Philippine director Brillante Mendoza says he hopes his new movie about two grandmothers will resonate with a broader audience than his dark Cannes-winning crime thriller "Kinatay."
His best director win at the Cannes Film Festival last year earned him fame and a cash prize from the Philippine president, but Mendoza's works are still only shown outside of the commercial film circuit in his home country at informal screenings at schools and universities. His new project, "Lola," is no different, but the independent filmmaker hopes it will touch more people.
"'Lola' is more emotional, so it's more audience-friendly compared to 'Kinatay,'" Mendoza told reporters Sunday on the sidelines of the 34th Hong Kong International Film Festival, where "Lola" is a contender for the 4th Asian Film Awards.
"I think audiences will feel more toward the two grandmothers," he said.
Inspired by real-life stories, "Lola" — Tagalog for "grandmother" — follows grandparents whose grandchildren are on opposite sides of one crime — a mobile phone robbery-turned-murder. One tries to raise money to bail the perpetrator; the other seeks funds to bury the victim.
The director said while he wants to reach a wider viewership in the Philippines, his current following has a better understanding of the social criticism in his work.
"I don't really mind showing my films in universities and colleges and schools because there you have the audience, the right audience. You can talk to the right audience that appreciates the kind of films you're showing, compared to when you show your films at a commercial theater like in the mall, where people just go there to be entertained," Mendoza said.
Mendoza said he will next make an action drama, also set in the Philippines.