INTFILM FINAL PAPER
August 24, 2011
Professor Elvin Valerio
From The One Who Brought Brilliance to Philippine Cinema
Independent films or “indie” films have really started to penetrate the film industry in the country. These so-called films have been supported by a program called Cinemalaya. Cinemalaya is a yearly independent film festival that is held during July to create a channel for young, fresh and aspiring directors to showcase their talents in film writing and directing. The funds given to aid the directors come from the Cinemalaya foundation which aims to develop and support the Philippine cinema industry and to explore the talents and capabilities of gifted Filipino independent film makers. However, this paper will concentrate on one gifted and brilliant director, Brillante Ma Mendoza. To set this paper apart from other works about him, I focused more on the personal aspect of his experiences rather than the obvious expressions and answers that he usually gives during interviews. The answers and opinions written in this paper will be from no less than the one who brought brilliance to Philippine cinema, the brilliant, the great, the admirable, Direk Brillante Mendoza.
At first I had no idea to interview for this final project. A spark of hope came my way when my mother had told me that Brillante Mendoza lived in Chantilly Villas, a compound near where we used to live and where we live now. He lives so near that I could walk from our house to his compound. But even though he lived so near, I had my doubts since I knew that he was, being a very famous director, a very busy person. However to my surprise, after I had went to his office and handed out my request for interview, I had an immediate reply, “on Saturday nalang” his secretary had told me and my mom after having asked Mr. Mendoza himself if it was okay. By that experience alone I felt so humbled by how much he is open to interviews while he has free time or break time. The interview was scheduled for July 4, 2011, Saturday. And alas the day came that I had to go there in Mr. Mendoza’s compound in Chantilly Villas to finally meet him and ask him some questions. Of course I wore casual to mid-corporate attire to suit the occasion but when I had arrived, he welcomed me in a plain t-shirt, board shorts and slippers. In my head I was laughing since I thought, “ano ba yan, ayos na ayos naman ako, excited?” I then started to feel shy because I’ve noticed that I had interrupted him from his meeting with his staff for a future project they plan to do. After the meeting, his secretary had already called my attention and brought me to direk’s awards/meeting/TV room where we had the interview session.
After having read his brief autobiography in his website BrillanteMendoza.com, I had to ask him if it had ever crossed his mind to direct or has it always been his passion since according to the site, he had taken Fine Arts at University of Sto. Tomas and had worked in advertising which however had nothing to do with directing. He answered my question by explaining that: No, I never thought of directing a feature film or short film in college... I wanted to work in an advertising agency which I did actually after graduation... That’s where parang I spent 6 months of my life, in advertising. He added that he worked as a graphic designer in an advertising agency. He claimed that he thought that he would end up working in advertising for the rest of his life and directing had only come to his attention when he had gone out of the advertising business. I asked him why he had quit his advertising job in the first place. He explained that he felt like he was not “growing” and “maturing” as an artist so he left. After advertising he found theater where he claimed that “When I was in theater, dun ko nadiscover little by little yung film, cinema but even then, I never thought of directing.” Which was surprising coming from him and it had made me...