Dante Brillante Ma. Mendoza, the controversial director of this year’s Cannes Film Festival entry, Kinatay, received the Best Director Award. This is the first time that a Pinoy won Best Director in Cannes.
To me — a non-insider in the indie film circuit — it’s a very happy news. I don’t know, however, why some Pinoys seem to hate Mendoza so much, they criticize him for the littlest things like changing his name from Dante to Brillante then later to Brillate Ma. Stir.ph’s Edgar O. Cruz even insinuates that Mendoza has a “French Connection,” hence, his inclusion in Cannes for two years in a row (Mendoza has already denied this). Some call his works, including last year’s Cannes entry Serbis “exploitation cinema” or a disservice to “what Lino Brocka stands for” due to its “lack of anti-dictatorship stand.”
Ano ba? Bitter?
Anyway, I hope that this award will open more distribution deals abroad for Pinoy filmmakers. It is true that there are many talented Pinoy directors, writers, etc. in our country and a little funding and “kita” can go a long way.
My wish, though, is that screenwriters/writers get as much credit and exposure as the directors since a film’s worth all boils down to this: “Story is King.”