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Brillante Mendoza: Simple, more engaging SONA 2017

MANILA-- For the second year in a row, award-winning film director, Brillante Mendoza will be at the helm and calling the shots for the televised State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 24.

Mendoza, who received the Best Director award in the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in 2009 for the film, Kinatay, was also chosen to direct the first SONA of President Duterte last year for which he received both praise and criticism for unusual camera angles.

As preparations are already underway for the 2nd SONA of Pres. Duterte, Mendoza told reporters that he would keep the presentation simple so as not to distract audience from the President's message.

It's more important that we absorb the President's message and not look at the direction of the presentation because that is 'bad directing' when the audience notices, he said at the sidelines of the 1st Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-illegal Drugs Film Festival held at the PNP Multi-purpose Hall in Camp Crame.

When asked about his reaction to critics' reviews on his last SONA presentation, Mendoza acknowledged that as an artist, one's work will always be under scrutiny.

There we those who disapproved but there were also those who appreciated my work. At the end of the day, it was the most watched SONA in the history of the Philippines. That in itself is an achievement, he said.

I take criticism positively. I listen to what critics say and I don't take it against them. Those are my angles because I was the director chosen for the task. I think Malacanang trusts me. They gave me full creative freedom which is why I did what I did, he added.

He said he would still use the same shots and angles last year and promised to make the President's delivery of SONA "more engaging".

As a filmmaker, Mendoza, a supporter of Pres. Duterte's advocacies, recognizes the role of the film industry in influencing public opinion.

For me, it is important that cinema serves not only to entertain but also to educate and inform people, he said.

Mendoza said he does projects for the government pro bono, including the SONA and other projects that can be seen on television.

"I can say in front of everyone that my services are free. I am thankful to Malacanang and to the President for the trust they have given me. I am not only doing this for the administration but I am doing this for my country and my countrymen. If there are other artists out there who are willing to contribute their talents to the government, I'm sure they will be welcomed as well, he said.

Meanwhile, Mendoza expressed his approval for the Anti-illegal Drugs Film Festival which was a collaborative effort of the PNP and college students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), La Consolacion College and Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology.

This is a great help because it will promote awareness. Maybe the films shown here will not change the world or the Philippines entirely overnight. Maybe it won't be that easy but this will send the message across especially to the youth. They will see, hear and feel these stories which are told by young people themselves, the director said.

Although Mendoza was not a juror for the Anti-illegal Drugs Film Festival, the PNP is considering his participation for next year's festival as adviser to give workshops to student filmmakers.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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