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Filipina director films adventures of RP teachers in US

MANILA, Philippines--Sleep-deprived, Filipino-American filmmaker Ramona Diaz’s mind was swirling with all sorts of “compelling” images: African-American girls dancing and chanting “Pen-pen de Sarapen.” An American school principal and janitress swaying to “Pinoy Ako [I'm Filipino],” the theme of the ABS-CBN reality show “Pinoy Big Brother.” And her film’s Caucasian cinematographer insisting on changing his citizenship to Filipino.

Diaz, whose 2004 documentary “Imelda” won Best Cinematography in the Sundance Film Festival, was in the country for almost a month, to shoot scenes for her latest documentary “The Learning.”

It was a whirlwind trip not only for the teachers, but for Diaz and her ragtag crew as well.

Although Diaz was the first to admit that the documentary was a challenging shoot, she would gladly relive the process of telling these teachers’ stories all over again.

“In a way, it’s an homage to the teaching profession,” she explained. “This docu is a snapshot of our time. The theme is very universal. Filipinos are not the only ones flocking to the US, thinking it’s a land of milk and honey … only to discover it’s not always milk and honey.” Inquirer


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