Judy Ann Santos plays a Muslim woman in “Mindanao,” a film by Brillante Mendoza. This is the first time the two worked together in one film.
While Santos is elated to have finally worked with Mendoza, the director praised the actor not only for her super acting skills but also for her professionalism. He said, “For me, Juday is a great actress because good attitude matters to me.”
In “Mindanao,” Santos plays a Muslim mother Saima Datupalo who is taking care of her cancer-stricken daughter Aisa Datupalo (Yuna Tangog) in a temporary home for children with cancer called the House of Hope in Davao. Saima’s husband Malang Datupalo (Allen Dizon) is a combat medic who is in an offensive operation in Maguindanao.
Both Davao and Maguindanao are in the southern part of the Philippines called Mindanao. At the House of Hope, Saima retells to Aisa the epic tale of warrior brothers Rajah and Sulayman fighting against the dragons Ginto and Pula, a story that mirrors the harrowing life in Mindanao.
Ketchup Eusebio, Epy Quizon, Richard Manabat, Kiko Matos, JC Tan and Jun Nayra join Santos, Dizon and Tangog in “Mindanao” as soldiers while the other House of Hope kids are played by Jayzelle Suan, Jordhen Suan, Zef Esquibal, Franz Alleria Tan, Ella Sacedon, MG Sacedon, Allie Flores, Jaz Evoran, Erick Joy de la Cruz and Miel Espinosa. Also in the cast are Vince Rillon, Ruby Ruiz, Chai Fonacier, Fe Saligumba, Perry Dizon, Nezzar Piti-Ilan, Vicky Ozawa, Emma Ressureccion, MJ Jacobo, Aileen Sahibad, Racma Caman Tonga, Abdulhakim Suare and Jenny Mondido.
Executive produced by Mendoza, “Mindanao” features Team App’s animation, Hiroyuki Ishizaka’s sound design and Teresa Barrozo’s music. Maan Chua also appears in the film as a singer, performing her original song “Itadyak.”
To play Saima in “Mindanao,” Santos had to learn how to perform a Muslim dance. She had a training with choreographer Al Bernard Velarde Garcia.
“Mindanao” will be screened at the 24th Busan International Film Festival, which will run from October 3-12, 2019 in Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea. Meanwhile, here is Santos during her Muslim dance rehearsal with Garcia: