Sundance documentary spotlights strength and endurance of Filipina mothers

by Jared Bray, ABS-CBN News

PARK CITY, Utah — A documentary spotlighting the strength and endurance of Filipina mothers is screening at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

 “Motherland” is about mothers — their struggles and strength, their humor and hopefulness.

 “They’re very impoverished, marginalized women. But they’re strong, funny, sexual-body, sassy women, and I’ll always remember them,” director Ramona Diaz said.

 The documentary takes place in the heart of Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Metro Manila, home to one of the busiest maternity wards in world.

 Day in, day out, the routines there repeat themselves: Pregnant women arrive. Mothers with babies leave.

 This so-called “baby factory” averages 60 births per day, and sometimes one every twelve minutes.

 “It’s a public hospital,” Diaz said, “and really the last resort for very impoverished women.”

 Diaz added that the inspiration for “Motherland” came in 2011 while investigating the Philippines’ heavily debated Reproductive Health Bill.

 “In the process of researching that bill and making a film about that, I discovered this hospital. And this hospital gave me everything I wanted, and I was really overwhelmed and amazed by the space,” she said.

 Diaz believes “Motherland” shows how important it is to implement the country’s Reproductive Health Law but says her ultimate goal with the film is:

 “To give you and show you an experience that you would otherwise not experience and people you would otherwise not meet, and hopefully feel a kinship toward the characters on the screen.”

 After “Motherland” makes its world premiere at Sundance, Diaz hopes to take her film to other parts of the world, including Europe and the Philippines.

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