IT seems like only yesterday when we interviewed Brillante "Dante" Mendoza and took pictures of him on Cannes' famous Croisette last year. Now, we just learne d the happy news that Dante is returning to Cannes this year but this time, his entry, "Serbis," is in the major event -- the in-competition category. We are so proud that another Pinoy filmmaker is following the Cannes path blazed by th e late great Lino Brocka. Dante is in great company. Just ponder the list of filmmakers whose films are a lso in competition this year: Clint Eastwood, Charlie Kaufman, Wim Wenders, Wal ter Salles, Atom Egoyan, Jia Zhangke, Steven Soderbergh and Arnaud Desplechin. Mabuhay ka, Dante!
Recently in Cannes Category
"WE had a ten-minute standing ovation during the official screening," Robbie Ta n excitedly told us via text message about the reaction to "Foster Child," whic h he produced, after its official screening Friday evening at the Directors' Fo rtnight in Cannes. "The audience was absolutely moved by 'Foster Child,' â Robbie added. We are ba ck in LA now from Cannes but the ecstatic text messages by the folks behind the Pinoy film, directed by Brillante "Dante" Mendoza, excited us as well. The producer claimed that the press screening held earlier, on Friday morning, was a success as well: "Many viewers told us that âFoster Childâ is a moving fi lm. They were all praises for Cherry Pie (Picache)." Cherry Pie stars in the fi lm along with Eugene Domingo, Jiro Manio, Alwyn Uytingco, Dan Alvaro and Kier S egundo. Dante, whom we interviewed while we were in Cannes, told us via text message, " I am humbled by the audience reaction. They said the film was one of the best i n the Directorsâ Fortnight." Below is a press release from Ferdie Lapuz, the sales agent of "Foster Child," who shared with us that he got goose bumps as he witnessed the enthusiastic res ponse to the film: "The official screening of 'Foster Child' was held at 5:00 p.m. today (Friday, May 25) and ended at around 6:45 p.m. There was an almost 10-minute standing ov ation for the film. "Director Brillante Mendoza and actress Cherry Pie Picache stood up at least th ree times to acknowledge the cheers by the crowd. Both Mendoza and Picache wer e so moved by the reaction that they cried. "According to Directors' Fortnight artistic director Olivier Pere, 'Foster Chil d' is the second film to get a good reaction from the audience. Mr. Pere introd uced the team from 'Foster Child' before the screening. Joining Mendoza and Pic ache were producer Robbie Tan and writer Ralston Joel Jover. "In the audience representing FDCP (Film Development Council of the Philippines ) chairman Jacky Atienza were IFFCOM (International Film Festival Committee) ch air Christine Dayrit, FDCP executive director Lali Suzara and Cinemanila execut ive director Tikoy Aguiluz. Representatives from AD Vitam Distribution, the Fre nch distributor of âFoster Childâ in France, were also present. They were very happy with the audience reaction. "Earlier in the day, the press screening was held to an almost SRO crowd -- qui te a feat considering that it was held early at 9:00 a.m. and that Friday was t he second to the last day of the festival."
AS we await the reviews of Dante Mendozaâs "Foster Child," his entry in the non -competition Directorsâ Fortnight, here is what he told us about what he hopes the Cannes audiences will see in his film about foster care families who take c are of children before they are adopted by foreigners: "The film is unique in i ts simplicity and truthfulness." (Editor's note: Photo by Ruben V. Nepales)
DANTE MENDOZA'S thoughts on the Cannes film festival as he gets ready to show âFoster Childâ in the Directorsâ Fortnight (poster of this Cannes sidebar is in the background) on Friday, May 25: "I have always known that Cannes is a very prestigious film festival. Itâs every directorâs dream to have his work showcas ed in it. Iâm raring to meet the master filmmakers and see their works." (Editor's note: Photo by Ruben V. Nepales)
HERE is a photo of Pinoy filmmaker Dante Mendoza checks out the Cannes beach sc ene on his first day in the French port city. Dante is in Cannes, ready to show his film, âFoster Child,â on Friday in the Di rectors' Fortnight, a sidebar section of the ongoing Cannes film festival. Wearing a red shirt and a brown jacket, the Filipino filmmaker, who won a Golde n Leopard at the 2005 Locarno (Italy) film festival for "Masahista," looked rel axed as he settled into a chair at the Noga Hilton's lobby. He recalled the mom ent when he first heard the great news that "Foster Child" adds him to the list of Pinoy directors whose works have been shown in the Directorsâ Fortnight -- the late great Lino Brocka, Mike de Leon and Mario OâHara: "It was two a.m., a Friday in April when my manager/agent Ferdie Lapuz called me up and said that J eremy Segay of Cannes' selection committee told him that 'Foster Child' has bee n chosen to be in the Director's Fortnight. I was thrilled no end." The former advertising talent is grateful to Brocka for paving the way for othe r Filipino filmmakers: "I was aware about Lino Brocka's participation in Cannes when he was still alive. Although I was not yet really into festivals and film s at that time, I already knew that Cannes is prestigious. I have seen all of B rocka's films but I never got the chance to work with him." As we strolled along the Croisette, Dante paused to view the beach littered wit h topless women. (Editor's note: Photo taken by Ruben V. Nepales)
