SIFF MasterClass│ Brillante Mendoza: The Stories in the World Have All Been Told, What Left for Us t
Brillante Mendoza is one of the most outstanding and influential filmmakers in the Philippines today. His works have been shortlisted many times in the main competition unit of the Cannes International Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival. The most notable achievement was the winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Best Director Award in 2009 for his film KINATAY. In 2016, his film MA' ROSA won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival; it was also the Filipino film in the year 2017 shortlisted for the Oscar Awards. On June 18th, Brillante Mendoza, who came directly to the Shanghai International Film Festival from his filming scene, shared his way of creation with filmmakers from all over the world.
Plunge into the Filming Career to Tell True Stories
Brillante Mendoza, who was a former advertising designer, made a life affecting decision when he was 45 years old that he would switched to film making, and even more surprising is that his first big screen work won the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival, after that, his films were shortlisted at major international film festivals again and again and he has become the most attention-drawing Filipino filmmakers in the global film industry.
When talking about the decision to change his career 20 years ago, Brillante Mendoza recalled: "What I want to do is telling stories. When I was in advertising business, I found that I seemed to prefer storytelling, and the purpose of advertising was only to sell a product, and the two were completely different things. I couldn't do both well at the same time, so I decided to enter the film industry. I hope that my work can truly present real life and tell the true story."
Such a motive has also deeply influenced the style of Mandoza's creation. "I don't want my film to be too personal. I prefer to shoot works that are closely related to social issues and the current state of society. In the movie, every character is just like our neighbors, which can resonate with the audience."
However, Mendoza also stressed that telling the true story is not simply to restore the reality, but to find the connection point between each story and the audience. "I think there aren't any original stories in the world now, all the stories have already been told, the most important thing is how to find the connection between each story and the audience, and pass the information you want to express to the audience, and this is the most important thing."
Concerned about the Underprivileged Women Influenced by Family
In Mendoza's works, the images of the underprivileged woman were impressive. He also pushed the female lead of the film to the throne of movie queen of the Cannes Film Festival through his work MA' ROSA. On this point, Mendoza said frankly that this is because of his family environment in which he has been raised up. "My mother and my three sisters are very strong in character, and my brothers and I are greatly influenced by them. So some of the female characters in my work are also from their projections."
In the eyes of Mendoza, his father is more like a symbol of the grassroots people in the Philippines. "Father often told me the stories of his grassroots friends around him. Gradually, I have established a connection with them. Every time I took up the camera, I would shoot them unconsciously."
Discover More Stories Not for the Prize
Mendoza said that the Philippines is also a typical market dominated by Hollywood films, but compared with other Asian countries, the Philippines is more scarce of type films, which makes it more difficult for Filipino films to go out. He sighed that even though he is already well honored, the situation of his domestic filmmaking has only changed a little. "In the past, I could only contact the producer through his secretary, now I can introduce my project directly to the producer."
Mendoza said that now in film making, he would not put the prize in the first place. "I look forward to working with different filmmakers and teams; it is good that everyone just hold a relaxed attitude. Of course, if I say that I don't want to win any prizes, then I must be lying, but the process of enjoying cooperation is also true." He particularly emphasized that although most of his works focused on the poor, there are still many different stories in the Philippines waiting to be discovered, which is exactly what he will do next.