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Selected Project keyboard_arrow_right Married to the Underground / Ka Arman
Grace Simbulan
Director
Johnny Bassett
Producer
Production Status
Start Production
Date of Completion
December 2021
Length
30
Participating Lab
Story Development Lab
Logline
After discovering her father's secret memoirs, the daughter of a former underground guerrilla investigates his hidden life while her mother rises in protest against a new dictator.
Production Company
Aman Sinaya Films
Married to the Underground / Ka Arman
The film begins with the director's memory of her father -- late at night, illuminated by the light of his computer screen, typing. The director, Grace, knew little about her father's past. She'd heard whispers about his life as a rebel, his time in prison, and his return to the civilian world, but nothing more. By the time Grace was a teenager, he had withdrawn into his memoirs, which he never shared.

The film jumps to 2016. While studying overseas, Grace receives news that her father has suddenly died. Grace rushes home. A few weeks later, Grace and her family finally open the computer and find her father's secret memoirs -- dozens of documents, photos, and essays documenting his career in the underground. Grace and her siblings are surprised to learn that he was no ordinary rebel. He was the head of the communists' feared Intelligence and Special Operations units. The documentation they find is extensive and detailed. Grace's mother had known all along, Grace finds out, but had never told his secret.

As Grace pieces together her father's life, her camera gradually focuses on her mother, the woman who kept the secret, raised the kids, and despite all that was an activist herself. After many decades of work, she is now one of the most prominent human rights defenders in the Philippines, and now, four years after her husband's death, she faces the threat of a new dictator. Ultimately, this is the story of Grace's mother, who has endured.