Imelda Marcos tries to block documentary film in Philippines
Movie's director says she's surprised at the legal action

Posted: Thurs., Jun. 24, 2004, 4:26pm PT
Philippines court restrains 'Imelda'
20-day temporary restraining order issued against doc

Imelda Marcos tries to block documentary film in Philippines
Movie's director says she's surprised at the legal action

Jason W. Lloren, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, June 18, 2004

The director of a new documentary about Imelda Marcos said Thursday she was surprised that the former Philippine first lady was trying block the film from being screened in her native country.

On Wednesday, Marcos asked a court in Manila to stop the local showing of "Imelda," saying she allowed it as a school project and not as a commercial film.

"I'm just surprised that she's doing it," said Ramona Diaz, a Filipina American director based in Baltimore. "I heard she had seen the film and enjoyed the movie. I'm not sure what her issues are with the film."

The award-winning documentary, which opened June 11, focuses on the rise and fall of Marcos. "Imelda," which won an award for cinematography at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is set to open in the Philippines July 7.

"All our lives, President Ferdinand Marcos and I were so deeply committed to God, country, the truth and the Filipino people, but were portrayed by the unauthorized 'Imelda' documentary with malice, inaccuracies and innuendoes," Marcos said Wednesday in a prepared statement.

In her petition, she says she let Diaz interview her as part of her master's thesis but didn't give her authority to use her statements for a commercial movie, said her attorney, Vic Alvaro.

Diaz, a former Stanford student, said Thursday that she had made two distinct films featuring interviews with Marcos -- a thesis film in 1995 and a subsequent documentary. The interviews included in "Imelda" were conducted in 1998 and 2001.

"This is very clear this was a different film about her personal history, " Diaz said. "I spent a month with Mrs. Marcos, and I had a crew of three other people, and there was no talk whatsoever of a thesis film."

Joan Cruz, a marketing officer for the Manila distributor Unitel Pictures International, said the film didn't cast Marcos in a bad light and tried to strike a balance with interviews of her critics and close supporters and relatives.

"Depending on who'll watch it, one would either love or hate Imelda," Cruz told the Associated Press.


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