Brillante Mendoza's Foster Child, which had its world premiere at the last Cannes International Film Festival, will open in cinemas across the country starting September 12.
Featuring the award-winning performance of Cherry Pie Picache (Best Actress, 9th Osian's Cinefan International Festival in India), Foster Child depicts the emotional struggles of Thelma, a foster mother from the slums who receives a meager P1,500 monthly, and a basic supply of milk, diapers and vitamins for every child placed in her care.
Osian's Cinefan cites Cherry Pie's acting in the film as "a performance that has managed to make even a fictional story look very much like a slice of life." Her character is actually based on a real-life foster parent working for a Philippine non-government organization, Kaisang Buhay Foundation, which primarily helped her along the way to portray the role with such authenticity.
Cherry Pie stars in the film along with Eugene Domingo, Jiro Manio, Alwyn Uytingco, Dan Alvaro, and Kier Segundo.
Shot in real-time mode, the director presents with deep empathy the situation of most foster parents-for-hire in a third world country such as the Philippines. International film critics find Foster Child as Brillante's most mature work to date.
"...Foster Child, like my early films, has personal affinity to me, being an adoptive father myself of a little girl who came to my life and brought sunshine to my somewhat dreary existence...Its pre-production to actual shoot was very instinctive. I feel I've become a more loving father, having been given a chance to peek into the real lives of foster parents, foster children and adoptive parents as well," says the director.
Audiences at the Cannes International Film Festival gave the film a 10-minute standing ovation during its world premiere. "Critics find the film very authentic, detailed, and moving. Filipinos are portrayed as warm, and innately caring people," notes Robbie Tan, the film's producer.
Foster Child is scheduled to be screened at the Montreal World Film Festival from August to September, and at the Pusan International Film Festival this October.
Foster Child (2007)
A Seiko Films presentation of a CenterStage Prods. production.
Producer: Robbie Tan
Director: Brillante Mendoza
Screenplay: Ralston Jover
Thelma (Cherry Pie Picache), together with her husband Dado (Dan Alvaro) and teenage sons Gerald (Alwyn Uytingco) and Yuri (Jiro Manio), are an urban poor family hired by a local foster care facility to provide temporary home and care to abandoned babies pending the latter's formal adoption. The inevitable separation is heart-rending for the foster family.
Thelma's foster child John-John (Kier Segundo) is to be turned over to his adoptive American parents. Every moment with the 3-year-old John-John becomes more precious as Thelma goes through the day fulfilling her motherly duties for the last time-bathing John-John, feeding him, and bringing him to school where the boy participates in a school presentation.
Accompanied by the social worker Bianca (Eugene Domingo), Thelma and her son Yuri deliver John-John to the posh hotel where the elderly American couple are billeted. The bittersweet turnover, underscored by the luxury of the place, delivers the painful truth that love and life are not equal.
The realization hits Thelma and Yuri as they leave the hotel.
Foster Child is produced by Seiko Films, Inc. and distributed internationally through Ignatius Film Canada.