By Rene Orobia Durian
When my college classmate and dear friend Luisa Mendez-Marshall invited me to write for this very promising and prestigious publication, hesitation and excitement crept in.
I thought of using the iconic jeepney to visually represent my column to remind our dear kababayans in this part of the world that, yes, jeepneys are still alive and kicking and still the dominant mode of transportation.
In fact, during the visit of Pope Francis, the pope mobile was designed using the jeep as its inspiration. This vehicle brought Pope Francis all around the streets of Manila as he was greeted by millions of Filipinos in the entire 4 day sojourn.
The Philippines has much to offer when it comes to beaches. Palawan being considered one of the best is of course hands down winner.
But there is another island that the country is also proud to share – Bohol. Despite the devastating earthquake that destroyed most of its century old churches, Bohol is fast on its way to complete rehabilitation.
In our recent visit to this beautiful province, Bohol is still a tourist destination to consider. The world-renowned chocolate hills, the captivating Panglao beach, the endearing tarsiers, the diverse species of birds, butterflies, and exotic animals and the enchanting caves are just a few of the remarkable reasons why Bohol is one of the most fascinating places to be.
The brilliance behind the name
When I interviewed internationally acclaimed Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza during his latest project Sinag Maynila, I was not surprised at his innate brilliance.
Mendoza started his career as a production designer accounting for most of the country’s award winning commercials. His reputation as a truly brilliant production designer was developed over a decade of working in the advertising industry.
His directorial debut film “Masahista (The Masseur) “which starred Coco Martin, was just an off shoot of prodding by some friends.
When he did the film, it created a stir among its audiences here and abroad. Masahista (The Masseur) instantly won the Golden Leopard Award in the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland and served as a precursor for the escalation of Alternative Cinema in the Philippines.
“The responsibility of a filmmaker does not begin with the shoot and ends with the screening. The responsibility continues until the impact of the film is validated through the audience’s reactions,” he said.
Since then, Brillante, through his Center Stage Production has produced a body of work that reaped awards and recognitions from local and international film festivals, including his most recent accomplishment in the Asia-Pacific Screen Awards for Thy Womb; Asia-Pacific’s counterpart to the Oscars.
His works propelled a yearly retrospective film screenings in Europe, Asia and Russia where the world’s film critics regard him as an “ultra neo-realist” for portraying social realities and lives of ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
The French government awarded Brillante Ma. Mendoza with the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres or Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. The first and only Filipino director that has been bestowed the singular distinction and elevated with the likes of distinguished filmmakers, Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento.
For his accomplishments and standing in world cinema, most film festivals all over the world have requested Mendoza to sit not only as Jury Member, but also as Jury President.
Currently, Mendoza remains to create socially significant films and documentaries that portray the lives of the Filipinos and the marginalized sectors of society, nurturing film audiences for Alternative Cinema by screening his films in schools all nationwide.
His film, Manoro, is part of the local Department of Education’s official component for Grade 8 students. His films are based on real lives of ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
Brillante Mendoza is the first and the only Filipino filmmaker who won as Best Director in 2009 Cannes film festival besting Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee and Pedro Almodovar among others. His name speaks so much of his persona.
Mendoza’s latest project is Sinag Maynila, a film festival featuring alternative films, which Brillante personally curated. A collaboration with Solar and Shoe Mart, these featured films will be marketed internationally.
For the longest time, the local film industry is flooded with films that were inanely crafted. Raking in millions of pesos, the local moviegoers had no choice but to swallow these films.
With the efforts of Brillante Mendoza and other local independent filmmakers, the moviegoers would have the chance to watch socially relevant films.
The festival, which will culminate on March 24, will have its awarding ceremony with the jury composed of prominent figures in international and local film industry: Paolo Bertolin, John Badalu, F. Sionil Jose, Bienvenido Lumbera. Armando and Tito Valiente.
Who da who?
Just to tickle your imagination, I will share some bits of blind items:
- Good-looking young actor rumored to have successive affairs with high-ranking politicians. Actor’s name is foreign sounding.
- Two of the country’s popular, pretty and young actresses are actually lesbians. One actress had an ex-boyfriend who was caught in the act with another very popular young actor, while the other one has a current boyfriend who is rumored to have broken off with another young actress who revealed that he is gay.
- This couple is also rumored to be gay and lesbian. While both are singing beautiful tunes together, the showbiz industry could not help but raise their brows whether the relationship is for real or mere publicity.
Can you guess the showbiz name of these personalities?
- Ignacia Mabug-at
- Regina Alatiit
- Claudia Maluloy-oy
- Socorro Ledesma
- Rodel Nacianceno
- Ma. Teresa Llamedo
- Alma Vaca
- Ricardo Macaraeg
- Evangeline Rose Eigenman
- Esperanza Padilla
- Juanito Ong
- Cipriano Cayabyab
- Jesusa Sonora
So there you go. I hope that Pinoy Mixx has brought some information from the Philippines that would update and entertain you. See you on the next issue!