“CALL HER GANDA,” the award-winning documentary about Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman who was brutally murdered by a US marine, is among the films in the ongoing Active Vista Human Rights Festival.
The documentary is screening at the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Cinematheque in Iloilo on December 9, Sunday, at 6:00 pm.
The Active Vista Human Rights Festival, which is now on its sixth year, is an initiative of Dakila, an organization of artists, youth and professionals whose aim is to build a movement of heroism towards social change. The two-week festival is composed of film screenings, exhibits, forums, workshops and a concert. This year’s events coincide with the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Call Her Ganda” by Filipino-American director PJ Raval follows the journeys of three women who are intimately invested in the Jennifer Laude case: activist Atty. Virgie Suarez who is counsel for the Laude family; transgender journalist Meredith Talusan; and Jennifer’s mother Julita Nanay. The documentary not only tackles the details of the case but, more important, presents Jennifer’s murder in the context of US-Philippines relations and the long history of American imperialism in the country.
“We believe that ‘Call Her Ganda’ would help educate the public on relevant social issues that we face today,” said Active Vista Executive Director Leni Velasco-Bicol.
The participation in the Active Vista Human Rights Festival is the latest in the documentary’s worldwide journey in raising awareness for the human rights of LGBTQs. Since it premiered last April 2018 at the Tribeca Film Festival, “Call Her Ganda” has screened and won numerous awards, notably at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Outfest, and Shout Film Festival. In the Philippines, it was well received at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and the recent QC International Pink Festival.
During the Trans Awareness Week held from November 12-19, “Call Her Ganda” had community screenings in the US, Canada and the Philippines. The docu also returned to cinemas in Los Angeles and New York, while special screenings are still ongoing for groups and organizations. One of the “coups” that director PJ Raval was able to organize together with partners was a preview in Washington DC for several members of the US State Department. Raval disclosed, “During the discussion, we gained useful information on how to take the next steps towards making sure Jennifer’s story never gets repeated.”
Raval declared that continuing the screenings is now more urgent especially with the political situation in the US. “With the current Trump administration making efforts to eliminate the civil rights of transgender individuals, building support for trans and gender non-conforming individuals is more crucial than ever. The Trump administration’s attack on the trans community extends to the Philippines as they are trying to eliminate the language used to define gender-based violence, the exact crime that killed Jennifer.”
As such, Raval reiterated their commitment to bringing to light Jennifer’s story and help protect the rights of transgender individuals worldwide. “The work of ‘Call Her Ganda’ is more important than ever,” Raval said.
For more information visit Call Her Ganda and Active Vista on Facebook.