TS
Botkin

Writer / Director

This story came to me after a death in my family lead to the discovery of a crate of paintings stored in a basement. It took about two years of research before I met Maj.Gen Taguba and FilVetRep.org. Then, a picture of the abuse of Imperialist America and its colonial hold over the Philippines came into view. 

When beginning this project, I was acutely aware of the color of my skin. Though knowledge of part of my heritage means I am aware of the similarities of the story, I am not Filipino. I spoke frankly with representatives from FilVetRep on my suitability to co-advocate and the response was, this is an American issue, and Filipino Americans have advocated alone for a long time without the US accepting responsibility for its actions. Without this acknowledgement from the government, the problem cannot be solved.

 

Bridging the gulf of understanding that exists between POVs has been interesting as I am both the perpetrator and the victim. I understand the arguments that resist accountability and I understand the existential wounding of the aggrieved. Partnered with Amanda Upson and Benito Bautista, we began to build a creative collaboration including Filipino representation at all levels, as well as women, BIPOC, disabled, and veterans. We have remained in close contact with FilVetRep and a dozen more allied AAPI, veteran, and legal organizations to update them on our progress and check in with what is happening across the community. Together, we have demonstrated the patience and dedication in the face of underfunding, in the face of our subjects dying, in the face of a pandemic, and even in the face grave of illness. We continue to stand in solidarity with our veterans, living and dead, to amplify their voices to a broad audience. We are still here, doing the work every day until our collective work is done.

 

And for me personally, this is ancestral work, a mandate. It shall be done.

BIO: Ms. Botkin, has been producing for seven years including the award-winning documentaries Her Turf (2018) and Mary Janes: The Women of Weed (2017). Her directorial debut is the documentary A Long March (2021) which she created with a diverse crew under the guidance of the Filipino community. A member of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, Botkin’s indigenous writing has garnered recognition as a second-round selection at the Austin Film Festival (2016) and quarterfinalist at Atlanta Film Festival (2018). She is a staunch supporter of diverse voices and Women in Film. 

Photo: TS Botkin
Nominated - Best First Time Director - GI Film Festival San Diego.png

The Producers

AMANDA UPSON

Ms. Upson is a successful deaf attorney turned film producer. Amanda focuses on advocacy of the underrepresented in front of and behind the camera and is a change agent for accessibility. Her first film, Magnum Opus, garnered wide distribution in 2018. Named one of FORBES 40 to Watch Over 40, she is admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court. In her spare time, serves as a mentor to students of University of Virginia.

 

 

BENITO BAUTISTA

Mr. Bautista is an internationally distributed award-winning Filipino filmmaker whose passion is to tell underrepresented global stories. His feature film Gift of Barong is part of Stanford’s Program for International and Cross-Cultural Education, and HARANA has broadcast twice on PBS nationwide. His latest narrative release, The Interpreter, is currently available on Amazon Prime. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of San Diego Filipino Cinema.

Amanda Upson, Producer (smiling middle-aged white woman with really great long sandy-blonde hair)
Benito Bautista, Producer (middle-aged Fil-Am man with ball cap, glasses, and stylin' goatee)

On &
Off Screen

Featured On Screen

Celestino G Almeda

Luciano Amutan

Marie C Blanco

Diwa A Carabio

Frank Catalo

Frank J Francone

Victor Fulford

Jon Melegrito

Rodolfo C Panaglima

Joy V Romero Meyers

Jackie Speier

Antonio M Taguba

Seth A Watkins

Colleen Woods

Cinematographer Mara Benitez chats with Celestino Almeda in his livingroom
TS Botkin interviews CW Jackie Speier (camera in foreground with govt. flags in the background.)
Composer Michael Dadap is aided by engineer Glen Matisoff during scoring session (Dadap is holding a classical guitar while Matisoff adjusts the mic).

Off Screen Talent

Tamara Benitez, cinematographer

Michael Dadap, composer

Nonie Cruzado, illustrator

Gregg Stouffer, editor

Noel M Izon, co-producer

Paul Tanedo, co-producer

Mass FX Media, motion graphics & visual effects

Justin Besana, key art

V Tran, colorist

Glen Matisoff, sound design

full credit list here

Team photo op at Oct 2021 work-in-progress screening (producers and talent)
Cinematographer Tamara Benitez sits with gear on floor, fitting a lens to camera body.