Cannes winner director Brillante Mendoza will not give in to political pressure

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"Ayokong ma-pressure. Kasi may mga lumalapit sa aking mga politician... Ang sa akin lang, [basta] gagawa pa rin ako ng pelikula and focus on what I do. I'll do my best. Hindi ako magpapa-pressure," declares director Brillante Mendoza, who won Best Director in this year's Cannes Film Festival for his work in Kinatay

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The accolades continue and it seems there's no stopping film director Brillante Ma. Mendoza—recent winner of the much-coveted Best Director plum at the 62nd Cannes International Film Festival, for his digital film Kinatay (The Execution of P)—from reaping the fruits of success.

"Wala na akong masabi!" Brillante gushes, overwhelmed by all the attention he's been getting, more than a week after his winning in Cannes. "Sanay ako dati, na 'pag umuuwi ako dito [from any of the filmfests abroad], ke manalo, ke hindi, normal lang din, di ba?"

Muli ngang nakausap ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ang premyadong filmmaker sa victory party dinner na binigay sa kanya ng The Varsitarian at ng CineVITA of the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

A graduate of the UST College of Fine Arts (Major in Advertising), Batch '82, Brillante "Dante" Mendoza was also given the award for Excellence in Meaningful Filmmaking by his alma mater.

Naging emosyunal si direk Brillante, lalo na sa pagkakataong ito.

"Ang gusto ko lang naman talaga, maging filmmaker. But at the same time, natutuwa ako kasi ang mga taong tumutulong sa akin, yung mga kasama ko noon, sila pa rin yung unang-unang nagbigay ng papuri sa akin. Nakaka-touch!"

AFTER CANNES. Ano na ang plans ni Direk Brillante for his Kinatay (The Execution of P)? Balitang may proposal ang Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) para sa pagpapalabas ng pelikula sa gaganaping Cinemalaya Filmfest in July 2009.

"Proposed opening film," ani Direk Brillante.

Ang sigurado, na nasabi rin nito sa una naming interview, prior to his Cannes win, "Sa mga schools ito ipapalabas. There seems to be a lot of schools interested, for me to show the film."

Hindi priority sa ngayon ng direktor ang iba pang international filmfest competitions para maipasok ang Kinatay (The Execution of P). Sabi ng kanyang associate producer na si Ferdie Lapuz, pang-out of competition na lang ito, if ever, sa ibang world filmfests.

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"After this, lalaban ka pa ba? Parang hindi na 'yata... Baka matalo pa ako, nakakahiya!" natawa si Direk Brillante. "E, dun [in Cannes] nanalo na ako, di ba?"

POLITICAL PRESSURE. Naging usap-usapan, matapos niyang manalo at pagbalik sa bansa'y hindi nabigyan ng "hero's welcome" si Brillante Mendoza; unlike world boxing champ, Manny Pacquiao.

Pero sa kabila ng gano'ng pamumuna, may sumalubong na banda sa grupo ni Direk Brillante upon their arrival at the NAIA, courtesy of Mayor Benhur Abalos Jr. and the people of Mandaluyong City.

"May impact pala siyang ganito, kasi akala ko, one-of-those awards na natanggap ko," sabi ni Brillante. "Pero pagkatapos nito, and after all these have died down in a week or two, everything will be back to normal.

"Ayokong ma-pressure. Kasi may mga lumalapit sa aking mga politician... Ang sa akin lang, [basta] gagawa pa rin ako ng pelikula and focus on what I do. I'll do my best. Hindi ako magpapa-pressure."

WRITER'S DIRECTOR. Bilang award-winning filmmaker, naihahambing si Brillante Mendoza sa ating film masters—among them, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal—at sa award niya bilang Best Director sa Cannes Filmfest '09, naging big deal, 'ika nga, ang pananalo niya over such world-renowned filmmakers, as Pedro Almodovar, Quentin Tarantino, Jane Campion, Lars Von Trier, among others.

"Actually, to be honest, hindi ko kasi iniisip na tinalo ko si ganito, si ganyan," Brillante humbly states. "Palagi kong sinasabi, hindi ibig sabihin nito na ako yung pinakamagaling sa kanila.

"It so happened lang na ito [Kinatay] yung nag-qualify dun sa taste ng jury [headed by French actress Isabelle Hupert]. Siguro, at another time, and in another festival or other films by other filmmakers, baka mas maganda yung sa kanila kesa sa akin."

For winning as Best Director in Cannes, Brillante Mendoza acknowledges his screenwriter Armando "Bing" Lao, who is credited for the screenplay of Kinatay (The Execution of P).

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"Ito lang ang palagi kong sasabihin: Kung ano man ako ngayon, at kung nasaan man ako ngayon, at kung saan ako pupunta, I always owe it to Armando Lao. Siya yung kinu-consider kong mentor ko, mula noong una hanggang ngayon, at hanggang sa darating na panahon. I owe it to him."


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