• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Filipino Achievers Brillante Mendoza, an award winning director

Brillante Mendoza, an award winning director

E-mail Print PDF

Brillante Mendoza, born and raised in San Fernando, Pampanga, have no idea that directing will be his passion and calling in life. He took up Fine Arts in college that brought him to work in an advertising firm. He then took up Masters in Advertising that also led him to apply for a scholarship in Film Making, and that is where it all started.

He only took Film Making for a year but already started working in the mainstream (eg. Popular movies, action genre, mellow drama and traditional movies). This experience brought him to work with other action movie directors, where he is assigned in the Production Design. But after several years in this field, Mendoza realizes he was not happy that made him return to his first profession, advertising.

His return to advertising, now focused on the production itself, is the venue where he learned to be more professional, disciplined and developed an eye for detail. He was earning well and enjoying himself in this field for about 15 years, when a friend of his came up with an idea to create a film.

“I was in advertising when a friend of mine approached me and said ‘gawa tayo ng movie (let’s make a movie)’. I read the synopsis, and requested if  I can change the story kasi medyo mellow dramatic, I wanted something different”.  Cited Mendoza, and he continues “Akala ko hindi sya serious, but after a month or two, he came with 150k pesos and told me to do the movie. I was not taking him seriously, hindi ko nga deposit yung pera.  I deposited  it after 1-2 months but am already filming. So that was December 2004, 2005 I am already finished, nag edit na ako that time.  That’s how it started.”

Mendoza was still working in advertising during the time that he was filming. He never left it because he didn’t took directing a movie seriously.  What Mendoza have in mind is to be able to direct a movie in his lifetime with his name on it, doesn’t matter if that will be shown to the public or not… a way to satisfy his urge to be able to do something that he could call his own.

But eventually, Mendoza has a change of heart.  “After the film, I went back to advertising. Hindi ko alam, na ma trap na ako sa directing, dahil unti-unti nawawalan na ako ng gana sa advertising kasi nga nag direct na ako, you are in control when you are the director and whats going to happen.”

Mendoza have directed 8 films from 2005 – 2009 and all of the movies received international recognitions and awards.

2005, THE MASSEUR (MASAHISTA), his first feature film where he won a Golden Leopard award (co-winner) in the video section at the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, as well as the Interfaith Award in 2006 Brisbane Film Festival and the Audience Award in Turin.

2006,  THE AETA TEACHER (MANORO)  won the CinemAvvenir at the Torino Film Festival 2006 and Best Picture and Director awards at the Cinemanila 2006.

2006, SUMMER HEAT (KALELDO) won the Netpac Award in Jeonju 2007 and the Best Actress Award in Durban 2007.

2007, FOSTER CHILD (JOHN JOHN) won the Best Actress award in New Delhi 2007, Special Jury award in Kazakhstan 2007, the Signis Award in Las Palmas 2008, Best Picture and Actress Awards in Durban 2008.


2007, TIRADOR (SLINGSHOT) won the Special Jury award in Marrakech in 2007, Caligari Award in Berlin Film Festival 2008. It was also given the Best Film, Director and Netpac awards in the 2008 Singapore International Film Festival.

2008, SERBIS was in the main competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival becoming the first Filipino film to compete since 1984. It won Best Director and Actress Awards in the 2008 Pacific Meredian Film Festival in Vladivostok, Russia and Golden Kinnaree Awards in the Southeast Competition of the 2008 Bangkok Film Festival. Serbis is also the first Filipino film to be invited as official selection in the prestigious New York Film Festival.

2009, KINATAY ( THE EXECUTION OF P) is the film to where Mendoza won the Best Director Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. He is the first Filipino filmmaker to win an award from Cannes. He also won the Best Director Award in the 2009 Sitges.

2009, LOLA 2010 (GRANDMOTHER) was nominated in the 2010 Asian Film Awards for Best Film, Best Director  and for Best Editing. Lola won the Grand Knight Award in the 2010 Miami International Film Festival. It also won the Golden Lady Harimaguada, Best Actress and Best Cinematography in the 2010 Las Palmas International Film Festival. In the 2010 Fribourg International Film Festival, Lola won the Ecumenical Jury Award , Don Quijote Award and the  International Jury Special Mention. It also received the Muhr Asia Africa feature Awards in the 2009 Dubai International Film Festival.


The list of awards just goes on and on. And these awards have placed the Philippines back to the International Film industry once again.

“Iba na ang tingin nila sa Filipino film makers. The recognition that I received carried the whole country and the Filipino film industry. People started to be aware and able to renew their interest to Philippine cinema. People now have a higher respect to the Filipino film industry, including independent films that opened doors of opportunity to a lot of Filipino film makers. “ Cited Mendoza.

He then added, “Before, on my film screenings, the audience is composed of white people, no other Filipino than me. It is sad to be alone in that theater. The Filipino doesn’t know the impact I bring every time I bring out my films to the world.  How people appreciate the film. But slowly, Filipino audience are coming in to watch the film, especially when I won in the Cannes. The impact is global. I was really impressed. Now, people are interested to meet the director not the actors alone. In other words, people have a deeper understanding of my film and our culture. People tend to miss their grandparents, and see how important our loved ones can be, this is the message I want to send across.”

Talking with Mendoza made me see his passion on Film making, art and the Filipino culture. His heart for our country and the people had greatly influenced his work. Showing the realities of life and what it is being a Filipino is his goal. Yes, Mendoza will definitely continue to do his work in the coming years. “This is where I found my happiness, my fulfilment.”  He replied.

Mendoza’s word of advice to upcoming film makers? “Tell a story about who you really are. If you really want to be an artist or film maker, gawin mo ang tama, gawin mo ung totoo, tapos magumpisa ka kung san ka nanggaling. Wag kang mag umpisa, sa labas, dito ka sa loob, at magkwento ka ng mga alam mong kwento.  Magbalik ka kung nasan ka, dito sa Pilipinas. Pagka Pilipino mo. Wag kang mahihiya as a Filipino.”


Facebook Image