Brillante Mendoza draws flak on social media for weird camera angles in Duterte’s SONA broadcast

  • Internationally acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza was tapped to direct President Duterte’s first SONA
  • The director said he would like to capture the President’s spontaneity and show the “real Duterte”
  • The viewers took to social media to comment on the ‘artsy’ and ‘weird’ camera angles

The entire country was all ears as President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25.

The internationally acclaimed filmmaker Brillante Mendoza was tapped by the President to direct the proceedings; with the Chief Executive expressing his wishes for the director to keep everything “very, very, very simple.”

“In case some are wondering why the SONA has a director, I want to make clear that my job is to get the order of the shots and to make sure we capture what kind of president he is,” Mendoza said during an ocular inspection; days prior to the President’s SONA.

According to an article published by the Philippine Star, the Ma’ Rosa director, being in charged of lighting and camera angles, emphasized that his goal is to reflect the “real Duterte” which will be the conduit in building a connection with the audience.

“I’d like to capture the spontaneity. I think that’s what makes the person real. And him as the President, if you capture those moments, I think it will endear him to the people,” he said.

However, despite Mendoza’s undeniable brilliance, viewers were confused by the unusual camera angles.

While some appreciate how Mendoza illustrated Duterte’s authority through his creative cinematography — using a worm’s eye view and slow transitions, most of those who’ve seen the broadcast took to social media to comment on the weird shots that most found unnecessary for a political event.

Image capture of SONA video by PTV4
Image capture of SONA video by PTV4

Some social media comments for Mendoza’s #SONA2016  directorial debut were hilarious.

“If what Brillante Mendoza meant by ‘we will see the real Duterte’ is seeing the President’s brain through his nostrils, well…,” A twitter user said.

Another wrote: “Camera angle changes for days aka welcome to ASAP Supahdance!”

“Brillante Mendoza’s camera angles though! What’s this? The Blair Witch Project?” one jokingly asked.

A Twitter user who  doesn’t agree with Mendoza’s style wrote: “Wait eto ba ‘yung sinasabi ni Brilliante Mendoza na iba sa pagdidirect ng SONA? Medyo disturbing ‘yung ibang angle e.”

[Wait, is this what Brillante Mendoza pointed out as ‘different’ in directing a SONA? The angles are quite disturbing.]

While another appreciates: “I think Brillante Mendoza’s compositional direction of DU30’s SONA is meant to make him look superior, which I like.”

Whatever the general opinion of the public may be, we really can’t complain about Mendoza’s helm behind the camera – as some may point out, since the award-winning director did this for free.



  1. I totally agree with the comments on the “weird” camera shots of duterte. It was distracting to say the least. There was this upwards shot of duterte which was unflattering since it showed and highlighted the chin, the nose, the long fingernails etc…You suddenly want to focus on these body parts instead of what was being said. Maybe as a cinematic shot, it was passable, but this movie director forgot that in a SONA, it was the spoken message that was the real star. Thus, the SOP should have been full body shots with some close candid shots of the audience for a little emphasis. They wanted to be different but the very simple setting and duterte’s unique way of speaking were already enough of the welcome change we all wanted.

  2. Well the execution on that sample would have been better if he included the Philippine flag as a whole. I would say nice try but bad execution :

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