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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 28, 2017

Director Brillante Mendoza Completes 12 Episodes Of 'Amo', A Weekly Series That Supports Pres. Duterte's Advocacy On The War Against Drugs

DIRECTOR BRILLANTE MENDOZA has come up with his first weekly series on TV, “Amo”, to be shown on TV5 every Sunday at 9:30 PM starting August 20. “Amo” focuses on a timely issue, the government’s war on drugs. All the 12 episodes of “Amo” have already been taped and touch on such aspects as the rampant vigilantism against suspected illegal drug users and traffickers.

“Amo” introduces newcomer Vincent Rillo, who Direk Brillante discovered in the acting workshops he conducts, as Joseph, a high school student who is the son of a cop (Dexter Macaraeg) and the nephew of a police official (Allen Dizon) who moonlights as a drug pusher. It’s from his point of view that the story is told. Supporting him are Derek Ramsay as a good cop, Felix Roco, Archie Adamos and Baron Geisler.

The show exposes some controversies on the PNP (Philippine National Police) in the campaign against drugs. Isn’t Direk Brillante worried cops might complain about this? “Hindi naman. I’ve done movies before about police corruption and I always show that not all cops are bad. Balanse naman ang portrayal ko sa mga pulis kasi I always show na may good cops din, like Derek Ramsay in this show.”

He’s very close to Pres. Duterte, even directing the TV coverage of his SONA. Is he aiming for a government position like other showbiz personalities who helped Digong and are now in public office? “No, wala akong interest sa ganyan. Gusto ko lang makatulong sa presidente. I’m good in what I’m doing now, not in politics.”

Because of “Amo”, he’ll stop his monthly TV movies after “Kadaugan” that will be shown this Sunday July 30. “Hindi ko na kaya. Para kong gumagawa ng movie every week with ‘Amo’. Also, I will start a new movie, ‘Right to Kill’, also about the war against drugs. It’ll be my last project about drugs after ‘Ma Rosa’ and ‘Amo’. I want to take advantage of what the government is doing now against drugs so it’s an advocacy film. Sa research ko kasi, kita ko ang sobrang masamang effect ng drugs sa mga kababayan natin and ‘Amo’ is just a reflection of what is happening to us in real life.”

It will be entered once again in international filmfest. “Tanggap ko namang limited ang market ko rito and my audience is more on the art house circuits abroad. But I’m hoping that with all the film festivals now going on, we can create and develop our own market here of local viewers who’d watch and support films that are different from the usual romcoms that mainstream movies show.”

He’s very supportive of young filmmakers and continues to conduct workshops for them. “Isang workshopper ko, I help to direct a film called ‘Pailalim’ or ‘Underground’, starring Mara Lopez and Joem Bascon. We’re so happy kasi natanggap as entry sa San Sebastian Filmfest in September, kaya pupunta sila roon.”

How is it directing a big star like Derek Ramsay? “He’s easy to work with, walang ere, walang star treatment. Ang mahalaga naman, yung director at artista, you treat each other with respect, like when Nora Aunor worked with me. Ang dali niyang nag-adjust sa amin ng team ko. Gusto ko yung mga artista and young directors na walang attitude.”