Film’s Bril­lante Men­doza turns to the small screen

Business World - - ARTS & LEISURE - Zsar­lene B. Chua

RENOWNED Filipino di­rec­tor Bril­lante Ma Men­doza has brought his dis­tinc­tive film­mak­ing style to the small screen via 12 made-for-TV films which are be­ing shown on TV5.

“We’re al­ways very en­cour­aged about ev­ery­thing Bril­lante Men­doza cre­ates,” Vin­cent “Chot” Reyes, pres­i­dent and CEO of TV5, told the me­dia dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day.

The 12- film se­ries, Bril­lante Ma Men­doza Presents, is said to be a tes­ta­ment to the net­work’s new di­rec­tion.

“[The se­ries] is re­ally very dif­fer­ent — ad­mit­tedly not main­stream — but it says a lot re­gard­ing the net­work’s di­rec­tion,” said Mr. Reyes, adding that the net­work is po­si­tion­ing it­self as an al­ter­na­tive free TV chan­nel as ev­i­denced by its new slogan, “Choose Courage.”

The TV films are shown once a month on a Sat­ur­day, at 9:30 p.m. Two episodes have al­ready been aired.

Each film re­lates to a fes­ti­val or cel­e­bra­tion.

The first film, Chi­noy, which aired in Jan­uary, was made in time for Chi­nese New Year, and told the story of a Fil-Chi­nese Wushu athlete who has a pas­sion for tra­di­tional Lion danc­ing.

The next film, which aired in March, was called Ever­last­ing — the story of two les­bian lovers who reeval­u­ate their nine-year- long re­la­tion­ship dur­ing Baguio’s Panag­benga Fes­ti­val, held an­nu­ally in Fe­bru­ary.

This month, Mr. Men­doza’s third in­stall­ment is cen­tered on grad­u­a­tion. In the aptly ti­tled Ang Pag­tat­a­pos, a fe­male stu­dent in the Philip­pine School for the Arts in Mt. Mak­il­ing, La­guna, is strug­gling to com­plete her the­sis — a Pan­galay dance (the “fin­ger­nail dance” of the Tausug in Sulu) based on the le­gend of Mt. Mak­il­ing’s guardian spirit Mar­i­ang Mak­il­ing — while deal­ing with fam­ily prob­lems caused by her mother’s de­par­ture. The episode will air this Sat­ur­day.

Mr. Men­doza, who won the 2009 Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val for Ki­natay, is known for his ne­o­re­al­is­tic style which is in full dis­play in Ang Pag­tat­a­pos, which, com­bined with ele­ments of dark fan­tasy, re­sults in a dis­turb­ing, yet very real por­trayal of de­pres­sion.

The di­rec­tor said that in fu­ture films he will con­tinue ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent gen­res in­clud­ing hor­ror and ac­tion.

Other films al­ready lined up for screen­ing are Panata on May 27, Anak on June 24, Kadau­gan on July 29, and Ha­bilin on Aug. 26.

Aside from the monthly show­ings, Mr. Reyes hinted that the se­ries will even­tu­ally find its way to dig­i­tal chan­nels, such as video-on-de­mand, though the two pre­vi­ous episodes are cur­rently avail­able on the TV5 Web site.

Though he de­clined to say what his bud­get was to pro­duce the se­ries, he did say it cost a lot of money.

Aside from the film se­ries, Mr. Men­doza is also work­ing on a 13-episode mini-se­ries fea­tur­ing Derek Ram­sey, al­though no details have yet been re­leased.

TV5 and BusinessWorld both be­long to Me­di­aQuest Hold­ings, the me­dia con­glom­er­ate of the Ben­e­fi­cial Trust Fund of PLDT, through its fully owned sub­sidiary, Hast­ings Hold­ings, Inc. —

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