Directed by Brillante Mendoza, “Mindanao” is one of the eight official entries to the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival. The Center Stage Productions film stars Judy Ann Santos and Allen Dizon and marks the film debut of Yuna Tangog.
On July 10, 2019, the MMFF executive committee announced the four official films that were chosen from the screenplay submissions. These are “Miracle in Cell #7” of Viva Communications, Inc., “Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity” of APT Entertainment, Inc. and M-ZET Production, “Sunod” of TEN17P and “The Mall, The Merrier” of ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc. and Viva Films.
On October 16, 2019, the committee announced the other four official entries from the finished film submissions. Aside from “Mindanao,” the other films are “Write About Love” of TBA Studios, “3pol Trobol Huli Ka Balbon” of CCM Film Productions and “Culion” of iOptions Ventures Corp.
This is not the first time a film directed by Mendoza is competing in the MMFF. In 2012, his film “Thy Womb” won the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award.
Mendoza also won Best Director and Best Production Design from the MMFF 2012 for “Thy Womb.” Written by Henry Burgos, the film starred Nora Aunor, Bembol Roco, Lovi Poe, Mercedes Cabral and Ruby Ruiz, who is also in “Mindanao.”
Joining Santos, Dizon, Tangog and Ruiz in the cast of “Mindanao” are Vince Rillon, Chai Fonacier, Fe Saligumba, Perry Dizon, Ketchup Eusebio, Epy Quizon, Richard Manabat, Kiko Matos and Jun Nayra. The screenplay was written by Honee Alipio with Armando “Bing” Lao as the creative consultant.
“Mindanao” was screened at the 24th Busan International Film Festival in Busan, South Korean from October 3-12, 2019. Mendoza attended the event with Santos, Dizon and Rillon.
The splendid production design of “Mindanao” was by Mendoza himself. Joining him behind the cameras are assistant directors Charita Castinlag and Raymund Ribay Gutierrez, cinematographer Odyssey Flores, editor Diego Marx Dobles, line producer Carlo Valenzona, production manager Antonio del Rosario, art directors James Rosendal and Katrina Napigkit, master stylist Mikee Supetran and casting director Evangeline Torcino.
In “Mindanao,” Santos plays Muslim woman Saima Datupalo who is taking care of her cancer-stricken daughter named Aisa Datupalo (Tangog) in a temporary home for children with cancer called the House of Hope in Davao. Dizon plays Saima’s husband Malang Datupalo, a combat medic who is in an offensive operation in Maguindanao.
Executive produced by Mendoza, “Mindanao” features Team App’s animation, Hiroyuki Ishizaka’s sound design and Teresa Barrozo’s music. Watch Maan Chua’s appearance in the film as a singer, performing her original song “Itadyak” here: