Director on 'Kaleldo': It's personal

Nov 7, 2006
A wedding scene from 'Kaleldo' featuring Juliana Palermo and Lauren Novero.
When Kaleldo held its Philippine premiere last October 30 at Glorietta 4 Cinema 7, Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) had a chat with director Brillante Mendoza regarding his second digital film. The movie had its world premiere at the Rome International Film Festival where it was the opening film in the Extra Section from October 13-21.

PEP: How is Kaleldo a follow up to Masahista [your first digital film that won in the 2005 Lucarno Filmfest in Switzerland]?

Brillante Mendoza: "Follow up in the sense that it was done in Pampanga. Masahista kasi is Kapampangan. Half of that film was shot in Pampanga. This one is shot entirely in Pampanga. The story was based basically on Pampanga. Napunta yung research namin na maraming masahistang Kapampangan."

PEP: How is Kaleldo different from Masahista?

B.M.: "Eto may lesbian. First of all, when we were casting, yun ang pinaka-difficult sa amin e. yung cast, may chemistry. Dapat mukha silang magkakapatid. At the same time, kung kaya silang bayaran. When we showed them the script, immediately they fell in love with the script. Dun pa lang may plus factor na kami dun."

PEP: How did you convince Ms. Cherry Pie Picache to do a lesbian role?

B.M: "With Cherry Pie, it was not hard. Nung ginawa nila, konti lang na-contribute ko sa acting nila. Sa akin lang, I'm working within their characters. I make sure na sila din, don't go beyond their characters. Pag sumosobra, binabawasan ko. Pag kulang, dinadagdagan ko."

PEP: Why was the movie not included in the 2005 Metro Manila Film Festival?

B.M.: "Nahihirapan kami sa booking because of the theme. Actors ko, they're not really mainstream actors. We have to seek the help of Viva, ang nagrelease sa amin. Kaya nakakuha kami ng magandang booking. Again, kailangan pa rin naming mag-antay. When the festival director of Rome saw the film in Hong Kong, pinalabas namin ang pelikula sa film market e. It's like a market. You show your film, if they like your film, they'll buy your film. They liked it. Ang requirement niya [Rome], sa amin ang world premiere. Even in your own country, you cannot show it. That's how they do it. If they like your film, they want to earn the world premiere."

PEP: Being a Kapampangan yourself, how close is this movie to you?

B.M.: "Very close. Some of the experiences na nandyan are my personal experiences with my family. Binibiro nga ako ng mga kapatid ko, pag minsan nag-uusap-usap kami, ayan nakikinig na naman si Dan sa mga kwento natin, mapapanood na naman natin sa pelikula yan. As much as possible, very close to life. Hindi mahirap kasi totoo ang kwento. It's just a matter of how you treat it and how you put it together. Hindi kasi mahirap magkwento kung totoo e."

Kaleldo, a movie by Center Stage Productions, was given a "B" rating by the Cinema Evaluation Board. It has been invited to the Vienna International Film Festival (October 13-25), the Hawaii International Film Festival (October 19-November 5); and the Cairo International Film Festival (November 28-December 8).
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A wedding scene from 'Kaleldo' featuring Juliana Palermo and Lauren Novero.
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