Brillante Mendoza (left) has helmed Ligtas, an instructional video produced by Senator Loren Legarda. Direk Brillante also directed Sapi, which will star Dennis Trillo (right).

Photo: Noel Orsal (Brillante-Loren)

Brillante Mendoza has helmed an instructional video that aims to save lives during times of disaster.

Titled Ligtas, this 30-minute video will be shown on Earth Day, April 22.

This project is a brainchild of Senator Loren Legarda who also served as the producer and narrator of Ligtas.

During the April 19 presscon held at Romulo Cafe, Tomas Morato, the politician pointed out that there is a need for greater awareness about disaster risk reduction.  

"Bago pa man naisabatas ang ginawa ko, matagal ko nang advocacy ito--from Typhoon Winnie in 2004 to Ondoy in 2009 to the habagat to Typhoon Sendong in CDO in 2011 to Typhoon Pablo in 2012.

"Tayo man ay nakatira sa norte, sa Luzon o NCR o sa Mindanao, pag sinabi nating kahandaan sa sakuna, paghahandaan natin."

Senator Loren says she is passionate about caring for the environment because she knows that failure to do so can result to disasters.

"Kung tatanungin n'yo kung bakit ba laging pinag-uusapan ko ang baha, ito ay dahil ipinanganak ako sa Barrio Potrero sa Malabon sa baha," she

"Dahil ako ay ipinanganak sa baha, ang aking adbokasya ay laban sa baha."

COLLABORATING WITH BRILLANTE. Senator Loren has already been working with Cannes award-winning director Brillante since 2009.

She recalls, "Nakilala ko siya noong 2008. Naghain ako ng resolution sa Senado noong nanalo siya sa Cannes as Best Director [for Kinatay]."

After getting to know each other better, Senator Loren explained the concept of disaster risk reduction to the renowned director: "Kapag tayo ay handa laban sa sakuna, mababawasan ang ating kawalan ng kabuhayan at kamatayan. We can actually save lives and livelihoods."

Direk Brillante supported her project and started working on "Ligtas" in 2012. They tapped non-showbiz actors to show what should be done during emergencies.

During the presscon, Senator Loren observed that there are a lot of Filipinos who forego shelter when typhoons destroy their homes. "Ang
daming tinatawag na climate refugees. Baka gawan namin ng feature film."

She then addressed Direk Brillante and said with a smile, "May bago kang assignment sa akin."

In the meantime, there are plans to show Ligtas in cinemas all over the country. According to Senator Legarda, Ligtas will be available to the public through her YouTube channel.

Her ultimate goal is to provide a CD containing the instructional video to all of the 42,000 baranggays in the country.

WORKING ON SAPI. Aside from completing Ligtas, Direk Brillante has been working on a feature film titled Sapi.

Starring Dennis Trillo, Baron Geisler and Meryll Soriano, this film features cases of demonic possession ongoing in a school.

He narrated, "Sina Dennis, Baron at si Meryll, nagtatrabaho sila sa network tapos nag-cover sila ng parang 'sapi [possession].' Eventually, nagkaroon ng effect kung anong ginawa nila.

"Mga journalists sila, mga taga media sila."

As part of pre-production, Direk Brillante conducted research on various sectors of society regarding this phenomenon.

"Marami kaming ininterview: mga healers, mga actual na sinapian, mga doctors, mga naka experience ng sapi at one point in their life."

However, Direk Brillante is quick to point out, "May mga pari pero hindi kami naka-focus dun.

"Hindi kami nag-focus sa tackles yung media malpractices. Hindi niya tinutumbok ang mga biktima na nae-exorcise."

Sapi is one of the films done by Direk Brillante for Solar Films, where he serves as creative consultant.

He also served as consultant for a gay film titled Unfriend, which is directed by Jay Altarejos.