Showtime's Imelda Marcos Doc Set for Venice Film Festival Premiere

'Imelda' Imelda Marcos - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Showtime

Sundance-winner Lauren Greenfield's film 'The Kingmaker' looks into the controversial life of the former First Lady of the Philippines.

Corruption, extravagance — and maybe even those famous 3,000 pairs of shoes — will come under the spotlight when a documentary about Imelda Marcos, the Philippines’ controversial former first lady, makes its world premiere at this month’s Venice Film Festival.

The Kingmaker, helmed and written by Sundance winner Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles) and produced by Showtime Documentary Films, looks at the “indomitable character and controversial political career” of Marcos through “unprecedented access, including one-on-one interviews and verite footage,” according to the filmmakers.

The now-90-year-old Marcos is widely acknowledged to have been a driving force behind the 21-year reign of her husband, Ferdinand, who died at age 72 in 1989, having fled to Hawaii.

While digging into the Marcos family’s storied history of corruption, the filmmakers say The Kingmaker also focuses on Marcos’ current campaign to guide her 61-year-old son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the Philippines’ vice presidency.

Marcos’ own political career only came to an end in November last year when she was convicted on graft and corruption charges and so banned from taking office. She has appealed against the convictions and is currently out on bail.

“The story of Imelda Marcos, past and present, has achieved an exceptional level of relevance in The Kingmaker,” Vinnie Malhotra, executive vp nonfiction programming, Showtime Networks Inc., said in a statement released Wednesday.

He added: “Lauren Greenfield’s tireless efforts give dimension to a figure who has at once fascinated and vexed not only the people of the Philippines, but people worldwide. The result is as riveting as it is enlightening.”

The Kingmaker has been produced for Showtime by Frank Evers of Evergreen Pictures. After a yet-to-be-decided premiere date at Venice, which runs Aug. 28-Sept. 7, an additional festival rollout is expected in the upcoming months, and a theatrical release expected this fall with a world television premiere on Showtime set for early 2020.

Marcos has remained a fascination in the Philippines since her husband’s fall from grace in 1986, and has previously been the focus of Ramona S. Diaz’s Sundance winner Imelda (2003), which the former first lady had banned in her homeland before it went on to become a box office hit.