New York, September 26, 2012 - (Press Release) GIVE UP TOMORROW, a multi award-winning documentary directed by Michael Collins and produced by Marty Syjuco, makes its U.S. television debut on "POV" on PBS tonight, October 4 (check your local listings for the schedule).
GIVE UP TOMORROW tells the story of Paco Larrañaga and his harrowing journey through the Philippine justice system.
Larrañaga's story reads as if it were ripped out of the pages of a suspense novel: As a tropical storm beats down on an island in the Philippines, two sisters, Marijoy, 21, and Jacqueline Chong, 23, leave work and never make it home. A 19-year-old culinary student, 300 miles away in Manila, is sentenced to death for their rape and murder, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.
Larrañaga's ordeal exposes shocking corruption within the judicial system and long-simmering class and racial antipathies among the population. Two grieving mothers, entangled in a case that ends a nation's use of capital punishment but fails to free an innocent man, dedicate more than a decade to executing or saving him.
GIVE UP TOMORROW is not your usual suspense story of a man wrongly accused, and Larrañaga is not your usual hero. But his very lack of facile appeal challenges his society and filmgoers to rely on facts over impressions, evidence over prejudice.
Amnesty International, the government of Spain, Fair Trials International, and the United Nations are unequivocal in the belief that for more than a decade, Larrañaga has been paying with his freedom for a crime he did not commit.
"Marty Syjuco and I had been friends for a few years when his older brother, who is Paco's brother-in-law, asked for our help," says director Michael Collins. "I had heard that Paco was accused of murdering two women, but until his death sentence everyone in the family was embarrassed to talk about it and was 100 percent sure that the Supreme Court of the Philippines would overturn the verdict."
"I retained some skepticism-until I read the letter from the 35 'unheard witnesses,' which brought me to tears. Paco was my age, and over the years, while I had thrived, he had waited, unjustly condemned to execution, in a horrific gang-run prison," he adds.
GIVE UP TOMORROW is a co-production of Thoughtful Robot, ITVS, the Center for Asian American Media and POV's Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in association with the BBC. It is a co-presentation with CAAM.
Photo by Thoughtful Robot
Oliver is completing his M.S. degree in public relations and corporate communication at New York University while squeezing in some time to edit, write, and take photographs for the theater news website BroadwayWorld.com -- his beat mostly covers Broadway shows, especially those that feature Filipino-American artists, and theater goings-on back in his home country, the Philippines.|
Oliver also handles public relations and corporate communication for numerous brands (including Pepsi), Broadway shows, Broadway stars, non-profit organizations, and mainstream celebrities; and teaches public relations at De La Salle University in Manila.
Special thanks to Oliver's amazing team in the Philippines: Jeffrey Aguiman, Dale Bacar, Jude Cartalaba, Precious Lee Cundangan, Jory Rivera, and JR Sala.
Follow Oliver on Twitter: @OliverOliveros