POV: Call Her Ganda

POV: Call Her Ganda

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 10:00pm - 11:00pm

Rally

Credit: Courtesy of PJ Raval

This film examines the marginalization of transgender Filipinos throughout the country’s violent colonial history and raises complex questions about sovereignty, justice, and the right to self-determination. 

When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case– an activist attorney (Virgie Suarez), a transgender journalist (Meredith Talusan) and Jennifer’s mother (Julita "Nanay" Laude) --galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperialism. A modern David and Goliath story, Call Her Ganda, a POV presentation – airing Monday, July 1, 2019 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV, fuses personal tragedy, human rights activism and the little-known history, and complex aftermath, of U.S. imperial rule in the Philippines, forging a visually daring and profoundly humanistic geopolitical investigative exposé.

When 26-year old Filipina transgender woman and alleged sex worker, Jennifer Laude, is found dead with her head plunged into a motel room toilet, the perpetrator is quickly identified as 19-year-old U.S. marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. A military recruit in an unfamiliar land, Pemberton was on “liberty leave” when he solicited Jennifer at a disco. On discovering that Jennifer was transgender, he brutally murdered her, leaving her to be found by her friend and the motel receptionist.

Amidst a media storm and police inquiry, as Jennifer’s family copes with their loss, three women intimately invested in the case, pursue justice—taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperial rule that have allowed previous American perpetrators to evade consequence: An activist attorney, Virgie Suarez, who labors to reveal the truth of Jennifer’s death from inside the courtroom, despite strategic silences and sly legal maneuvers from Pemberton’s defense team.

A transgender investigative journalist, Meredith Talusan, who is determined to bring international attention to the case, writing sharp, in-the-fray essays for VICE, The Guardian and Buzzfeed. And Jennifer’s normally reserved mother, Julita, who finds herself at the affective center of a political uprising, inciting fellow protesters with a tenacious voice she never knew existed.

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