Synopsis by Ryan Shriver
While in Manila in 1997 to research her Filipino genealogy, Filipino-American college professor Camilla Benolirao Griggers discovered that the Philippines and its inhabitants at the end of the 19th century were subjected to extraordinary acts of military aggression and barbarism at the hands of the United States, which history later recognized as the Philippine-American War. Astounded, Griggers and Filipino avant-garde filmmaker Sari Lluch Dalena co-directed and co-produced the 2001 historical documentary Memories of a Forgotten War as a means to provide greater exposure to a misunderstood and relatively obscure event in world history. Beginning with her discoveries about her American G.I. grandfather's abandonment of her Filipino grandmother -- and her mother, then a child -- at the end of the Philippine-American War, Griggers compares this interpersonal betrayal with the larger context of the betrayal that the citizenry of the Philippines endured when the island nation was sold from the Spanish government to the United States. Upon learning of the transaction, Filipinos -- who were led to believe their nation would finally be independent -- started a revolt that would be bloodily quashed by U.S. military intervention. Due to some unbelievably successful propagandistic efforts on behalf of the United States, the truth about the events of the war were mostly forgotten by citizens of both nations. Griggers and Dalena include historically produced reenactments -- some produced by Thomas Edison, a vocal supporter of United States' actions -- as well as some the co-directors produced as counterpoint. Memories of a Forgotten War was a selection to a number of film festivals throughout 2002, including New York Asian American Film Festival and the Hawaii International Film Festival.