are supported by private organizations and individuals abroad except for his recent film, Thy Womb, which is an all Filipino production.  It will have its Philippine premiere on November 23 here in Davao.

“Independent films do not have any support from the government unlike the situation abroad,” he said.  (Kenette Jean I. Millondaga/

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