September 18, 2019

Brilliante Mendoza on Indie, Insurance: It's Destiny!

It doesn't matter the industry he's in. One thing is for sure, whatever Brillante Mendoza focuses on, he shines with brilliance.

Who would have known that in his past life, Direk Brillante was once the Philippines' most sought-after production designer?

"Modesty aside, I was one of the highest paid talents in advertising. There was even a time when multinationals would require me to sign a non-compete contract to ensure confidentiality of my work," he told Insular Life (InLife) during an off-the-cuff tête-à-tête in between the online editing of his latest ad for the insurer.

"But even while I was in advertising, I wanted to go into film-making," he confessed.

He explained that doing film is very expensive and that pursuing it while he was at the peak of his advertising career was risky.

"Risky because there was no guarantee of success, as compared to the good life that I was already enjoying then.  I was sought after by the big ones [multinationals]. If I will go into film, I will lose them."

So what finally convinced him to shift his creative mind from advertising to film-making?

It was 2005. Someone came to him with an idea of a project, the only problem was: he didn't like the script!

"That script was already shown to so many directors but there were no takers. So, when I saw the script, I had to rewrite it," he recalled.

This rejected story would eventually become the indie film "Masahista" which catapulted him into the world of film-making and directing royalty.

So, was the rest history? Not quite.

When Brillante mustered the courage to form his own film production company, he needed money. Fortunately, during his peak earning years in advertising, he had the foresight to invest his funds in a life insurance policy.

"I was a believer [of life insurance]. When I was young, my perspective was to save early."

"I saved early during the time I was earning well. Nagbabayad ako ng monthly for ten years. Nakalimutan ko na nga pero tinanong ako ng agent ko kung itutuloy ko pa. Sabi ko, mabuti sinabi mo yan kasi kailangan ko," he said. "At that time I needed funding for my production. Nakatulong yung maturity benefits. Malaki ang nakuha ko.

Asked what this insurance company was: "It's Insular Life!"

He invested in an Insular Life endowment plan, the proceeds of which became the seed money for his film production company. A couple of decades after, he was chosen to direct a TV commercial for InLife. And the lead actor of the TV commercial was his lead actor in his very first film.

"When I found out that InLife got Coco Martin to do this project and that I, would be its director, I was convinced this project was destined to happen."

"MAPERAAN" is about learning the value of one's hard-earned money, making the right decisions about it, and eventually growing it. InLife can help anyone become "MAPERAAN." The challenged posed to Brillante was how to convey this message to the Filipino.

"It will not be in your face!" he retorted.

Brillante explained that he wanted the message [of being MAPERAAN] to seamlessly connect to the real life of Coco, a real person who embodies the values of being MAPERAAN.

"I want to tell this story through the life of Rodel [Nacianceno], the real name of Coco Martin. I guess this is also the reason why I was tapped to be the director of this project because I know Rodel from when he was just starting, when he was still unknown, where he came from."

Brillante said he can tell an authentic story because he knows the truth about the actor and the message.

Much has happened in the ten years that their careers traversed separate ways – Brillante marches on with indies, while Coco successfully crosses over to mainstream stardom.

What can't be denied, though, is that both have built legacies that will last a lifetime, just like InLife.

Click here to learn more about InLife's MAPERAAN programs and products.

Click here to watch the full-length, short film version of InLife's TV Commercial with Coco Martin. 

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