Brillante Ma Mendoza on luring Pinoys back to cinemas: Reduce ticket price to P150 | Inquirer Entertainment

Brillante Ma Mendoza on luring Pinoys back to cinemas: Reduce ticket price to P150

/ 12:15 AM November 10, 2023

Brillante Ma Mendoza on luring Pinoys back to cinemas: Reduce ticket price to P150

Brillante Ma Mendoza | PHOTO: Facebook page of Brillante Ma Mendoza

When a door closes, a really big window opens,” said award-winning filmmaker-producer Brillante Ma Mendoza as a way to describe how he felt when his dramatic film, “Moro,” did not make the cut at the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

“It’s OK. I realized that there’s a different venue for it. I’d like to think of what happened as a redirection,” Mendoza told reporters during a recent interview. “When I submitted it to the MMFF, I didn’t expect much, especially when I learned that four (but eventually, six) films will be picked from 30 entries.”


Mendoza, however, revealed that he is negotiating with an international company for both “Moro” and its twin project, “Bansa” but that details were still under wraps.


He said that “Moro” is still touring different international film festivals. In fact, it was just screened in Busan, South Korea, and will be heading to Goa and Calcutta, both in India. “Both of these festivals are considered big in India. About the Busan screening, I was telling Laurice Guillen (lead actress) that I wish she was able to personally hear all the comments about the film and that they will make her feel proud,” the Cannes best director said.

“Moro,” set in Maguindanao, follows two warring brothers, the diligent Jasim (Piolo Pascual) and the younger Abdel (Baron Geisler), who squandered his savings on gambling. Their mother (Guillen) tries to reconcile the two with the help of members of their community. However, an unexpected government intervention puts the entire province under a state of severe violence.

“I was happy that the audience was able to catch the rhetoric of the film, understood that the two brothers are fighting over a piece of land and that their tribe helped settle the issue. They also understood the consideration for violence and the generations of conflict in Mindanao. They picked up on all these things, even though these were tackled in a very subtle way,” Mendoza said.

‘Intense acting’

Baron Geisler


“What was flattering to hear was a question on whether the cast members are all professional actors or are really from the region. It’s like the audience felt their realness.”

Mendoza explained that “Moro” was originally from a two-part film titled “Bangsamoro,” which ran for four hours. “I decided to just turn it into two films—‘Bansa’ and ‘Moro.’ Both films tackle the controversy surrounding the SAF (Special Action Force) 44 tragedy (in 2015). ‘Moro’ is from the point of view of a Maguindanaoan family, while ‘Bansa’ is from the perspective of the SAF survivors. All of them were victims of what happened there.”

The director said he traveled to the province to interview the family where the “Moro” story is based on. “I was even shown the cornfield where the actual shooting took place,” he added.


Mendoza said he is extremely proud of the “intense acting” delivered by his two leading men. “Originally, Piolo was supposed to be Abdel. I wanted to see him portray a bad character, and for Baron, a good one, for a change, but his schedule didn’t fit ours. He ended up saying he doesn’t mind playing a short role, as long as he is part of the project.”

We then asked Mendoza to share his thoughts on the fact that there are now 10 film entries in the upcoming MMFF. To this, he said: “To be honest, I only wish for all these films to earn and for the audience to return to watching movies in the cinemas. This is why I was so amazed when I heard that so many people went to SM to avail themselves of the P65 movie ticket recently.”

As part of SM’s 65th anniversary celebration, the movie chain sold tickets for only P65 last Oct. 15 in all of its branches nationwide.

Meet halfway

Piolo Pascual, Rolando Inocencio and Joel Torre

From left: Piolo Pascual, Rolando Inocencio and Joel Torre —CENTERSTAGE PRODUCTIONS

“I went to SM to attend a screening of my film and was surprised to see the long line of people. I was convinced that it was for a concert of a Korean celebrity, so when I asked one of the guards about it, I got surprised. Eventually, I was able to buy myself a ticket to see ‘Monster,’” he began.

“I was half-expecting the cinema to be empty, but the balcony was full. There were young kids in the audience. I guess they thought it was a horror movie. Some of them didn’t really watch and just ran around the place, but they clapped and cheered in particular scenes. There was one couple that didn’t know what ‘Monster’ was about prior but ended up liking the movie.

Mendoza pointed out that if ticket prices are reduced, people will come. “While the young ones are not yet film-literate, they are offered beautiful and interesting visuals, and they respond. This way, we are able to educate them … that’s something that we’re not really able to do at the moment,’” he stressed.

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However, reducing the ticket price to P65 is quite unreasonable, Mendoza said. “No movie house will survive with a rate that low. We can always meet halfway. The government should intervene. I guess P150 is more practical. This doesn’t have to be done every day. We can probably schedule a price cut once a month. As for producers, you might be earning only half per ticket, but you are able to fill up the cinemas. It’s a win-win situation,” he said.

TAGS: brillante ma. mendoza, cinema

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