MANILA – International award-winning filmmaker Brillante Mendoza has reacted to criticisms about the way he presented President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on television on Monday.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Ginger Conejero on Tuesday, Mendoza said he understands if some people didn't appreciate his choice of camera angles and shots, but is nevertheless happy that they were able to achieve their goal of drawing people’s attention to the President.
READ: Brillante Mendoza draws flak, praise for Duterte's SONA
“Hindi naman lahat ng nanood admittedly ay film literate, pero ‘pag babasahin mo ‘yung mga sinabi ng mga film literate ay matutuwa ka… For those who don’t understand those kinds of shots, it was really the intention to make it different from the past SONA,” he explained.
“Iyong mga anggulo na ganoon kasi, ‘yung mga papalit-palit, paiba-iba ‘yung size, it makes us as an audience interested with the person, hindi tayo mabo-bore. Kasi kung static shot lang siyang ganyan, ang nangyayari nakatingin lang tayo sa kanya nang matagal at mabo-bore tayo sa sinasabi niya. And we don’t want that to happen… Regardless whether they understood the shot or not, alam mong nanood sila. So the intention, na-accomplish natin. Maaaring na-bother sila sa shot, but they were there. Nanonood sila,” he added.
Explaining what some netizens labelled as his “shooting up” angle of President Duterte, Mendoza said: “I call that a power shot. When you articulate something and you shoot that person in that angle, psychologically it gives you that meaning that he has power and authority.”
“It might not look good when you watch it, but psychologically, it gives you that impression [of power].”
The “Ma’ Rosa” director also discussed why he opted for dim lighting during the SONA. “I wanted the lighting to be dim, ‘yung medyo dramatic lighting. But then again, they don’t want it to be too dark. But I just want the President to have the light para siya ‘yung center of attention.”
“Naramdaman naman ng mga tao that there was a change of light. In the past kasi it’s all brightly lit and I feel it was kind of stiff,” he said.
Mendoza went on to say that his approach to the SONA broadcast was approved by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who even called it a “master class.”
“We talked about other information campaigns to be done by this administration,” he said.
Keeping it real
Mendoza, whose independent films have been recognized in various international film festivals, said the angles and shots he used during the SONA were nothing new.
“Iyong mga pelikula ko ay all about social ills and social issues. Thirteen films and it’s all about that, walang commercial film. Maaaring ngayon lang napansin kasi maraming nanood ng SONA, pero para sa mga nakapanood ng mga pelikula ko, this is not something new,” he said.
The award-winning director believes that his style of portraying things as they are is “what the Duterte administration wants.”
“We also have to remember the kind of president who is speaking in front of us. He is not your typical president. Ibang klase siyang tao, so dapat ma-capture mo ‘yun kapag pinresent mo siya kapag nakita mo siya sa telebisyon,” he said. “So kung ano mang presentasyon ‘yun, dapat handa rin tayo.”
Mendoza took on the task of directing President Duterte’s SONA for free, saying he is doing it for the country. He believes that working with the government is a big boost for his advocacies.
“I have my advocacy pero wala rin akong ganoong kalaking resources para maiparating ang aking mga advocacies. To have the government beside you, mas makakatulong ‘yun, welcome sa akin ‘yun,” he said.
“If there are people who know better and can share their craft, I think Malacañang would be happy to welcome them,” he added.