A film by one of the protégés of "Ma' Rosa" director Brillante Mendoza made it to San Sebastian International Film Festival. The film titled “Underground” was produced by the 2009 Cannes Film Festival Best Director himself.

Written and directed by Daniel R. Palacio, “Underground” is a young family drama set in a cemetery in the Philippines. The main characters are played by Joem Bascon and Mara Lopez.

Brillante Mendoza, Daniel Palacio

“Underground” is one of the 13 first titles announced for the New Directors section of the 2017 SSIFF, which is sponsored by Kutxabank of the Basque Country. The director and the Spanish distributor of the winning film under the category will receive a $57,600 cash prize.

In the category, “Underground” is the only film from the Philippines and one of the four films from Asia. The other Asian films are Taiwan’s “A Fish Out of Water” by Lai Kuo-an, China’s “From Where We’ve Fallen” by Wang Feifei and South Korea’s “The Seeds of Violence” by  Lim Tae-Gue.

Only Nicolás Combarro’s “Alberto García-Alix, La línea de la sombra” is the entry solely from Spain. The other films are Chile, Spain and Argentina’s “Princesita” by Marialy Rivas, Colombia and Argentina’s “Matar a Jesús” by Laura Mora, Argentina’s “Tigre” by Silvina Schnicer Schlieman and Ulises Porra Guardiola, Belgium, Netherlands and France’s “Cargo” by Gilles Coulier, France’s “The Sower” by Marine Francen and “The Price of Success” by Teddy Lussi-Modeste, Sweden’s “Ravens” by Jens Assur and Switzerland’s “Blue My Mind” by Lisa Bruehlmann.

This marks Palacio’s debut in the category film festival annually held in the Spanish city of Donostia-San Sebastian. He is a product of Brillante Mendoza Film Workshop (BMFW) 2016. He won Best Director during the culminating program of the workshop with his short film “Idolo” (Idol) starring Elijah Filamor, who is also in the cast of "Underground."

BMFW started in 2014. The Best Director awardee of the first batch of the workshop was Raymund Ribay Gutierrez with his short film “Anggulo.”

In 2016, Gutierrez’s short film titled “Imago” made it to Cannes Film Festival along with Mendoza’s “Ma’ Rosa.” “Imago” starred Ruby Ruiz, who also played a supporting role in “Ma’ Rosa.” 

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