Judy Ann Santos on being culturally sensitive in the film 'Mindanao'
MANILA, Philippines – Among the films that premiered at the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) on Wednesday, December 25, is Mindanao – a movie where Judy Ann Santos plays a mother from Maguindanao who cares for her cancer-stricken child while waiting for her soldier husband to return from deployment.
Even before the film premiered at the MMFF, Judy Ann's performance in it had already earned her recognition – particularly the Best Actress title at the Cairo International Film Festival.
The film marks the actress' first time in a role as a Muslim woman from Mindanao. She told Rappler in an interview at the MMFF Parade of Stars on December 22 that the film's director, Brillante Mendoza, made sure they had Muslim consultants on set to make sure that the film was sensitive to the culture of Muslims in the Philippines.
"Si Direk Brillante naman made sure that there are our Muslim brothers and sisters on set that would help us relate to the role para siguradong pag may magawa kami, gawin namin ng tama (so that we would be sure that we were doing things right) especially the tradition of the Muslims," she said.
"Very careful kasi kami doon (we were very careful with that)," she added.
Allen Dizon, who plays the soldier/husband in the film, said that there were also soldiers and medics on set to make sure their portrayal was realistic.
He also said that beyond being a story specific to a certain region in the Philippines, Mindanao is something that most Filipinos could relate to – no matter where they're from.
"Makakarelate yung mga Pilipino. At least alam nila kung gaano kaimportante yung pamilya, gaano kahirap ang buhay ng sundalo, yung dedication ng sundalo sa bayan, sa bansa, pagmamahal ng isang ina sa anak (Filipinos will be able to relate. At least they know how important family is, how hard a soldier's life is, the dedication of a soldier to the country, the love of a mother for a child)," he said.
"Medyo dramatic yung storya pero alam kong makakarelate yung bawat Pilipino (the story is dramatic, but I know every Filipino can relate)," he added.
Mindanao premiered in Philippine cinemas on Wednesday as part of the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival. – Rappler.com