Mendoza bridges gap between new, veteran filmmakers

by Boy Villasanta,

Posted at Aug 02 2010 11:57 AM | Updated as of Aug 03 2010 03:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Cannes Palm d’Or Director Brillante Mendoza is not only a bearer of good tidings for international goodwill and understanding. He’s also a peacemaker among warring filmmakers in the local front as well.

Mendoza’s birthday celebration recently spoke, however silently if not implied, of his bridging the gap between the so-called new breed and veteran directors. The tension might be implicit but the complication is real just the same.

Mendoza, a middle-of-the-road filmmaker, a no nonsense chip from the old block, knew so well where it’s coming from.

“Ang maganda sa birthday party ko, nagkasama ang mga indie filmmakers at ang mainstream directors,” observed Dante Mendoza when he celebrated his natal day Friday evening in the sprawling garden in Mandaluyong City.

Indie, of course, refers to independent filmmaking, a movement associated with young film grammarians and mainstream filmmaking connotes the commercial art, the interchanging use of them still dictated by marketing devises.

There was time in history of the recent past an old timer would comment on the works of the greenhorns.

From among the experts, Gil Portes and Mel Chionglo were early birds in the shindig.

“Si Joel (Lamangan) sana, darating kaya lang, biglang may emergency,” volunteered Mendoza who was in his signature red polo shirt, the color being the hue of good luck.

Old hands, too, Neal “Buboy” Tan and Armand Reyes, the former Arman and Armando Reyes, were on a separate table with erstwhile entertainment writer now a movie director Ronald Carballo and active show biz writers Art Tapalla, Dennis Adobas and William Reyes.

Mendoza’s event was also the showcase of the comparison and contrast between old politics and the emerging idea of governance.

Former senator Sonny Alvarez was around with artist wife Cecil Guidote-Alvarez, the couple known for their ecological advocacies.

Common environmental proponent Sen. Loren Legarda was there, too.

Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos came in to greet the celebrator but had to leave soon for another appointment.

Among the upcoming directors, Mark Meily came with fellow winner in the recently concluded Cinemalaya Sheron Dayoc, who won Best Director and maker of Best Film in the New Breed category.

Maverick and experimental directors Khvan de la Cruz and Jade Castro were sharing notes of more daring and progressive cinema.

Castro is soon to shoot his indie film to be produced by Raymond Lee, the same man behind “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros,” a follow-up to the Star Cinema project, “My Big Love” starring Sam Milby and Toni Gonzaga while de la Cruz had just finished an expose of Manila’s innards in “Mondo Manila.”

Prizewinning film artists Adolf Alix, Jr., Paul Sta. Ana, Francis Xavier Pasion, Ed Lejano, Emmanuel de la Cruz, Leo Abaya, Rei Nicandro and others didn’t miss the chance of socializing with the new and old hats in the film business and art.

Award-winning screenwriters Lynda Casimiro of “Lola” fame and Rei Nicandro were also present. Lynda, an occasional party goer, wouldn’t show up if not only for her director.

After the party, Dante is set to roll his cameras again to complete his new gay film.

Later in the year, he is all prepared to do his next masterpiece, a story on Mindanao conflict with no less than French and Hollywood actress Isabelle Huppert in the lead.

“Kailangang handang-handa. Hindi puwede ‘yong nakasanayan na, na ‘o, dito naman tayo.’ ‘O, lipat dito ‘yong camera,’” Mendoza chuckled referring to the guerilla type of filmmaking in the country.

“Iba pag may kasosyo ka na taga-ibang bansa at iba rin pag sarili mo ang produksyon. Iba rin pag sa studio ka nagtatrabaho,” he shared.

With foreign production ethos, Brillante said in gist, “hindi puwede ‘yong puwede na.”-Report by Boy Villasanta,