Pandemic shouldn’t hinder us from being creative, says Brillante Mendoza

MANILA/TOKYO – Filmmakers don’t stop being filmmakers because there is a pandemic. This sounds true for acclaimed Filipino auteur Brillante Mendoza who has two films participating at the ongoing Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), while doing the pre-production of his next film in the Philippines.

“The COVID-19 situation shouldn’t stop us from doing something creative,” Mendoza told a virtual Q&A session at TIFF.

“This is the situation that we have right now, but we’ve been through other similar situations in the past. Even harder situations. But it shouldn’t hinder us from creating and doing something worthy, especially if what we’re doing is something that we really love doing,” he said.

His latest effort, “Payback (Resbak)”, had its world premiere in the Main Competition section of TIFF on Oct. 30. The film is competing against 14 other entries from around the globe for the Tokyo Grand Prix, among other awards.

“These are based on real-life situations and real-life stories,” said Mendoza about the film, the story of young Isaac, who has to steal motorcycles to pay off his father’s debts.

Another film he directed, “Gensan Punch”, had its Japanese premiere as part of the Gala Selection; while “The Brokers”, produced by him and directed by his student Daniel Palacio, made the cut in TIFF’s Asian Future section.

“I’m very happy to be back at TIFF again,” Mendoza, who chaired the jury of the prestigious festival in 2018, enthused. “I feel good that my film is being shown in other countries like Japan, where I have a very soft spot even before I became a jury at the festival.” - Florenda Corpuz, with report from TIFF