For the second year in a row, award-winning independent movie director, Brillante Mendoza will take charge of the televised State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 24 at Batasan Pambansa.
Despite drawing criticism for his work on the first speech, mostly due to his use of unusual camera angles, Malacanang still knocked on his door and sought his expertise.
“I was asked if I was still interested to do [the SONA], and I said, ‘Yes, why not’. And then [Communications] Secretary Martin Andanar told me, ‘Direk, I’m already shy to invite you again, baka ang mahal mo na.’ But I said, ‘No, you don’t have to pay me. I said I’m doing this for country. Not everything I do should have something in return’,” Mendoza told members of the press at the special preview of his latest mini-movie for TV5, “Kadaugan,” at SM Megamall on Thursday.
“With regards to the criticisms, they will always be there. At the end of the day, you cannot please everyone. On my part, I am just doing my job because I am a results-oriented person,” he continued.
“But I’ve learned a lot from last year, and I will add shots that will not distract viewers from the President. What is important is the message more than my shots and direction.”
Mendoza said he will keep the presentation simple to ensure the public’s focus is completely on Mr. Duterte’s speech.
“There will be changes but only minimal because I don’t have to change everything completely. What is more important is for me to be able to engage the audience to listen and not talk about the shots. The reason why they get a director is for someone to manage the shots and the cinematographers for the presentation. Otherwise, they won’t need me because some people think that direction is only for movies and television shows—but it’s not like that,” he furthered.
On innovation Mendoza cited is the use of black and white photographs of the President’s accomplishments in his first year in office.
“Why black and white? Because in black and white, they will look very real. If they’re colored, photos have the tendency to look so much glamorized. I want to take away the glamor, and even with the shots—I want to show the President in action and never posed,” he explained.
Meanwhile, according to the Palace, Monday’s SONA currently has a long and short version, and that it is the President who will decide which one he wants to use. As such, Mendoza said he will come prepared to direct both.
“It was mentioned to me earlier that there are indeed two versions, and I was given an idea of how both speeches would go. The message is beautiful—it comes from the heart and you will really feel it,” he shared.
“Before we know it, he might not even use all of his prepared speech because he always goes off script; he is spontaneous. So we should always be prepared for that, which is also why we have 18 cameras in the area to support everything we need.”
Meanwhile, when asked if he would accept any position from the President if offered, he immediately replied, “No I won’t take it. From the very start I already told everyone that I’m not interested in any position—now and in the future—because I’m not in public service. I am an artist and I think I can do better as an artist.”
After the SONA, the director’s sixth installment for his mini-movie series “Brillante Mendoza Presents” on TV5 will air come July 30. Titled “Kadaugan,” it is a heart-warming story of motherhood and love.
The show will further highlight the Kadaugan sa Mactan festival of Cebu that that relives the saga of the infamous battle between Magellan and his Spanish troops and the fierce chieftain of Mactan, Lapu-Lapu.
It stars Dionne Monsanto, a Cebuana who single-handedly raises her five year-old son after suffering the misfortunes of being left by a string of foreign boyfriends. Nevertheless, she depicts the unfathomable resilience of Filipinos despite the ranging storms in their lives. Most importantly, the story celebrates motherhood and a sincere depiction of strong family ties among Filipinos.
Also starring in Kadaugan is Juan Direction’s Daniel Marsh, veteran actresses and Cebu’s prides Suzette Ranillo and Gloria Sevilla.