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31/07/2013: Embassy Screens Documentary on Life of Noted Filipino Filmmaker

31 July 2013

Washington, DC.  A film featuring the life of noted Filipino filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya was shown at the Embassy’s Romulo Hall last night with director and producer, Mona Lisa Yuchengco, in attendance for the question-and-answer session that followed the screening.

In his welcome remarks, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. called Diaz-Abaya “one of Asian’s most important filmmakers” and cited her early work for tackling the social and political problems that existed during that era.  He lauded Ms. Yuchengco for capturing Diaz-Abaya’s life in all its intensity, a challenging task in view of the artist’s struggle with her illness during the filming period.

Diaz-Abaya succumbed to cancer in October 2012 and was one of the most successful and inspiring directors of the Philippines.  Her second movie, Brutal, was the first Filipino film to deal with rape in a social justice framework and it won six awards in the 1980 Metro Manila Film Festival.  Her other memorable works include:  Sa Nunal ng Tubig (In the Navel of the Sea, 1977), Jose Rizal (1998) and Muro Ami (Reef Hunters, 1999).

“Mona Lisa Yuchengco's touching tribute to Marilu Diaz Abaya is a beautiful gift to our community. The documentary invites us ‘to love art, embrace uncertainty and sacrifice security’ in the service of God and humanity. Abaya's call to ‘self empty ourselves for another’ is the essence of the Filipino soul, which her films have captured with technical artistry and creative power. Indeed, we are but a raindrop in an ocean, a humbling truth Abaya conveys in her life and art, with inspiring humility and grace,” said Jon Melegrito of Kensington, Maryland.

Also praising the film’s director and producer was Margaret Ecarma of Arlington, Virginia.  “Mona Lisa provided her audience open access to a personal perspective about Marilou's quest to put a face in voicing out deep moral issues in Filipino society. Mona Lisa captured Marilou's quest with deep respect for her passion to preserve meaningful motion picture for generations to come,” she said.

The San Francisco-based Yuchengco has been involved in various charities and organizations relating to Asian American interests in the US West Coast.  She was in-fact awarded a Special Presidential Citation in December 2002 at Malacañang Palace for her contributions to the Filipino American community.  She was also the founder and former publisher of Filipinas Magazine, a nationally-circulated glossy publication for Filipinos in North America that was founded in 1992.  (END)

31 July 2013

Mona Lisa Yuchengco, director and producer of “Marilou Diaz-Abaya: Filmmaker on a Voyage,” answers questions from the audience (right photo) following the screening of the documentary at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on July 30, 2013.