AND SO IT BEGINS
Amid Filipino elections, a grassroots movement emerges to protect truth and democracy from growing threats. People unite in joyful acts of resistance, kindling hope while autocracy expands.
Returning to Sundance four years after the premiere of A THOUSAND CUTS, director Ramona S. Diaz gives audiences a companion piece about the fragility of democracy. In the Philippines in 2016, the country elected a President and Vice President from opposite political spectrums. VP Leni Robredo is a compassionate, former NGO human rights attorney. She is articulate, funny, and fearless. If you took President Biden and combined him with Hillary Clinton, you might begin to understand Leni Robredo.
The passion of the people is evident in their cries for equality. Her supporters wear pink and come from every socioeconomic background and age group. She has a special bond with the LGBTQ community. Her extraordinary grassroots campaign still fights an uphill battle against the children and candidates of the former dictatorship.
Holy misogyny, Batman! The overt corruption of President Duterte looks familiar. The US had a tyrant appear in 2016. In 2021, Leni must contend with the attacks from the outgoing president and campaign against the son of former President Fernando Marcos, one of the country’s most notorious dictators. Under his reign, martial law pervaded the Philippines, and Marcos fled with billions of dollars. BongBong Marcos Jr wants to bring back the policies that destroyed democracy. To remind you, he is also Imelda Marcos’ son. A quote that hangs on the wall of Marcos’ former vacation home, now a museum, reads, “We must make this nation great again.” Hmmm. Where have we heard that before?
AND SO IT BEGINS is simultaneously a story about journalist Maria A. Ressa, the co-founder of the news outlet Rappler. Duterte falsely convicted her of breaking laws that never existed before her arrests. Ressa dared to challenge dictators and has since paid the price for years. Their relentless pursuit of quieting Rappler will make your blood boil. A wondrous moment happens in the film as Ressa receives a phone during a Zoom panel, informing her she’s just received the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptable speech, she tells the world about the extensive online misinformation machine built by Marcos, Jr, once again reminding viewers how fragile any democracy is.
We cannot ignore the parallels in tactics. We would be foolish to think the playbook hasn’t gotten thicker as technology replaces knocking on doors. What can we learn from AND SO IT BEGINS? History revisionism threatens everything we hold dear, so pay attention, and don’t look away.
Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)
Meet the Artist
Ramona S. Diaz
Ramona S. Diaz’s award-winning films — Imelda (2004), The Learning (2011), DSB: Everyman’s Journey (2012), Motherland (2017), and A Thousand Cuts (2020) — have screened at top-tier film festivals and been seen globally. Diaz is both a Guggenheim Fellow and a USA Fellow. In 2021, she was named the inaugural McGurn Family Trust Resident in Film by the American Academy in Rome.
RAMONA S. DIAZ
RAMONA S. DIAZ
RAMONA S. DIAZ
ENGLISH, FILIPINO AND OTHER DIALECTS
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