MICHAEL MOOREâS much-awaited new documentary, "Sicko," earned hearty applause during its pr ess screening this Saturday morning in Cannes. The reaction was one of the most favorable so far in this festival. At the press con afterward, your blogger asked why the controversial filmmaker chose to enter the film out of competition at Cannes. He replied to us that in the spirit of the film, which questions why the US couldnât implement universal health coverage for Americans, he did not want to adopt the "American attitude of more, more, more!" He explained that since he won a Palm dâOR in 2004 for "Fahrenheit 9/11," he di d not want to be greedy. Photos from Day 5 of our coverage: Here's your blogger representing the Philippine media at the Cannes press confe rence for Michael Moore and his latest documentary, "Sicko." Michael Moore faces the press after the packed Cannes press screening of his do cumentary, "Sicko." He does not want to be greedy by going for another shot at a second Palm d'OR: director Michael Moore explains to the blogger why he chose to enter "Sicko" out of competition.
âIâM bringing the same barong tagalog I wore when I got the Golden Leopard Awar d in Locarno (Italy) for my first film âMasahistaâ in 2005,â e-mailed director Brillante âDanteâ Mendoza to us. We are looking forward to his arrival here in Cannes. Danteâs film, âFoster Chi ld,â will be shown in the Directorsâ Fortnight, which honored the late great Li no Brocka, Mike de Leon and Mario OâHara in the past by showing their films. âIâm bringing a jacket, a pair of denim pants and a pair of boots, too,â Dante quipped. To clarify, Directorsâ Fortnight is not a competition category. But th e section prides itself in being among the first to showcase the first works of master filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese.
a> WE took this photo of a deserted beach in Cannes because this was an unusual situation. Cannes is a crazy, crowded scene at this time because of the festival. Every no ok and cranny of this hot corner of the French Riviera is crawling with people but in this rare serene scene, we arrived early at a party on a hotel's beachfr ont restaurant. We were the first to arrive and for a brief second, before the guests arrived, we took a deep breath to savor the scene. Unfortunately, our quiet moment on the Croisette lasted only a few seconds. But it was enough for us to collect our thoughts and put things from our promd i perspective -- how grateful we are that we have packed our bayong for a trip to cover this festival. Weâd like to think that we are still the same person who grew up in Calasiao, Pangasinan. And then it was back to our he ctic sked of screenings, press cons and walking -- lots of walking! The tedious ness of walking is sometimes broken by hearing welcome snippets of Tagalog -- y es, there are Pinoys strolling on the Croisette.
The Cannes virgin attends his first Cannes press con -- Norah Jones, director W ong Kar Wai and Jude Law pose for pictures before the start of the press con fo r their movie, "My Blueberry Nights," which opens the 60th edition of the world 's most prestigious film festival. The event, moderated by Henri Behar (foreground), was the first press con of th e festival. On our London stopover en route to Cannes, we bumped into our first FC (Filipino connection): Fil-Am Fritz Frie dman, top exec at Sony Pictutes' video division, was also on the same flight. (Editor's Note: Photos by Ruben V. Nepales)
GOOD news to RAL who posted a feedback to our blog post, "Are you a closet Fili pino?" RAL bemoaned the lack of Pinoy presence at Cannes in recent years. Well, this year Brillante "Dante" Mendoza is putting the Philippine flag back o n the French Riviera with his film, "Foster Child," which is featured in the Di rectorsâ Fortnight, the Cannes festival program that presented the works of Lin o Brocka, Mike de Leon and Mario OâHara in the late â70s and â80s. We are glad that on our first trip (making us a Cannes virgin) to experience th e most prestigious international film festival in the world, there will be Pino y presence. Weâre writing this at the Los Angeles International Airport as we w ait to board our flight to London and then to Nice, France. Weâll try to keep y ou updated daily on our Cannes experience once we get there. Yes, from a Cannes virgin perspective. Thank you, by the way, to all those who posted feedback to our blog posts. Keep them coming. Your comments and the ensuing dialogue among the feedback authors are inspiring.