What’s in a name? Unitel, distributor of docu “Imelda,” about the Philippines’ former first lady Imelda Marcos, is in a quandary.
On Monday, hours before the Manila Supreme Court ruled that Unitel can release the doc in the Philippines, Marcos claimed she had withdrawn her opposition to it because U.S. helmer Ramona Diaz and Unitel had agreed not to label the pic a documentary.
Unitel denies this.
“Imelda’s reps called me at 3 a.m. to ask if I would agree; I told them I would relay their request to Unitel,” said Baltimore-based Diaz. “I never agreed to such a request,” she added.
Film’s July 7 opening in the Philippines was delayed after Marcos won a temporary restraining order last month. Unitel has rescheduled its debut to July 21 on 15 screens, a high screen count for a doc.
Unitel has distributed “Imelda” in the U.S. and other countries. Pic has grossed $96,000 in the U.S., where it continues to play in New York and San Francisco.
It opens in Washington, D.C., on Friday and in Los Angeles in late July. Pic won a cinematography award at Sundance this year.
“Maybe we’ll just label it a nonfiction film,” said Vincent Nebrida, Unitel’s New York-based VP of marketing and acquisitions.
Pic traces Marcos’ colorful rise to power with her husband, the late Ferdinand Marcos, who was toppled by a popular uprising in 1986. Marcos’ ostentatious lifestyle and massive shoe collection has made her the world’s most renowned Filipina.