Indie filmmaker eyes film based on Alex Tizon’s ‘My Family’s Slave’

June 12, 2017 - 3:05 PM
Filmmaker Ralston Jover speaks during a video interview at last year's Moscow International Film Festival. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Early last month, American magazine The Atlantic published “My Family’s Slave,” an article by Pulitzer-winning Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon that told the apparently true story of his family’s elderly househelp who turned out to be a modern day slave.

According to Tizon’s article, Eudocia Tomas Pulido or “Lola” as she was fondly referred to in the family household, was a distant cousin who at the age of 18 was “given” by his grandfather to his then 12-year old mother. She then spent the next 56 years as a “slave” of the family and helped raise three generations of the Tizon clan.

Lola’s story drew strong reactions on social media where it was heavily debated as numerous articles that reacted to the piece were published in its wake.

One of those touched by Lola’s story was award-winning independent filmmaker Ralston Jover who immediately shared the link of the articles and related stories on his Facebook page.

“Fil-Am & Pulitzer prize winner Alex Tizon’s epic family drama about Filipinos’ brand of domestic slavery, stirs the heart in a string of emotional turmoil. #bestread #heartbreaking,” Jover posted last May 17.

Following his posts, Jover said a high school classmate whom he did not identify promptly got in touch with him with a proposal for a movie adaptation of the controversial article.

“My classmate told me he had producers for the project. But a few days later he got killed in a murder incident in Pasay City after he got involved in the conflict between leaders and members of the Iglesia ni Cristo,” the filmmaker recalled in an interview with InterAksyon.

Jover’s classmate had no connections with the Tizon family but he was so hooked by the article that it might have been possible to take what was just a mere “plan” to the next level if it wasn’t for the former’s untimely demise.

But even though the proposed movie project on Tizon’s story was nipped in the bud, Jover himself felt a strong affinity with Lola.

“I just remembered our own maid who has been staying with us for more than 35 years already. She is still with my dad, as his caregiver,” Jover shared.

Based on his body of work, Jover whose films have won numerous awards in several international film festivals, would be up to the task of adapting “My Family’s Slave” for the big screen.

A good number of his films — from Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Kubrador” and Adolfo Alix, Jr’s “Mrs.”, both of which he co-wrote, to his own “Bendor” “Da Dog Show” and “Hiblang Abo” — are in fact known for their compelling elderly characters.

While Jover admits that he still has not come up with a script or even an outline of how he would interpret Tizon’s essay, he believes that “My Family’s Slave” would be a good material for Superstar Nora Aunor.