"Call Her Ganda"
Directed by the Austin-based PJ Raval, the documentary Call Her Ganda examines the 2014 death of Filipina transwoman Jennifer Laude at the hands of Private First Class Joseph Pemberton and the complications that continue to surround the imprisonment of the U.S. Marine as he appeals his 2016 murder conviction. Pemberton was found guilty of murdering Laude by asphyxiation by drowning in a hotel room in the Filipino city of Olongapo after he discovered she was a transwoman. The resulting trial and conviction drew international attention because it put to test the Philippines–United States Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows the U.S. government to retain jurisdiction over U.S. military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines with certain exceptions. While Pemberton was the first U.S. serviceman convicted of a crime in the Philippines, he remains in U.S. custody in a military facility while he appeals his murder conviction. The documentary offers a portrait of Jennifer Laude, nicknamed "Ganda"—or “Beauty”—by his mother Julita Laude, examines the conditions under which the Filipino trans community lives, and scrutinizes the delicate relationship between the Philippines and its former colonial rulers, the United States. Call Her Ganda will open this year’s All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Alamo South Lamar. PJ Raval previously co-directed the 2008 documentary Trinidad, about sex reassignment therapy, and the 2013 documentary Before You Know It, about gay seniors, which will receive a retrospective screening at 2:15 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Alamo South Lamar during this year’s aGLIFF. PJ Raval also co-directed this year’s SXSW Film Festival documentary short Come & Take It about an anti-gun movement at the University of Texas.
Aired: Aug. 30, 2018