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Special screenings of new John Sayles film to benefit typhoon relief efforts

Showings at the Abingdon Cinemall Wed. and Thurs. (Nov. 20 and 21) at 7:30 pm
Showings at the Abingdon Cinemall Wed. and Thurs. (Nov. 20 and 21) at 7:30 pm

Two showings of John Sayles’ new film Amigo will be presented this week as fundraisers for the typhoon relief effort in the Philippines. The showings, organized by the Abingdon Cinemall, the Barter Theatre, and the Arts Array of Virginia Highlands Community College, will be at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20 and Thursday, November 21. The price of admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students, with all of the proceeds going directly to typhoon relief.

Academy Award-nominated writer-director John Sayles new film Amigo is his 17th feature film and is set in the Philippines. It stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the murderous crossfire of the Philippine-American War.

When U.S. troops occupy his village, Rafael comes under pressure from a tough-as-nails officer (Chris Cooper) to help the Americans in their hunt for Filipino guerilla fighters.  But Rafael’s brother (Ronnie Lazaro) is the head of the local guerillas, and considers anyone who cooperates with the Americans to be a traitor.  Rafael quickly finds himself forced to make the impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by ordinary civilians in an occupied country.

The film is a powerful drama of friendship, betrayal, romance and heartbreaking violence. Amigo reflects the untold history of the Philippines, and is a mirror of today’s unresolvable conflicts. It is one of only a small handful of films directed by an American to address the war. The only other notable example is The Real Glory (1939), starring Gary Cooper.

John Sayles is allowing special screenings of Amigo around the United States because many of his Filipino crew members were affected by an earthquake a few weeks ago—and then lived in the path of the catastrophic typhoon, so the effort was created to use benefit screenings of the film to collect monetary donations for victims of the national disasters.

The work of John Sayles has been integral to the development of independent film in the United States. Beginning with his first feature, Return of the Secaucus 7, his movies have helped define the “other” that exists beyond Hollywood. Despite an unwillingness to tailor his subject matter and style to the dictates of the mainstream, he has managed to direct seventeen feature films, including Matewan, Sunshine State, and Honeydipper.

His novel A Moment in The Sun, set during the same period as Amigo, in the Philippines, Cuba, and the US, was released in 2011 by Dave Egger’s publishing house, McSweeney’s. Sayles was recently honored with the Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Writer’s Guild of America.

For more information on the screenings, contact the Abingdon Cinemall at 276-623-2121.

(From VHCC release)

*In order to receive Convocation credit, VI students must present ticket stub to Will Hankins.

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