MANILA, Philippines -- After being accorded a five-minute standing ovation after its premiere screening at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, will "Thy Womb" replicate its success among local audiences?
|Nora Aunor (left), seen here with Brillante Mendoza, holds her trophy for the the Bisato d' Oro Award at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Raoul Esperas
"Masaya [kami] na kinikilala at naa-appreciate ang mga pelikula natin, at pinapalabas sa ibang bansa, pero siguro mas magiging masaya kami kung ang kapwa nating Pilipino ay tatangkilikin din ang mga pelikulang ginagawa natin," said "Thy Womb" director Brillante Mendoza, who arrived home from the annual gathering in Italy on Tuesday afternoon.
After its premiere screening in Venice, where it was awarded a special mention, "Thy Womb" is slated for a local screening in November.
But Aunor lamented the lack of support for locally produced independent films.
"Pasensya na ho kung sino masasaktan, pero kailangan na po malaman nila na kailangan ho 'yung industrya ng ating pelikulang Pilipino ay suportahan naman nila," she said.
"Kagaya nito, ilang days lang natin ito [ginawa] -- walang 14 days -- sapagkat mas mabuti nga po ang Pilipino ay nakakagawa ng pelikulang katulad nito, na kahit kulang sa budget ay nakakagawa parin ng ganitong klaseng pelikula, na mahalaga at may katuturan na maraming maituturo sa mga kabataan," Aunor added.
"Thy Womb," which tells the story of a Badjao midwife coping with her own infertility, was earlier submitted for inclusion at the upcoming 38th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), but failed to earn a slot.
Now with a screening date ahead of the MMFF, which premieres competing films on Christmas day, Aunor and Mendoza appealed to local audiences to support their film, which also earned for the veteran actress the Bisato d' Oro Award in Italy.
"Ang sinasabi po natin dito, sana naman, pag pinalabas dito sa Pilipinas, sana naman suportahan," Mendoza said.
"Alam po natin kahit paano nakakadala po kami ng karangalan, at masaya po kami, at inaalay po namin ito sa Pilipino, pero sana po, pag pinalabas dito, sana naman po ay tangkilikin, para ma-inspire naman po kami na gumawa pa ng mga pelikula," he added.
Set on the islands of Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao, the film also won the P. Nazareno Taddei Award (Special Mention), which is given to films that "express authentic human values."
Apart from having been screened in Venice, "Sinapupunan" (its alternate title) is also among the 62 films that will be screened in Contemporary World Cinema program of the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs until September 16.
However, international appreciation for the film, Mendoza insisted, does not mean his latest big screen endeavor is meant to cater solely to foreign audiences.
"We can only do so much. Napakahirap gumawa ng mga pelikulang ganito," said Mendoza, who in Venice won the La Navicella Venezia Cinema Award, a recognition given to a film director "particularly relevant for the affirmation of human values" by the Rivista del Cinematografo, or Journal of Cinema.
"Minsan nilalabas namin sa ibang bansa, minsan napupunahan pa kami, sinasabi na, 'Ginagawa mo lang ang pelikulang ito para sa ibang bansa, para sa ibang mga lugar, para sa mga festival.
"Hindi po. Gumagawa po tayo ng pelikula, kami, kasama ko ang mga katulad ni Ate Guy (Aunor), para sa lahat, at para sa ating mga Pilipino," he added.