Unrest, An AFI Thesis Film

Unrest is a short thesis film made by a group of graduate student filmmakers pursuing their Master of Fine Arts degree from the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles. It is a coming of age family drama that follows a 10 year old girl’s experience amidst a chaotic revolution in the streets of the Philippines, shaking up not only the nation but also her own family.

It is important for everyone to spread the word on this film. Also, August is an important month, which includes Ninoy Aquino day. August 21st was the death anniversary of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who was instrumental in the People Power Revolution and the election of his wife Cory Aquino as the first female president in Asia. This time in Philippine history is one that future generations need to learn and it’s great that American filmmakers are investing their time on a story centered around Filipinos. The film’s core themes of family, love, and sacrifice will be identifiable to viewers not just from the Philippines where the story is set, but also to the rest of the world.

Unrest Film Synopsis
In 1986 Manila, the Philippine Revolution is raging, and the citizens are forced tochoose sides amidst the chaos. Nine-year-old Minnie (Pia Portiz) is the daughter of servantparents who support the revolution but work for a wealthy loyalist of the tyrantregime. Tensions are rising in the city, and it has become too dangerous toremain in Manila. Minnie’s mother, Rosa (Myra Cris Ocenar), works as a maid for Tessa (Giselle Tongi), the wealthy loyalist, and has made arrangements for the family to flee the country with herthe next day. However, Minnie’s father, Tomas, carries out clandestine missionsfor the revolution from the family’s servant quarters. When Tessa’s military ally,Colonel Canencia, visits the house to deliver the passports for their departure,Minnie inadvertently disrupts the delicate balance that precariously hangs aroundher by exposing a deadly secret. This sets off a chain of events that destroys thefamily’s plans for escape, and forces Rosa to make the ultimate sacrifice for herfamily. Minnie’s life is changed forever, as she becomes one of the many victims of Unrest.

Unrest has already won numerous awards including BAFTA/LA Student Film Awards and the Jury Award Stony Brook Film Festival 2010.

For more info on the film, please visit unrest unrest-movie.com, where you can also preview the trailer.

(Salamat, Eric)


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  • Wow, this film looks great. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with several AFI alums, and they consistently do great work. I look forward to checking this out.

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