MANILA, Philippines – Internationally acclaimed independent film director Brillante Mendoza on Monday said he felt accomplished and proud after his film “Thy Womb” entered this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, saying that he hoped more Filipinos would appreciate why indie films reap awards abroad.
In an interview on Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Mendoza said that compared to similar festivals abroad, thousands of Filipinos who flocked the annual “Parade of Stars” showed how fans were very passionate about the films and their artists.
“Sobrang pagod, pero pag nakikita mo yung mga tao (It’s exhausting, but if you see the people), you feel so accomplished, you feel so proud…. iba pa rin talaga pag Pinoy (Filipinos are so unique)….nararamdaman mo yung warmth at pagtangkilik nila sa pelikula (you can feel their warmth and support for the movies),” Mendoza said as he described how he felt after joining the festival parade for the first time.
“Iba yung level ng saya (The level of enjoyment is different), I was looking at their (Filipino fans’) faces and nakita ko na iba yung saya na naibibigay ng mga artista (saw a different kind of enjoyment being provided by movie stars),” Mendoza said.
Mendoza’s entry to the festival is the film, “Thy Womb,” which stars Nora Aunor, Bembol Roco, Lovi Poe, and Mercedes Cabral, among others. “Thy Womb” has received awards in the Venice International Film Festival. Mendoza and Aunor also bagged the best director and best actress awards, respectively, at the recently concluded Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).
Asked whether his move to enter the MMFF was the start of a career in commercial film making, Mendoza maintained that he made films for advocacy and not for commercial interests, adding that he wanted to “touch the Filipino audience the right way.”
He said that entering the MMFF made his film more accessible to the Filipino public, giving him the opportunity to “teach and educate” the Filipino movie-goers .
“Bilang Pilipino alamin natin bakit pinaparangalan tayo sa ibang bansa, alamin din natin yung sariling atin (As Filipinos we should find out why we’re reaping honors in other countries),” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said that with his film Thy Womb, he hoped that Filipinos would learn to appreciate the “Badjao” culture, and see the ‘Badjao’ community as more than second-class citizens but as people with rich culture and tradition that Filipinos could be truly proud of.
As his entry was competing with other mainstream movies, Mendoza said that his film winning a spot in the box office hits will inspire indie film producers and make them see that one does not have to be that “big” to barge into the big league.
“Pag pumapasok ito (If I could make it here) it will make a statement na kahit papaano (even though) at least an independent production can make it alongside the mainstream,” Mendoza said.