Award-winning director helms monthly made-for-television movies and ‘Amo’ mini-series
When one thinks of independent movies, the name Brillante Mendoza almost always comes in next.
Having made a name not only for himself but most especially for the country, Mendoza’s films such as Masahista (The Masseur) and Kinatay—both with Coco Martin in the lead role—and the Nora Aunor-led films Taklub and Thy Womb, among a long list of his winning films, earned accolades both from local and foreign award-giving bodies.
Now, Mendoza is taking his expertise in helming movies that carry themes of reality—even struggles of society—to television with Brillante Mendoza Presents.
A collaboration with television network TV5, Brillante Mendoza Presents is a movie-made-for-TV special that will be presented monthly on free TV.
“The movies will not only tell unforgettable stories but will also showcase the Philippines as it will be shot in different parts of the country. The first offering was shot in Binondo and thereafter we will have our sets on Baguio, Davao and even in Tawi-Tawi,” the director said during his latest project’s press conference.
The 56-year-old director then divulged that his first movie-made-for -TV will focus on the untold lives of the permanent fixtures on Chinese celebrations—the dragon dancers.
“While the movies are treated individually, their story lines are intertwined,” Mendoza added.
Another project that Mendoza will be making for TV5 is a 13-episode mini-series entitled Amo.
Led by TV5’s headliner Derek Ramsay, Amo tells the story of the illegal drugs trade in the country, with focus on certain characters in each episode.
Hesitant at first to reveal more information on his new series, Mendoza eventually gave in and confirmed that Amo is set on the same fictitious universe that the characters of Ma’ Rosa—one of the country’s biggest movie for 2016, having won a Best Actress award for its lead actress Jaclyn Jose in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival—were in.
“It’s not reality TV but the show will be just as realistic as Ma’ Rosa,” Mendoza said.
The award-winning director also assured televiewers that they will not be shortchanged with the quality of movies and series he will be directing for TV5.
“I am having the same team I have in my movies and we will treat each movie- made-for-TV and episodes with the same process, regardless of the audience or platform,” the Cannes Best Director awardee assured.
The only limit he will have to adhere to, the director admitted is the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)’s rules and regulations, which will most probably scrutinize his often explicit and detailed approach in filmmaking.
Nevertheless, Mendoza is excited for his partnership with TV5.
“There were pitchings from other networks to direct but I think what got me to say yes to TV5 is when they said, ‘We want to partner with you because we want this image of alternative and independent network.’ And really, that’s what I am all for,” Mendoza detailed.
TV5, on the other hand, sees the opportunity to work with Mendoza as their way not only to satisfy the viewers’ craving for an alternative but also to send out a message to other filmmakers in the country.
“We want to provide shows that will elevate the free TV experience; we want to make sure that we’ll give viewers an option,” TV5 President and Chief Executive officer Vincent “Chot” Reyes told the press.
The former basketball coach added, “Also, one of the main reasons we tied up with Direk Brillante—who is not only a director for us but also a content partner—is because we want to tell filmmakers and storytellers out there that if they have a concept, they can come to us and together we can do a lot of things. We are not tied to the bounds of old practices in the industry. We are wide open and I think there’s no better way to show how serious we are with this than to partner with Brillante.”
Brillante Mendoza Presents is scheduled to air every last Saturday of the month for the next 12 months in 2017, except on its opening salvo where it will be aired on January 21 to give way to TV5’s Miss Universe coverage.
His new series Amo, on the other hand, will begin airing in February.