What: Lolo, a documentary film by Ronald J. Lagman
Where: Evergreen State College – Tacoma campus. 1210 Sixth Avenue, Rm. 218
When: Saturday, December 29 at 1 pm
This Saturday, at the Tacoma campus of Evergreen State College, filmmaker Ronald J. Lagman will screen his short documentary film, Lolo, about the heroic and forgotten Filipino-American soldiers who fought World War II in the Pacific. This event is free and open to the public.
Lagman immigrated to the US from the Philippines in 1997, at age 27. “When I was in film school at Seattle Central Community College’s film and video program, in 2003, I stumbled upon a news article about WWII Filipino-American soldiers who had served under General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific when the Philippines was a commonwealth, much like Guam and Puerto Rico.”
He discovered that after fighting in the war, “the US government took away the soldiers’ military benefits. I was shocked and deeply bothered.” Lagman was disturbed not only because this chapter of American history wasn’t widely known, but because he had “enlisted in the US Air Force and [was] just waiting to graduate to leave for basic training. I thought to myself, ‘If they can do this to them, what’s stopping the government from doing this to me someday – cut my military benefits when I’m close to retirement…
“I don’t recall having immediate family members that fought in the war; however, my great-grandmother (when she was still living) shared with me personal family stories of the short Japanese occupation of Manila.”
Lagman started stitching together the stories of five Filipino veterans in 2003-2004. He filmed his 22-minute narrative documentary entirely at the International Drop-In Center in Seattle, a non-profit center that assists the elderly. He also located historical footage through the National Archives. The Tacoma filmmaker hopes to distribute Lolo “to WWII Filipino-American groups in the US so that they can use it for educational purposes….
“Many years from now, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars will be forgotten,” he warns, and the men and women who fought it may be lost to history also. “We as a nation, as a people, should not let this grave injustice happen to our heroes.”
This project was funded in part by the Tacoma Arts Commission’s Tacoma Artists Initiative Program.