Thursday , 18 April 2024

Brillante Ma. Mendoza and Mikhail Red lead Filipino movies at the 2021 Tokyo International Film Festival

Two of the most influential Filipino filmmakers of the current generation are leading the pack of native movies in the coming 34th Tokyo International Film Festival on October 30, 2021. 

Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Payback” and Mikhail Red’s “Arisaka” are officially entered at the main derby of the annual Japan fest. 

“Payback,” formerly titled “Resbak,” tells the story of today’s Filipino youth involved in petty thievery and violence set against police brutality and grim political drama while “Arisaka” narrates how a policewoman who survived an ambush of a police escort to a witness is sheltered by indigenous people but assailants hunt her down. 

Brillante said that “Payback” was done even before the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic but was completed this year after a laborious post-production. 

It stars Vince Rillon who was introduced in Mendoza’s “Captive” in 2012 and was only given the big breaks in the ambitious project. Vince was also featured in Netflix’s “Amo” and “Alpha The Right to Kill.” “Nagpapasalamat po ako kay Direk Dante Mendoza sa lahat ng pagkakataon na ibinibigay niya sa akin (I thank my director for all the opportunites he has been giving me),” said Rillon in an exclusive interview at Mendoza’s digs in Mandaluyong City. 

To make his role a veracious one, Vince informed that he always researches on the character he should play. “Kahit ano pong character. Tulad po rito sa ‘Payback,’ nag-interbyu po ako ng mga drug addicts at saka ng mga suspected drug pusher para makatotohanan po ang pagganap ko (Just any other character. Like here, I interviewed drug addicts and suspected drug pushers so that my acting is realistic),” the young actor divulged. 

To commensurate with the efforts of his resources, Rillon said, he gives a little token to his interviewees. “Mula po sa suweldo ko bilang aktor, inabutan ko ang mga naiinterbyu ko para naman may konsuwelo sila (From my talent fee as an actor, I hand in a little money to my resources as a consolation),” he chuckled. 

“Arisaka” shot in Bataan during the height of the new coronavirus and onslaughts of typhoons top bills actress Maja Salvador as the woman cop. 

In order to achieve realism in marksmanship, Maja had to undergo training in shooting ranges months before the cameras rolled. 

Mikhail was confident Salvador could breathe dynamic characterization in her role. 

I remember I invited Red to my online show months ago but he respectfully begged off because he was busy location hunting for his film. 

Fifteen films from around the world were selected for screening at the festival. The main competition Jury of five international cineastes headed by award-winning French actress Isabelle Huppert will award the Tokyo Grand Prix, Special Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Artistic Contribution. The winners will be announced during the closing ceremony on November 8, 2021. 

As a tradition, Maja and Vince are unofficially qualified for nominations in this prestigious film event as well as the film, Mendoza and Red. 

Tokyo’s film fest this year features the annual “Conversations Series at Asia Lounge” with the theme “Crossing Borders.” Guests which include Huppert, Mendoza and an array of international film artists will share their thoughts and sentiments about film and filmmaking and discuss what it takes to transcend borders. 

Other speakers are Nagase Masatoshi, Kamila Andini, Sode Yukiko, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Bahman Ghobadi, Hasimoto Ai and Hamaguchi Ryusuke.

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