My name is Len Cervantes -- I intro'd you guys to the people at the Kapisanan Arts Centre and many of those folks were in the audience last night. Many more plan on seeing you on Thursday.
I was too, and I realized too late, during the last 15 minutes in fact, that I was sitting RIGHT BESIDE YOU in the very last row of the theatre. I was fully meaning to turn to you and introduce myself, but once the credits began rolling you made your way to the front.
Wanted to drop you a note to say thanks, first of all, for Maggie's mention of the centre in her opening address. I'm one of the centre's founders and I love when word is spread about the work they do there. Which brings me to this note.
I will be honest, I went into Amigo fully prepared to witness yet another revisionist-history, pro-colonizer war propaganda film that was equal parts The Last Samurai and Saving Private Ryan. Great films unless its actually your people on the other side of the tank/rifle/samurai sword. Then its not so good.
What I got instead was the complete opposite -- a point of view that took into account the story of the Filipinos and not just the Americans (and Spanish) who landed there and changed everything. Of course, I enjoyed the film -- looks great, paces well and all... but I think that telling the story the way you did, coming from the perspective that you are coming from is nothing short of amazing. I wish more storytellers would strive for this.
As an 'honorary Filipino' now, I'm sure you're aware the effect that those years have had on the Philippines from then, all the way through WW2 and up until today. It's in the Filipino psyche and to a large extent has become a detriment. Your film says it too "these are children" as Padre said, and the Philippines is still having problems "growing up".
Just wanted to drop you a note and let you and Maggie and your team know, that for the next generations of Filipinos you will undoubtedly meet in your travels, your film is a great example of how we can look critically at history and learn from it. here's an example of the programming http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=144151588940396
You should be confident in knowing that the perspective that your film takes is in line with what we Filipino mentors are wanting to teach the youth who are growing up behind us. We have our hands full between accessing resources that aren't biased and moving past the religious cultural biases that our own parents harbor from their own years.
I'm glad we now have a film like 'Amigo' to tell us this story.
If you were around and your schedule wasn't so crazy, I would invite you to the centre for a 1 hour talk or something. I've got many questions and would like to share so many comments about shooting in the Philippines (I also worked for a time in Manila in commercials- likely we've frequented the same post facilities. I'm now a TV producer).
For now, I'd settle for having you in my contact list -- I'd love to help spread the word.
And I promise -- next time I end up sitting next to you at the back in one of your films -- I'll actually say hi.
Critical Filipino History
Location:Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture
THANKS, LEN. Maggie and John