The last Filipino film to screen in Cannes competition was the late director Lino Brocka's Bayan Ko: My Own Country. The last film from the Philippines that Fortissimo handled was Mel Chionglo's 1999 Burlesk King.
Mendoza first gained attention with his debut film The Masseur, which won a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival in 2005. Since then, he has made several critically-acclaimed films, including last year's Cannes Director's Fortnight entry Foster Child and the award-winning Berlin Film Festival entry Slingshot (2007).
Produced by Ferdinand Lapuz and executive produced by Didier Costet, Serbis has a multi-stranded storyline revolving around a matriarchal Filipino family and the nature of relationships between customers and clients in the sex industry.
The deal for world rights was negotiated by Fortissimo co-chairman Michael J. Werner and director of marketing & special projects, Raymond Phathanavirangoon, with Costet of France's Swift Productions. The film also marks Swift's first foray into co-production financing.