S Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons
Full Frame 2016
Frameline, LA Asian Pacific, Sheffield DocFest, Inside Out, UN Assoc, NewFest, Hawaii, MIX Brasil, BFI Flare, Cleveland
An LGBT political party attempts to elect openly queer candidates in a primarily Catholic country.
Bemz Benedito heads up Ladlad, the world’s only LGBT political party, based in the Catholic nation of the Philippines, where, despite religiously-motivated bias, LGBT individuals nevertheless make up a visible minority. Benedito, a trans woman, together with two other Ladlad candidates, aims to push this visibility further by running for Congress. With limited resources, they place their hope in a grassroots campaign to mobilize working-class trans beauty salon workers to support their cause, even as a despicable hate monger evangelical pastor stands against them, offensively naming his own group AIDS. Chiang and Symons have located memorable subjects and show a welcome attention to issues of class that are typically ignored, in a well-produced project that otherwise sticks a bit too close to election countdown conventions to generate real surprises.