Brillante Mendoza's Tirador (international title: Slingshot) has been invited to next year's Forum section of the Berlin International Film Festival. Produced by Centerstage Productions and Rollingball Entertainment, this digital film shows the lives of small-time crooks operating in Manila during Holy Week and the elections.
According to director Dante (as Brillante is often called), he shot the scenes of Tirador in Quiapo during the Holy Week. "We interviewed a lot of small-time thieves, sinabi nila mismo sa amin [ang mga ginagawa nila] at dinala niya kami mismo sa tinitirahan nila," he recalls. The 47-year-old director shot this film in cinéma vérité style, similar to his earlier work, Foster Child.
Ferdinand Lapuz informed PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that the invitation to Berlinale was sent by Forum director Christoph Terhechte. Forum programmer Ansgar Vogt attended the ninth edition of Cinemanila last month and brought the screener to Berlin. Christoph said "our selection committee was unanimously excited about the film, and we would love to show it at our festival."
The Berlinale—which will be held on February 7-17, 2008—marks Tirador's fifth festival after its world premiere in Toronto International Film Festival this Friday, September 7. The film will also be screened in the upcoming 26th Vancouver International Film Festival along with Foster Child, also helmed by Direk Dante.
It will then participate in the Pusan and Jeonju International Film Festivals to be held in Korea next year.
Tirador (Slingshot) is an intimate glimpse into the lives of criminals who have to deal with police raids and other hardships on the gritty streets of Manila. The cast members include Filipino actors whose previous films were screened in major film festivals: Jiro Manio (Magnifico, 2004 Berlin), Kristofer King (Ang Babae Sa Breakwater, 2004 Cannes' Director's Fortnight), Nathan Lopez (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, 2006 Berlin and Sundance) and Coco Martin (Masahista, 2005 Toronto and Locarno).
Playing special roles in the movie are Jaclyn Jose, Simon Ibarra, and Julio Diaz. Tirador also stars Angela Ruiz, Mark Dionisio, Harold Montano, Benjie Filomeno, Arman Reyes and introducing Nico Taverna.
Ralston Joel Jover wrote the script with Armando Bing Lao as creative consultant. Ralston also wrote Brillante's Foster Child and Manoro.