ON its 14th edition, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival brings together a myriad of films in various genres, catering to different cinematic preferences and experiences. In Dokyu, its special documentary segment, the film festival curates six documentary films such as “Call Her Ganda,” “50 Years Of Fabulous,” “Life Is What You Make It,” “A Piece Of Paradise,” “Yield,” and “Honor, The Legacy Of Jose Abad Santos.”
In “Call Her Ganda,” director PJ Raval documents the case of Jennifer Laude, the Filipino transwoman who was brutally murdered by a US Marine. Three women intimately invested in the case – Virgie Suarez who is an activist attorney, Meredith Talusan who is a transgender journalist, Julita Laude, the mother of the slain, galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperialism.
The documentary won the Grand Jury Award Outstanding Documentary at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and the Best Documentary Audience Award at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival.
Directed by Jethro Cuenca Patalinghug, “50 Years of Fabulous” recounts the rich history of the Imperial Council, the oldest LGBT charity organization in the world. Founded in San Francisco by renown activist, drag queen and performer Jose Sarria, the Council has helped shaped LGBT life and social history in San Francisco and beyond throughout the last five decades.
The film captures the full scope of the organization’s historical evolution, as well as its contemporary struggle in finding relevance – both in the wake of the social progress it has helped foster and in light of a recently empowered political coalition committed to rolling back a half-century of civil rights achievements. The documentary premiered at the 11th Annual QDoc Film Festival in Portland.
Director-producer Jhett Tolentino shares his humble beginning from the slums of Iloilo City, Philippines to the glittery life on Broadway in “Life Is What You Make It.” The 40-minute documentary follows Tolentino’s journey as he shares his triumphant immigrant story and captures the special moments of his homecoming that is full of surprises, love, hope and inspiration.
“A Piece of Paradise” by Patrick Alcedo follows the everyday life of Norlyn, Em-Em, and Betsy who navigate living and working in Toronto while hoping they can visit the Philippines again. Their struggles are real but the women are resilient, knowing that their faith, community and their sense of humor will help them through the challenges. When your heart is torn between two places you love, how do you find your piece of paradise? The documentary won the National Bank Best First Feature Film and Centennial Best Canadian Film at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival in 2017.
“Yield” is an ethnographic inquiry done by Toshihiko Uriu and Victor Delotavo Tagaro over a period of five years, documenting the lives of nine children living in dire Third World conditions. It was named Best Documentary at the 2018 URIAN Awards, and the Best Documentary Feature Film and Best Editing for Victor Tagaro at the 2018 FAMAS.
Learn about the life and legacy of the greatest Filipino hero of World War II, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos in “Honor, The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos.” Directed by Bani Logroño, the 70-minute documentary weaved his life story with interviews from his descendants, top World War 2 Philippine historians, official documents, and excerpts from articles written by Abad Santos’ son Pepito, who was with his father through his last days. Actors Dan Sheneill, Angeli Dione Gomez, Alex Medina, Marlon Mance, Marina Benipayo, and Ricardo Cepeda bring Abad’s colorful life to the spotlight.
There will also be a special screening of “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story,” a documentary by Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga. The film chronicles the fascinating life of Philippine Azkal football player Simone Rota. It will be screened on August 8, 3:30pm at the Tanghalang Manuel Conde.
Catch these documentary films at the Cinemalaya, happening on August 3 to 12, at the CCP theaters. For more information, visit http://www.cinemalaya.org or http://www.culturalcenter.gov.ph. You may also call CCP Media Arts at 832-1125 local 1704 to 1705 and the CCP Box Office at 832-3704. Or follow the Cinemalaya Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Press Release from CCP PR