Film by Ramona Diaz to Premiere on Independent Lens, the Emmy Award-winning Series on PBS, Hosted By Susan Sarandon Tuesday, May 10, 2005, at 10pm (check local listings)

The Rise and Fall of One of the Most Reviled and Revered Women of All Time

Cara White 843/881-1480
Mary Lugo 770/623-8190
Randall Cole 415/356-8383
Desiree Gutierrez 415/356-8383 

Program companion website: 

(San Francisco) — Few contemporary political figures have been as controversial and outspoken—and even misunderstood—as Imelda Marcos, the former first lady and subject of award-winning filmmaker Ramona Diaz's compelling and entertaining film, IMELDA. For the first time ever, Mrs. Marcos tells her own story: how, by using a combination of guile, ambition and beauty, she rose from humble provincial origins to become one of the richest and most powerful women in contemporary world history. When Ramona Diaz went to interview Imelda Marcos for her first film, Spirits Rising, she was told the session was to last no more than 15 minutes. 

Five hours later, they were still at her apartment suite high above Manila. Diaz remarked: “I was surprised and, in a sense ashamed, at how much I enjoyed her company. It was uncomfortable given all the stories I had heard growing up—the corruption, the human rights abuses, the legacy of poverty spawned by the Marcos regime. I wanted to examine this duality of attraction and repulsion further.” And that's how the film, IMELDA, was born. 

Universally known by her first name, Imelda Marcos is the widow of the late Ferdinand Marcos, the exiled president of the Philippines who maintained close ties with the U.S. even after proclaiming martial law in 1972. In spite of strict governmental control, opposition to Marcos's regime continued to grow in the following years. After a controversial vote count in his 1986 run against Corazón Aquino, the widow of a slain political rival, Marcos was forced by a popular uprising to leave the Philippines. By his side and sharing his power throughout was Imelda, whose beauty, cosmopolitan bearing, and lavish tastes eventually brought her more fame —and perhaps even more power—than her husband. 

The story of IMELDA is told through exceptionally rare, original interviews with Imelda Marcos herself. Diaz and her crew were given unprecedented access to Marcos's life, following her throughout the country, and at one point even living in her home. Marcos is both vivaciously charming as she addresses the camera and perplexing as she expounds upon her personal cosmology. She even addresses the question that is on everyone's mind: What about all those shoes? To this day, Filipinos demonstrate equal passion in either their adulation or loathing of the larger-than-life figure of Imelda Marcos. Will Marcos finally be convicted of charges that range from graft to human rights abuses? And if she is, will a verdict against her restore a natural order to the Philippines, or merely add martyrdom to the weight of Imelda's symbolic claim? 

Shot in 16-millimeter film, and awarded a Sundance 2004 prize for excellence in cinematography, IMELDA offers a visually stunning look at one of the world's most reviled and revered women. “My interest was in Imelda the character, her complexities and contradictions, and ultimately, her universality,” Diaz said, “I wanted to deal with the larger social and structural explanations for her illusions, like the postwar materialist culture, the celebrity culture of dictatorship, Cold War international politics, and expressions of nationalism. Is Imelda Marcos unique or do all of us really have a ‘little Imelda' in us as one shoe advertisement claimed?” 

IMELDA is a production of CINEDIAZ, and is a co-presentation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA). The companion website for IMELDA features detailed information about the film, including exclusive filmmaker Q&A interviews, filmmaker and cast bios and Learn More links and resources pertaining to the film's subject matter. The site will also feature video previews and a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions. 

On-air Participants: 
Imelda Ramualdez Marcos: Philippine First Lady, 1965-1986
Letty Locsin, Lilly & Alex Montejo, Francisco Pedrosa Fe Jimenez, Lorena Almeria: Marcos's childhood friends
Loreto Ramos: Marcos's Aunt
Senator Eva Kalaw: Miss Philippines Organizer and Opposition Leader
Conrado De Quiros: Journalist
Carmen Guerrero Nakpil: Former aide to Imelda Marcos
Josie Vergel De Dios: Marcos's confidante
Katherine Ellison: Author, Imelda: Steel Butterfly of the Philippines
Ferdinand (Bong Bong) Marcos, II: Marcos's son
Senator Serge Osmena: Opposition leader
Behn Cervantes: Film and stage director
Pete Lacaba & Jo-Ann Maglipon: Journalists
Rudolfo Cuenca: Ferdinand Marcos' business associate
Vicente Paterno: Minister of Trade and Industry, 1970-1980
Phil Bronstein: Former correspondent, San Francisco Examiner 
Christian Espiritu: Couturier
Father James Reuter: Jesuit Priest
Bernice Ocampo: Marcos's niece
Stephen Bosworth: US Ambassador to the Philippines, 1984-1987
Richard Holbrooke: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 1977-1981
Llewelyn White: Juror 

