November 7, 2017, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Outside the Box [Office], USC Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS), USC Asian Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC), and FilmRise, invite you and a guest to a special screening of


Written and Directed by Ramona S. Diaz
Produced by Ramona S. Diaz and Rey Cuerdo

Followed by a Q&A with Ramona S. Diaz
Moderated by Dr. Michael Renov, SCA Vice Dean of Academic Affairs

7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


Winner: Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision - Sundance Film Festival 2017; Viktor Award, DOK.horizons - Munich International Documentary Festival 2017.

Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival 2017; San Francisco International Film Festival 2017; DocAviv Film Festival 2017.

About Motherland

Motherland takes us into the heart of the planet’s busiest maternity hospital in one of the world’s poorest and most populous countries: the Philippines. The film’s viewer, like an unseen outsider dropped unobtrusively into the hospital’s stream of activity, passes through hallways, enters rooms and listens in on conversations. At first, the surrounding people are strangers. But as the film continues, it's absorbingly intimate, rendering the women at the heart of the story increasingly familiar. Three women—Lea, Aira and Lerma—emerge to share their stories with other mothers, their families, doctors and social workers. While each of them faces daunting odds at home, their optimism, honesty and humor suggest a strength that they will certainly have to summon in the years ahead.

Provided courtesy of FilmRise. Not rated. Running time: 94 minutes.

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About the Guests

RAMONA S. DIAZ (Director, Producer, Writer, Co-Editor)

Ramona Diaz is an award-winning Asian-American filmmaker best known for her compelling character-driven documentaries that combine a profound appreciation for cinematic aesthetics and potent storytelling. Her films, which include Spirits Rising, Imelda, The Learning, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey and Motherland, have demonstrated her ability to gain intimate access to the people she films—be they rock stars, first ladies, dissidents, teachers, or mothers—resulting in keenly observed moments and nuanced narratives that are unforgettable. While her stories focus on the Filipino and Filipino-American experience, Ramona’s films transcend their specificity and are universal in spirit.

Her films have been broadcast on POV and Independent Lens and have screened and won awards at Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, Silverdocs, IDFA, and many other top film festivals. She has received funding from ITVS, CAAM, Sundance Documentary Fund, MacArthur Foundation, Tribeca Institute, Catapult Film Fund, and Chicken & Egg. Ramona has also served on numerous film festival juries and funding panels. Recently she was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Ramona has been a film envoy for the American Film Showcase, a joint program of the U.S. Department of State and USC that brings American films to audiences worldwide. She has conducted master classes and production and post-production workshops all over the world, including in Iraq, Laos, Morocco, Qatar, Zimbabwe, Brazil, and throughout the United States.

DR. MICHAEL RENOV (SCA Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, Haskell Wexler Endowed Chair in Documentary, Moderator)

Michael Renov, professor of Critical Studies and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, is the author of Hollywood's Wartime Woman: Representation and Ideology and The Subject of Documentary, editor of Theorizing Documentary, and co-editor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, Collecting Visible EvidenceThe SAGE Handbook of Film Studies and Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs.

In 1993, Renov co-founded Visible Evidence, a series of international and highly interdisciplinary documentary studies conferences that have, to date, been held on five continents. He is one of three general editors for the Visible Evidence book series at the University of Minnesota Press, which has published 27 volumes on various aspects of nonfiction media since 1997. In 2005, he co-programmed the 51st annual Robert Flaherty Seminar, a week-long gathering of documentary filmmakers, curators, and educators, creating 20 screening programs and filmmaker dialogues on the theme "Cinema and History."

In addition to curating documentary programs around the world, he has served as a jury member at documentary festivals including Sundance, Silverdocs, the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival, Brazil's It's All True, the International Environmental Festival of Film and Video, also in Brazil, and DocLisboa in Portugal. He has taught graduate seminars at the University of Stockholm, Tel Aviv University and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and has led documentary workshops in Jordan for the Royal Film Commission and in Cyprus. Renov's teaching and research interests include documentary theory, autobiography in film and video, video art and activism, and representations of the Holocaust.

Director's Statement

I started developing a film about reproductive rights and reproductive justice back in 2011. Initially I had wanted to follow the social and political drama swirling around the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. As originally conceived, the film was going to follow the bill as it went through the legislative process. While researching the film, I visited the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, the busiest maternity ward on the planet; it averages 60 births a day—and at its peak, as many as 100 babies within a 24-hour period. Fabella is the final safety net for very poor pregnant women, most of whom cannot afford either contraception or the $60 delivery fee. The images I saw at the hospital - the nurses who did their best to tame the noisy chaos of Emergency Room arrivals, the crowded corridors, the premature births and cramped recovery rooms with double occupancy of single beds – gripped me and wouldn’t let go. It was soon evident that the story I was looking for, a story about reproductive justice and maternal and women’s rights, unfolded within the hospital walls.

As I shifted the gaze of my camera, I also decided on an exclusively cinéma vérité approach to capture the daily rhythms of the hospital. Day in, day out, the routines at Fabella repeat themselves. Pregnant women arrive, mothers with babies leave. Outside on the street, visitors line up. Inside the ward, pregnant women, fanning themselves because there is no air-conditioning, await the signs of labor that will advance them to the delivery room and eventually the delivery staff’s cry: “Baby out!” As in most immersive experiences, once the routine washes over you, the real story emerges. And the story I found was one of community and humor. The women talk unabashedly with each other about sex. A nurse counsels them on hygiene, speaking into a microphone like a stand-up comic, teasingly instructs them to bathe hidden body parts so their husbands and boyfriends will still want to have sex with them—and not chase after other women. They shared not only stories but also their bodies, literally – breastfeeding other women’s babies is not an uncommon sight. The narrative that emerges is a tableau of not only poverty, but also of warmth, generosity and fortitude. The fleeting but profound relationships forged on those cramped beds are the emotional bedrock of the film.

The story that unfolds in Motherland, while taking place in the Philippines, is universal. The wondrous mystery of motherhood is apparent in every frame of the film, in the sweat and screams of a first-time mother in labor, in the peace of her newborn being placed at her swollen breast, in the awkward laughter as she flounders to diaper her squirming baby. The joy in Fabella is no different from the joys experienced by mothers worldwide. However, because this takes place in the Philippines, this film invites audiences to witness analogous situations from the starkly different perspective of a poor, densely populated, Catholic country.

-- Ramona S. Diaz

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.

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About Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS)

Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS) is a department within the Division of Student Affairs that seeks to educate, engage, and empower the Asian Pacific American community & the USC Trojan Family through active participation, dialogue, and community-building. APASS advocates for all members of the Asian Pacific American community.


Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Ave. We recommend Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago