Call Her Ganda
Documentary, 1 h 33 min
How One Life Galvanized a Nation
A powerful, moving insight of a mother’s, friend’s and nations loss
Call Her Ganda is a documentary by PJ Raval about Jennifer Laude, a Filipino transwoman who is found brutally murdered in a hotel. The murderer is a US Marine and the aim for Jennifer’s mother, friends and nation is that the man responsible for this brutal and savage murder is convicted and tried on Filipino soil, the only problem is American laws could set him free.
PJ Raval is a cinematographer and director best known for Call Her Ganda (2018), Before You Know It (2013) and Trouble the Water (2008). PJ is the Director, Producer and screenwriter for Call Her Ganda. With help from Naomi Fontanos, a trans activist; Virginia Lacsa Suarez, an activist attorney; and Julita Laude, Jennifer’s mother. We see Meredith Talusan a Filipino American Journalist, who is also a trans woman, becoming committed in making sure the world knows of this horrific murder. Suarez an attorney who leads the Laude’s legal team is not able to fight this case as a typical murder trial, not just because of the international attention this trial has received, but because the murderer, a 19 year old marine called Steve Pemberton, as an American soldier creates jurisdictional issues in a country that had declared its independence as a republic in 1946, but Is still heavily affected by the Visiting Forces Agreement.
There are graphic scenes where photos of the crime scene are shown of Jennifer’s brutally murdered body and heart wrenching images of Julita uncontrollably beside herself at the sight of her daughter’s coffin. This film will leave you heart broken for the family and friends of Jennifer for their loss and angry at the thought that potentially the murderer could be released with only a pardon to his name. Ganda means beautiful in Tagalog and this is just what this film is. Call Her Ganda is beautiful.
If you were passionate about this film you would be interested to watch Southwest of Salem: A Story of the San Antonio Four, which was screened at BFI Flare 2017.