CANNES -- Multi-awarded director Brillante Mendoza and the cast of his new realist film "Ma' Rosa" faced the media on Wednesday for a photo call at the 69th Festival de Cannes.
Mendoza, with actors Jaclyn Jose, Andi Eigenmann, Neil Ryan Sese and Jomari Angeles, screenwriter Troy Espiritu, producer Larry Castillo, also answered questions from various media representatives at the press conference shortly after the photo call.
Mendoza's "Ma' Rosa" is competing in the festival's Main Competition. It tells the story of a couple, played by Jose and Julio Diaz, running a small-time illegal drugs business.
Mendoza said he will continue do social realist films and he is honored to be back at the Main Competition.
"Every time I present my film here in Cannes, I always feel welcomed -- from the first time I was here at Director’s Fortnight and the year after that. It feels like a family. For me it's an extreme honor to show my film in Cannes and to see the emotions, reactions from viewers, the audiences," said Mendoza.
Jose was also excited to be back at Cannes, this time with her daughter, Andi, who also plays her daughter in the film.
"I dreamt of this, that someday I'm coming back with my daughter. Hindi pa siya artista noon. It's really my pride and joy to be here, side by side with my daughter," said Jose.
On working with Mendoza, she said: "Working with Brillante was easy for me because we started together. We did 'Takaw Tukso', 'Private Show.' so parang tingin lang ni Dante (Mendoza), alam ko na."
For Eigenmann, it's also a dream come true to be working with her mother, a critically acclaimed actress, and award-winning director Mendoza.
"It's one of my dreams coming true and it makes it even better that I get to do it with my mom and enjoy the experience with her and with director Brillante, who I really look up to," explained Eigenmann.
"I felt that my style and direk’s style went well together. At the same time, it was really a challenge because not having the script means not really expecting anything," she added.
Mendoza’s style of not being fixated with a working script for his films sets him apart from other directors.
The award-winning director first made waves at Cannes in 2007 with the family drama "Foster Child," which was an entry to the Directors' Fortnight. The next year, Mendoza competed for the highest prize of the festival, the Palme d’Or, with the film "Serbis," selected for the main competition in 2008.
In 2009, he bagged the Best Director award with his thriller "Kinatay." To date, Mendoza is the only Filipino to be given the award.
Last year, his film "Taklub" was awarded the Ecumenical Jury-Prize Special Mention in the UN Certain Regard Section.
OTHER FILIPINO FILMS IN CANNES
This year, the Philippines takes to Cannes a big contingent of participants. Also partaking in the competition is a short film by Raymond Gutierrez, a part of the Cannes Court Metrage and will be screened at the festival on Saturday.
Gutierrez is a workshop student of Mendoza. His film is the only entry from the Philippines and the whole of Asia into the Short Films completion.
Below is the list of Filipino short films at the Festival de Cannes:
"Crossroads," directed by Eli Razo
"Hail the Queen," directed by Khalil Joseph Banares
"Kulimlim," directed by Richard Webb
"Lope," directed by Thop Nazareno
"Maria," directed by Emil Ray Alviz
"Neon," directed by Rod-Michael Tumbaga
"Panaginip ni Nida Chua (May 25, 1985)," directed by Jordan de la Cruz
"Rat Park," directed by Rafael Mendoza
"Re-directed," by Allison Barretto
"Sejour," directed by Christian Lat
"September at Simon," directed by James Robin Mayo
"Yapak," directed by Dwight Galang