MANILA, PHILIPPINES – For over 50 years, Imelda Marcos has been in the spotlight. She has long been seen as the person behind her husband Ferdinand’s rise to power as Philippine president and has been shown to be an even more ruthless politician than he ever was. To the world, the Marcoses ouster from power in 1986 saw the exposure of the thousands of shoes in her collection. Yet years after their exile, Imelda returned to the Philippines and her influence seems to not have waned.
Emmy Award-winning director Lauren Greenfield now presents Imelda in the Showtime documentary The Kingmaker. A fascinating treatise into the mind of one of the most complex yet shrewd people in the world. Greenfield was given unprecedented access, with interviews with Imelda herself as well as her son Bongbong. Also featured are Philippine Vice-President Leni Robredo, former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, party list representative Etta Rosales, and more.
At 90-years-old, Imelda Marcos remains a mercurial figure whose statements either show a genuine desire to mother everyone or are masking the deluded fantasies of a cold-blooded murderer. The stark contrast between her extravagant clothes, jewelry, and art collection with the poor and indigent masses littering the streets of the Philippines paints an image of an ambivalent monster.
Still not convicted for decades of plunder, it has long been suspected that she funded the election of current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in hopes of getting Bongbong the vice-presidency. That would, in turn, catapult the entire Marcos family back into power.
Greenfield won several accolades for her documentary films such as 2012’s Generation Wealth and 2018’s The Queen of Versailles. In between those, Greenfield directed the critically-acclaimed commercial for Always/Leo Burnett in 2014 called #likeagirl. That campaign won at the CLIO Awards, ADC Awards, Webby Awards, LIA Awards, and honors at the One Show for Creativity. At the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, #likeagirl won the Titanium Award, the Grand Prix, and the Glass Lion. The following year, #likeaiglr won the 2015 Emmy Award for Best TV Commercial.
Under Greenfield’s watchful eye, The Kingmaker presents a picture of a nonagenarian whose obsession with beautifying the Philippines and amassing massive wealth often came at a steep price. It also serves as a wake-up call for the Filipino people as well as for the rest of the world on the perils of forgetting crimes past causing unforgivable mistakes to be repeated again and again.