‘Ninoy Aquino and the Rise of People Power’ Film to Screen at SFIAAFF

The 2010 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival presents NINOY AQUINO AND THE RISE OF PEOPLE POWER, a film by Tom Coffman, one of Hawai’i’s leading filmmakers.

The film will show at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on Saturday, March 13, at 4:30 p.m. and at VIZ Cinema, 1746 Post St., on Wednesday, March 17, at 7 p.m. Order your tickets online and join our Facebook event.

The Late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was the boy wonder of Philippine politics until the object of his criticism, Ferdinand Marcos, declared martial law and threw Aquino into prison. A light bulb glared in his cell around the clock. When at last his frantic wife, Cory, found him, he was so thin he was holding up his undershorts with his hand.

NINOY tells the story of Aquino’s extraordinary transformation from brilliant politician of the Philippines to courageous martyr on the world stage in the tradition of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King.

During Aquino’s eight-year imprisonment at the hands of the Marcos regime, Aquino wrote, studied nonviolence, fasted 38 days and at one point ran for Congress from his cell, constantly inspiring the opposition. When he was taken before a military tribunal, he refused to dignify an unconstitutional proceeding by defending himself. He was condemned to death. Too renowned to execute, too powerful to simply release, Aquino was finally exiled to America for heart surgery.

Three years later, believing with Gandhi, “The willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful retort to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God or man,” on August 21, 1983 he returned to Manila.

In his dying moment, his bullet-ridden body fell on Philippine soil. His mother laid out his remains in the family living room. A trickle of mourners became a flood of two million people, followed by three years of massive protests that drove Marcos from the country. The Philippines became the template for the many countries that since have transitioned peacefully to electoral democracy.

The film is emotionally explosive and intellectually challenging. It was shot with two matched HD cameras in Manila, Seoul, Taipei, Honolulu, San Francisco, Boston, New York and Washington DC, by Tom Coffman, whose previous credits include “Nation Within” and “First Battle.”

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