TV5 CEO CHOT REYES presented Director Brillante “Dante” Mendoza in a solo presscon at SM Megamall for his monthly TV movies for them, “Brillante Mendoza Presents”. “He’s one of our most prominent filmmakers today, having won awards here and abroad, and we’re glad to have him as a content partner,” he says. “We’ve already shown two of his TV movies, ‘Tsinoy’ set during the Chinese New Year with Ina Raymundo and ‘Everlasting’ set during the Baguio Panagbenga Festival with Aubrey Miles and Mercedes Cabral. You can now view these films online. He’ll also do a 13-episode series for us next year, ‘Amo’, after he has completed the 12 movies he’s slated to do with us.”
Direk Dante says he’s thankful to TV5 for giving him complete artistic freedom in choosing the materials he shows in his TV movies. “There’s no compromise at hindi sila nakikialam as they just give me the budget at ako na ang bahala on how to use it,” he says. “May episodes kami filmed on location kaya medyo magastos, but they leave it to me para balansehin ang budget na ibinigay nila sa’kin. We have a pool of writers who go to the provinces to research on the right materials we can use for a film. We don’t get big stars as we want to focus on the story more than the actors who appear in them.”
Their next offering is “Pagtatapos”, with graduation as theme, to be shown this Saturday, April 22 at 9:30 PM. It was filmed on location at the Philippine High School for the Arts in Los Banos, Laguna. “It’s the first time that they allowed anyone to shoot a movie there,” says Direk Dante. “The story is about a senior high school dance major who’s having problems at home, in school and with her love life as she sees her boyfriend flirting with other girls.”
The film was previewed for the press and it’s quite absorbing. The lead role is played by newcomer Gabby Torres, who’s obviously a real dancer as she moves so gracefully on the big screen. She handles both her dance scenes and dramatic scenes capably and convincingly.
Her personal story is intertwined with the folk legend of Maria Makiling who she strangely sees in her visions. Giving her good support are Nonie Buencamino and Shamaine Centenera as her estranged parents, Racquel Villavicencio as her very supportive teacher, Joni Galeste as Maria Makiling and Olivia Bugayong as Ina, Gabby’s hostile classmate.
The film, done with Mendoza’s ultra neorealist style, will surely appeal to those who are looking for alternative filmfare as it’s really different from the usual romcoms that we often see on the big screen. But it’s not going to be of much interest to TV viewers with short attention spans who are used to the usual TV style of snappy editing and fast pacing. We just hope serious film aficionados will support this series of TV movies from TV5 since it comes from an internationally acclaimed filmmaker like Mendoza, who also needs more local recognition and acknowledgment.
After “Pagtatapos”, the next TV movie they’ll show is “Panata”, set at the Moriones Festival in Marinduque during Holy Week. It stars Kristoffer King as a man whose family was a victim of martial law and who makes it his annual “panata” to appear as one of the masked players in the Moriones passion play.
Other coming attractions are “Anak”, about an old barren couple who dance in Obando asking for a child; “Kadaugan”, set at the Kadaugan Festival in Mactan, Cebu about a single mom and her former boyfriend who suddenly returns to her life; and “Habilin”, about two sisters settling an inheritance issue about their ancestral house and farmland.