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Brillante does TV

Cannes winner moves from big to small screen
/ 12:40 AM February 23, 2017
brillante mendoza ina raymundo

Brillante Ma Mendoza (left) with Ina Raymundo

True to big boss Chot Reyes’ promise to make TV5 the official “home of indies,” Cannes-winning filmmaker Brillante Ma Mendoza has joined the reinvented network’s roster of talents.

For Mendoza, there is no conflict between his TV5 deal and his current collaboration with another television company, Solar Entertainment, which spearheads the Sinag Maynila film festival with the director.

“Solar is also part of the TV5 projects,” he explained. “It will release the films I will make for TV5 in theaters.”

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The filmmaker and TV5 are eyeing three specific projects; the first to be aired was “Brillante Ma Mendoza Presents.”

“This series consists of movies that are made for television and shot in different parts of the Philippines,” he remarked.

“Tsinoy,” the first episode, was aired early this month. Topbilled by Ina Raymundo, it was shot in Binondo.

“It will tackle the ‘culture’ of different Filipinos, intertwined with local festivities,” he pointed out. ‘Tsinoy’ focused on the Filipino-Chinese community and took place during the Chinese New Year.”

The next episode, called “Everlasting,” is set in Baguio and features the Panagbenga Flower Festival. “It’s about a gay couple (played by Aubrey Miles and Mercedes Cabral) who celebrates their ninth anniversary during the festival. It will be shown next month.”

For the next installment, Mendoza plans to feature the Philippine High School for the Arts in Makiling, Laguna.

The series endeavors to take viewers all over the archipelago and features stories that are thoroughly Filipino.

Also in the pipeline is a unique kind of soap opera, “Amo,” a docudrama that tackles the country’s drug problem as seen by people from different levels of society.

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“But we will not highlight just one perspective in this series,” he related.

Divergent views

They plan to show divergent views on the issue. “We will venture into the drug world and meet various characters: from the cops to the peddlers, from small-time distributors to the so-called big fish.”

Think of Mendoza’s acclaimed “Ma’ Rosa” reinvented as a television series.

He acknowledged that the show required rigorous research. “We continued the background work we had started in ‘Ma’ Rosa.’ We will begin by following a biyahero, a small-time dealer who distributes illegal drugs to several pushers.”

He envisions “Amo” as a 13-part miniseries.

As part of the TV5 lineup, the director is also pushing for “Brillante Ma Mendoza’s New Breed”—a series of movies that will shine the spotlight on young filmmakers who have been training under him.

“I will tap young directors and give them a break,” he noted. “Most of them underwent my scriptwriting-directing workshop. I will produce their debut films. Solar will release the movies theatrically and TV5 will air it on free TV.”

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