By: Naia Mateo (Grade 10)

On the 29th day of July, the whole Junior High School department of MIS attended the Brillante Mendoza Film Appreciation Workshop, held in SM City Masinag. However, before this had all happened, just a day ago from the given date, three representatives from the CROW, including this writer, met Director Brillante Ma. Mendoza.

That day, the 28th, we were able to attend the press conference held in the Mall Atrium. The event was reserved for the media, a select few of internet personalities and bloggers, but thankfully, our participation in the Film Appreciation Workshop the next day gave us access to enter the premises. The seats were slowly filled with excited students, and professional-looking bloggers and media. It was quite intimidating, if I were to be honest. After waiting for a good thirty minutes, the master of ceremonies announced that the man of the hour had just arrived. True to his word, Director Brillante Mendoza entered the event area, and was immediately greeted by cameras flashing left and right, and it made me wonder how he could take all the flashing lights. When the crowd of photographers dispersed to their respective seats, he was finally able to take a seat at the very front, two rows away from our seats.

The event proceeded with no problems. There were introductions and opening remarks, given by the assistant mall manager, Mr. Matthew Mark C. De Guzman. It was quickly followed by a special message given by the Antipolo City Government’s representatives, and the reading of the synopsis of the film “Taklub”, read by Mr. Louie Reyes of the College of San Benildo Rizal. As soon as the first part of the event finished, participating schools were called to the stage to receive the Certificate of Participation, signed by the director himself. Our school’s certificate was received by none other than Ms. Mera Galapir, High School Guidance Counselor. After the awarding of the schools, it was finally time for Director Brillante to receive his award. Applause filled the atrium, and even on-lookers looked sincerely proud or curious of the man. Director Brillante gave a short, but sweet, special message, saying that it wasn’t just his success, but the success of the whole nation. I couldn’t agree more.

The various stories that he had taken from once unknown people were brought to life because of his brilliance. His films are one-of-a-kind, and are definitely to be looked out for.

As time dragged on, the press conference was closed by a short question and answer segment, in which I was able to participate in. He diligently answered every question with full detail, and not even stopping to take a breath. As I asked my questions, which were, “Were there any memorable experiences or moments while filming Taklub?”, and “How long was the filming and editing process?”, I couldn’t help but notice how passionate he was about spreading his advocacy. He is really dedicated to his job, and that’s something we should praise him about. He isn’t doing it for the money or the fame, as he said, it was simply collateral, but he was doing it to tell stories of the most unexpected people, and to spread messages that may change people’s hearts. And even as he answered my questions, he was never vague about it.

“Taklub took about six months in total. Three months for the research, and three months for everything else,” Director Brillante answered. “We filmed it for about twelve days, and then the post-production took about another two or three months. The memorable experience, of course, is when we were shooting in Tacloban, because we had to deal with real victims and survivors.” He then added, “So that means, they’re not just ordinary extras or ordinary people that we get to work with everyday, but real survivors. So, you have to be sensitive about what they feel. You can’t just say, ‘okay, this is what you’re going to do, and what you’re going to act out’, no. We’re dealing with real people of a tragedy. We have to be sensitive and careful about everything.”

Meeting Director Brillante Ma. Mendoza was a great experience and a chance to expand horizons. I realized that filmmaking isn’t simply just about acting and editing, it’s about telling the story, and knowing why you want to tell the story. This man changed my perspective of things, and I really do think it’s for the better.