Excitement and self-doubt merge as Brillante Ma Mendoza steps out of her comfort zone

Vince Rillon (left) and Brillante Ma Mendoza

Even award-winning independent filmmaker Brillante Ma Mendoza has admitted to doubting himself for taking on a project he says is totally out of his comfort zone.

“Kaya ko ba ‘to?” This is the question that Mendoza, who called his previous work “alternative cinema”, admitted to asking himself after saying “yes” to the offer to make “a genre film for a mainstream production company. ” very soon.

“I’m excited, but I also doubt myself,” said Mendoza, who also requested that we do not release any information about the film project and its producer, as an official launch will take place soon.

“When deciding to make a genre film, you need to be aware that your target market has changed as well, as well as the way you narrate and treat,” he told Inquirer Entertainment during our recent visit to his lovely house in Mandaluyong City.

Mendoza added that he had had similar offers before but would always decline them, “Because I knew I wasn’t ready yet.”

His experiences with dealing with the pandemic somehow forced him to be prepared, he admitted.

“The hard truth right now is that we don’t know when theaters will be allowed to operate again. As a result, we also don’t know where to show the films we are making. After screening them at international festivals, what’s the next step? We also don’t know where the distributors are – many of them have also lost their jobs, ”said Mendoza. “Do we show our films on television? Which channel would take them? How much do we expect to earn by showing our films there? We are now forced to consider all of these streaming platforms, pero barya-barya rin lang ang kita.

Enforce its principles

He added: “This is our reality now. And in my reality, there is a company that continues to make films to entertain people in the midst of the pandemic. We all have our own definition of the word “entertainment”. It turns out that my definition of this concept is acceptable to them, so it meant we could work together and didn’t have to sell myself and my principles or my profession.

Mendoza said that even though his next project could be classified as “mainstream”, the process by which he makes art films will still be respected. “I won’t come up with something that I haven’t worked hard on,” he said.

Rillon in “Resbak”

To prepare, Mendoza is now trying to recall the work he did in advertising years before becoming a freelance director. “It’s a whole different world. The creative process is also different, if not more rigorous. By making alternative films, you focus more on history, rhetoric and philosophy; in advertising, you focus on the audience. Your goal is to give what the audience wants. It’s a long process – you look at the cast, the production design, the cinematography… everything! I’m excited because it’s new to me.


Inquirer Entertainment’s visit to Mendoza’s home was really to attend the special screening of their latest film, “Resbak,” which will be in competition at the 34th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) later this month.

The film, starring Vince Rillon, was shot before the pandemic. Mendoza attempted to explain how the story initially developed: “The research I did while doing ‘Amo’ and ‘Alpha: The Right to Kill’ led me to meet people different from ‘the ‘underground’. My writer (Troy Espiritu) and I researched them. We got so relaxed with them that we finally thought about this movie, but I said it had to relate to what’s going on in our society right now.

Mendoza added: “What we finally found is such a timely film that it gave me goosebumps. It was released just at the start of the election season in our country. The ones we read. and hear in the news right now are also touched on in the movie – to think we’ve thought of it all in 2019. “

Filming lasted for several months in cities like Mandaluyong, Manila and Makati. It also features Jay Manalo, Bibeth Orteza, Albie Casiño, Nash Aguas and Khalil Ramos, as well as cameos by Rosanna Roces, Lito Pimentel, Vance Larena, Rolando Inocencio and Jomari Angeles.

This is Mendoza’s first film that has been included in the main section of the TIFF competition. Meanwhile, the filmmaker’s other new film “Gensan Punch”, which is distributed by SC Films, is currently in competition in Busan.

“For the educated class”

When asked what lesson he wanted his audience to take away from watching the film, Mendoza said, “I can only talk about what I want to share, but what they ultimately get out of it will be up to them. First of all, my subjects in this movie are not my target audience, they won’t watch this to see a reflection of themselves fighting and killing each other.

“This is marketed for the educated class, the game changers, those with enough power and influence to make a difference in society. Hopefully what they see here will make them think and work to make positive change. »INQ

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