It is always a proud moment for our country when one of our very own takes a most challenging endeavor in the international scene that represents homegrown pride and talent. Here’s a SPOTLIGHT on Mercedes Cabral.
Cabral made a huge splash when she was voted 'The Most Beautiful Girl in Cannes' at the Cannes Film Festival. This was in 2008 when filmmaker Brillante Mendoza featured her in SERBIS. Mercedes again returned on the red carpet of Palais des Festivals-Cannes for Mendoza’s KINATAY and THIRST, a Korean film by Park Chan Wook (both films won major awards at Cannes). Her international festival appearances continued through the years which made her most deserving of the title INDIE PRINCESS. Cabral, who is a UP Fine Arts major, is the current go-to actress in the Philippine independent film scene. She is headlining two major films up for international release.
Mercedes Cabral stars in ROSITA - a Danish film set to premiere in various European festival circuits. The film is directed by filmmaker Frederikke Aspöck (who won at the Marrakech Film Festival for her debut film Labrador). Rosita tells the story of a Filipina mail order bride who will come between her Danish husband and her husband’s son. The resulting love triangle will challenge the bounds of their relationship.
Cabral went to Copenhagen and Hirthshals in 2014 to shoot the film for 2 months on an exclusive international contract with Nordisk Films (one of the pioneering arthouse film companies in Europe and makers of internationally-acclaimed Danish films). The film topbill Berlinale Best Actor winner Mikkel Folsgaard and Lars von Trier regular Jens Albinus. The film was not initially a title role for Mercedes but she impressed the Danish filmmakers so much that they decided to revise the screenplay which also showcased her performance in three beautifully spoken languages.
Director Aspock remarked, “Mercedes is beautiful and intense!” She also shared one instance while shooting a critical scene in the film where Mercedes, wearing a wedding gown in high heel shoes, was supposed to walk along a snow-covered pavement under the most treacherous European winter. Naturally, they had to do a lot of retakes in order to get the perfect shot, however the Filipina actress endured the troubling condition and impressed everyone in the set, including the lead actor Jens Albinus – who was gracious enough to wipe her soaking wet feet. Albinus even had to advise Mercedes to raise concerns to the Danish crew anytime she feels uncomfortable with a scene. Cabral showed them the Filipino brand of professionalism.
Rosita will have its Danish release on April 15, 2015. Mercedes Cabral will be donning a fabulous Filipino creation on the red carpet; her international agent Shandii Bacolod who successfully brokered her international projects (including a UK installation art film and an upcoming Taiwanese film) will be accompanying her. International festival premieres will be announced soon.
THE DOG SHOW
Written and directed by Ralston Jover (Bakal Boys, Bendor), The Dog Show had been in production for three years before finally wrapping up last year. The film, which is a French-Filipino production, tells the story of a forlorn old man (Lou Veloso) who trains dogs for stunt shows with his young mentally challenged daughter (Mercedes Cabral) in tow. Cabral had to learn how to interact with trained dog actors while inhabiting the character of a woman who has a mental function of an 8 year-old. Mostly shot in exteriors, The Dog Show is set to premiere in international film festivals this year. Cabral said that her role in the film is to date the most challenging and most trying. The film is co-financed by L’Atelier Du Festival, Torino Film Lab, together with the famed Bessie Badilla as the main producer.
The screenplay had undergone major revisions which paved way to focusing the story on Mercedes Cabral’s character instead. The extended production took a huge toll on some of the major casts, including one of the dogs who had to be written-off having died during shooting breaks; the role of the younger son had to be retooled since the original actor experienced major pubescent setbacks; the role of the old man had to be recast a few times.
MERCEDES NOW AND BEYOND
Mercedes, who is also the National Book Development Board reading advocate, also endorses major brands (Filegrenasia Silver) while gracing magazine covers (UNO, PLAYBOY) and being featured in various television roles. She is currently preparing for her next international projects. We recently talked to her and she shared to us some personal struggles that she is using on her advantage in order for her to shine much brighter in future roles and other challenging endeavors in her professional career. Mercedes is represented locally and internationally by MSB Talent Management.
By Archie del Mundo