Brillante Mendoza taps personal experience for film about carers and caregivers

IMAGE Kaye Koo

Brillante Mendoza recalls his experience taking care of his mother when he did the short film Pagpupugay.




Direk Brillante "Dante" Mendoza has recently partnered with a branded generics company to launch a film that highlights the dedication of caregivers and carers.

Titled Pagpupugay, Direk Brillante worked with RiteMED as part of their Tamang Alaga campaign.

He cast kids from his acting workshops and used unknown older actors. He conducted workshops with them to achieve their acting requirements: the older ones all had to pretend to be sick and in various stages of deteriorating health.

The two-minute film is a fitting tribute to the ones who often go unnoticed.

Direk Brillante told the press in a recent interview, "Yung pinagdadaan nila, ng mga carer, it's not only physically tiring it's also emotionally and psychologically tiring. It's for all of the carers, all of us who have at one point or another cared for a sick loved one."

He is happy with projects like this "kasi hindi ako binigyan ng limitation. Napakaganda ng board, most of the TVCs, I always call it short film, na tinatanggap ko, ay yung nakaconnect ako at naniwala ako. Sabi nila sa akin, guide lang yan, yung storyboard, tingnan how it flows and when we edit, doon na namin ku-commentan."

He went into Pagpupugay with one mindset: "Gagawa kami ng pelikula, isa siyang pelikula. Kasi when you do a film, I always pour my heart into it, 100%. It is important na nakakacommunicate ng emotion, at naniniwala ako sa isang kwento, idea. Tayo eto, napaka-Filipino ng kwento nito. Either tayo ang mag-aalaga or tayo ang inaalagaan."

Working on Pagpupugay also proved to be very different from other TVCs, especially for the actors, explains Direk Brillante.

"We gave them time na mag-usap, magkakilala, important na mag-connect sila, very rare na ginagawa yan sa TV commercial."

What makes Pagpupugay different from other materials focusing on health care is its humanity. "We filmed yung process ng pag-aalaga. Na yung nag-aalaga nawawalan din ng patience. Hinumanize namin yung mga carer. Di lang 'mga heroes kami dito,' you have to see them as human beings: nasasaktan, natutuwa..."

Was the material inspired by Thai commercials known to be tear-jerkers?

"Honestly, wala. I try to avoid watching similar films. Even in my other short films, mayroon din naman akong ginagawa na ganito pero subtle, very subtle. I think importante na maiisip nila yung produkto kapag nacatch sila sa kwento, maalala nila yung story, maalala nila yung product."

Direk Brillante has done about three commercial-style films like this and he says, "I enjoy doing this kind of film na may subtle ad, di sumisigaw, pag nahook ka sa kwento it will remain in your heart. Kailangan maparating yung message without pushing too hard at the same time kailangan effective siya na makuha in two minutes."

Before launching it as a commercial on TV, they put the film out on the Internet and it racked up almost 3 million views in less than 3 weeks. It can be viewed on RiteMED's official Facebook and website.

The 2009 Cannes Best Director hopes, "Sana matuwa rin yung binibigyan natin ng tribute dito, yung mga nag-aalaga. Second nature natin na mag-alaga ng mga mahal natin sa buhay, di mo kailangan pilitin."

The film is very personal to him as he himself experienced being a carer.

"Inalagaan ko yung mother ko for 18 months, eto yung stage na emotionally, physically, psychologically napakahirap. I would even feel guilty when I feel happy, kasi somebody is suffering, is sick.

"Yung masakit sa dibdib, mahirap, alam ko yung dinadaanan ng nag-aalaga pero di ka nanghihinayang kasi mahal mo yung inaalagan mo, kaya ginagawa mo eto ng buong puso. Yung mga panahon na yun, di ako makalabas kasi pag lumalabas ako, masaya kayo, nagi-guilty ako, I avoided social gatherings and I would rather stay home or work.

"I also took care of my daughter, she had an operation when she was four years old, mahirap yun."


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