IMELDA Credits 
Director, Producer: Ramona S. Diaz
Editor: Leah Marino
Cinematographer: Ferne Pearlstein
Associate Producer, Philippines: Jam Bonoan
Associate Producer, US: Anne Del Castillo
Associate Producer, Philippines: Joji Z. Ravina
Sound Recordist: Richard Fleming 

About the Filmmakers RAMONA S. DIAZ (Director, Producer) 
Diaz is an award-winning Filipino American filmmaker whose credits include Spirits Rising, an hour-long documentary about women's role in the 1986 People Power revolution in the Philippines. IMELDA received the Excellence in Cinematography Award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and the 2004 IDA/ABC News Video Source Award. The film was showcased in over 30 film festivals around the world and it was released theatrically in select cities in the Untied States in 2004. The film will be seen in theatres in Europe and Asia in 2005. Spirits Rising received a Student Academy Award, the Ida Lupino Director's Guild of America Award, a Golden Gate Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival, a Gold Apple from the National Educational Media Network, and a Certificate of Merit from the International Documentary Association. Spirits Rising has been screened internationally and it has been broadcast on public television stations in the United States and Australia. Prior to pursuing a career as an independent filmmaker, Diaz was an associate producer for Cadillac Desert, a major PBS documentary series about the quest for water in the American West. She also line-produced and edited an award-winning, 24-part television documentary series in the Philippines about the immigrant experiences of Filipinos residing in Europe and America entitled Apple Pie, Patis, Paté, atbp.. Diaz brings to filmmaking years of experience working in Los Angeles as a writer's assistant for Mary Tyler Moore Productions and as a producer's assistant for Lorimar Productions. She is a graduate of Emerson College, Boston and holds an MA in Communication from Stanford University. 

Ferne Pearlstein (Cinematographer) 
A graduate of Stanford's MA film program and the International Center of Photography, Ferne Pearlstein began her career as a photographer before becoming an award-winning director and cinematographer. She was DP on Ruthie and Connie for HBO (2002 Berlinale); Voice of the Prophet (Sundance, Toronto, Human Rights Watch ‘02); Pleasures of Urban Decay (Sundance 2000), and Secret People (PBS). As a director, her films include Raising Nicholas (Sundance 1993), To Meet the Elephant (PBS), and Dita and the Family Business. Her feature SUMO EAST AND WEST (ITVS) premiered at the 2003 Tribeca and IFP/LA Film Festivals and premiered on Independent Lens. 

Jam Bonoan (Associate Producer, Philippines) 
Jam Bonoan is a producer, director and writer who lives in the Philippines. She started her career as a writer for corporate brochures and quickly moved into producing, directing, writing and editing documentaries for major Philippine broadcasters. Her work includes Ashes of a Memory, a documentary on one of the worst fire tragedies in the world; Batas Militar, a documentary on the Marcos dictatorship and the martial law years; Letters of a Revolution, a documentary on student activism and three modern-day martyrs; Hong Kong @ Handover, a news special on the handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China; Behind the Veil, Voices of Moro Women, a documentary on Mindanao Muslim women and their role in war and in peace; and Eleksyong Pinoy, a documentary on the history of Philippine elections. Bonoan has also been a freelance field producer and researcher for the CNN Jakarta Bureau in Manila. She is currently completing a master's degree at the USC Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles. 

Anne Del Castillo (Associate Producer, US) 
Del Castillo is a producer who is experienced in the development, production and administration of PBS programming. She assisted in the development of the animated series CRO, produced by the Children's Television Workshop. She was production coordinator for the American Masters series at WNET, and then series coordinator for Frontline, where she worked on contract negotiations and budget reviews, and monitored the status of over 50 documentaries in various stages of development, production and distribution. Del Castillo also served as director of artists' services for the Austin Film Society from 1998 to 2001 where she oversaw the fiscal administration of the organization's projects. She currently works for P.O.V/American Documentary in New York City. 

Joji Z. Ravina (Associate Producer, Philippines) 
Ravina is an independent producer in the Philippines whose credits include the highly acclaimed documentary about the Philippines during World War II, Days of the Crimson Sun: The Re-Telling of the Battle Of Manila. Other credits include Woman Watch, a weekly Philippine talk show, The Shahani Perspective, a documentary series, By Design, a weekly television show on architecture, and J.V. Cruz Interviews, an annual public affairs special. 

Independent Lens 
is an Emmy Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. Hosted by Susan Sarandon, the acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history, which prompted Nancy Franklin to write in The New Yorker: "Watching Independent Lens... is like going into an independent bookstore — you don't always find what you were looking for but you often find something you didn't even know you wanted." Presented by ITVS, the series is supported by interactive companion websites, and national publicity and community outreach campaigns. Further information about the series is available at Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the web and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. 

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, the leading dot-org web site on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. 

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Posted on March 31, 2005