AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH SELECTED FOR NATIONAL PRIMETIME BROADCAST ON PBS
HONOLULU/WASHINGTON D.C. – The filmmakers of the award-winning documentary, AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH, which tells the story of the U.S. Army’s 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, have just received word that PBS has accepted the film for its national primetime schedule.
PBS has scheduled the documentary to air on Memorial Day, May 30, 2005 at 10:00 PM following a repeat broadcast of the American Experience program “Bataan Rescue.” AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH includes a retelling of the Bataan Death March from the Filipino soldier’s perspective.
Major funding for AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH was provided by the National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA). NAATA is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and presents stories that convey the richness and diversity of the Asian Pacific American experience.
Getting on the national schedule in prime time is almost next to impossible, according to the film’s director Noel Izon of Washington D.C. “Unless you have a great series, or your last name happens to be Burns or your program was produced by one of the major PBS stations, getting an independent documentary without those types of credentials into the system is truly a miracle. And I think that’s what happened.
“We have a lot of guys pulling for us up there. People are looking out for us. God is looking out for us. We have much to be thankful for and we give thanks!” said Izon, whose production credits with PBS go back more than 30 years.
The film was co-written by Izon and Hawaii filmmaker Stephanie J. Castillo. Castillo also served as an associate producer on the project along with associate writer/humanities scholar Linda Revilla of Sacramento, California and project director Domingo Los Banos of Pearl City. Veteran Simeon Amor of Honolulu was the project’s regiment historian. The film’s director of photography was Academy Award-winning cinematographer Chris Li of Washington D.C. It will be presented on PBS by NAATA.
AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH illuminates the most important period in the history of Filipinos in America when more than 7,000 immigrants and sons of immigrants rallied and joined the fight for freedom after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the immediate invasion of the Philippines by Japanese military forces. Most were trained as infantry troops in California; a select group was handpicked and given specialized training in Australia for reconnaissance and espionage. Together, they were General MacArthur’s “secret weapon”, an indispensable asset of Filipino soldiers and commandos to help him make good on his promise to return to the Philippines and rid it of the Japanese occupiers.
For Los Banos, who was the project’s chief fundraiser, this is a dream come true. He and the team struggled for eight years to get this film made. Los Banos was part of the 1st Regiment and part of a cadre of 50 “Hawaii boys” who helped do the dirty work of “mopping up” the Japanese soldiers holding out in the mountains of Samar and Leyte.
“We are delighted with this news, because we wanted to produce a product worthy of public television. We are deeply grateful for the many organizations, institutions and individuals who through the eight years supported us with their donations, making it possible to complete this documentary,” said Los Banos. Most of the $500,000 raised to make the film came from Hawaii.
“And I would like to pay special tribute to the production team for their excellent efforts. This is a fitting tribute to each of the members of the 1st and 2nd regiments and their families, especially to those men who made the supreme sacrifice in the Philippine campaign,” he said.
Finishing the film also honors the memory of director Izon’s father who on his deathbed made his son promise to finish the film. Esmeraldo Izon was a member of the Philippine guerillas officially recognized by the U.S. armed forces and served as a member of the Philippine underground press during the war.
The film is narrated by actor Lou Diamond Phillips. Being half Filipino, Phillips saw this film as his story as well and has expressed his willingness to support the film’s broadcast premiere.
“It took a team of committed Filipino American filmmakers to care enough to persevere and finish this film,” says Castillo. “With it, we hope that all Americans will feel a pride in our Filipino American soldiers who are indeed among what has been called ‘the greatest generation’.”
PBS will broadcast a one-hour version of the film. The Director’s cut along with an extended DVD version will be available later in the year.
Castillo will join Izon in planning for the PBS broadcast. “On one evening in late May, AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH will enter the living rooms of America and present the heroism and sacrifices of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments. What a great day that will be!” says Izon.
“Now, our next job will be to get the word out. Mobilize the Filipino community. Have a mini-premiere where ever there are at least three Filipinos!” he said.
Izon’s director’s cut had its world premiere on November 4, 2002 at the Hawaii International Film Festival where it won the “BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO Audience Award for Best Documentary.”
It has gone on to win many other awards and recognition, including a Silver Telly, An Omni Award, A Pamana Legacy Award and an Accolade Award. It was shown to an overflow crowd at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC in January 2003 and went on to show in dozens of cities and at film festivals across the country. It was nominated for Best Documentary at the Dallas Asian Film Festival and was an Official Selection of the San Francisco and the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festivals. It was the Closing Night film for the Rhode Island Film Festival.
Upcoming screenings in the next few month are scheduled for Las Vegas, New Jersey, Philadelphia and on May 1st at the US-Asean Film and Photography Festival where it is one of three nominated documentaries.
Kapisanang Mandirigma met Mr. Domingo Los Banos for the first time in Summer 2002 at the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) 9th Biennial National Conference that was held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where we were both featured speakers. Almost one year later following that meeting, we met Mr. Noel “Sonny” Izon for the first time at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood during the 19th Annual Visual Communications Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film & Video Festival where Guro Arnold, Guro Dino, Guro Mar all got their films screened at the festival. A little over one year later following that meeting, Guro Arnold re-met Mr. Noel “Sonny” Izon at the University of St. Louis-Missouri at the FANHS 10th Biennial National Conference where they were both featured speakers. Congratulations to the UNTOLD TRIUMPH Project Team on how far they’ve been able to take this film.
Tuesday, March 1st, 2005
AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH
The Story of the U.S. Army’s 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2005
CONTACTS:The UNTOLD TRIUMPH Project Team
Noel Izon, Director/Executive Producer
Tel (301) 864-6663
Stephanie Castillo, Associate Producer/Lead Writer
Tel (808) 735-0477
Cell (808) 383-7393
Domingo Los Banos, Associate Producer/Project Advisor
Tel (808) 456-2329
Linda Revilla, Associate Producer/Associate Writer/Humanities Scholar
Tel (916) 393-2535