Curiosity, Adventure & Love weaves together 3 threads — the life of a 102-year-old American who journeys to the Philippines alone in the 1930s at age 18, the history of the country that she has witnessed and the insights and wisdom of a woman whose indomitable spirit has evoked inspiration for the thousands who have known her.
Sitting alone in her 250-year old Spanish colonial home, Jessie Lichauco’s poetic soul draws comfort from the ebb and flow of the river outside her window and protection from an ancient banyan tree while sharing stories with others of a life guided by fate, and where her innate sense of adventure, curiosity and compassion for others knows no boundaries.
Jessie’s husband Marcial Lichauco, whom she met while he was working for the Philippine colonial government lobbying for independence in Washington DC, was among the country’s most prominent lawyers of that era and this allowed her a front row seat to witness the rebirth of a nation.
In time, Jessie’s conviction to help her fellow man in every way possible led her to be granted Philippine citizenship for her profound contributions to the Filipino people. Bridging the past, the present and future, it’s an amazing journey of a century of humankind, of love and finding home, of the cruelty of war and deprivations of a hostile occupation, and the rebuilding of a nation while living a life that restores our faith in the power of our own humanity.
“My 109-year old American grandmother Jessie Lichauco, who died in 2022 at almost 110 years old, was at the epicenter of events that shaped the 20th century Philippines and possesses a unique perspective on how her adoptive country and the world has evolved since.
I believe it’s important to share stories and insights of the generation that lived the pre-war world and survived World War II. I made this film because I wanted to inspire people to learn more about Philippine history and the detail with which she remembers history brings it to life.
The wisdom she has accumulated over a century of life has tremendous relevance in today’s fast-changing world, where people are more connected and more isolated from each other, perhaps now more than ever. It is my hope that her story will remind people of what we have in common and inspire them to be more compassionate to each other.
Jessie Lichauco’s life has been exceptional and truly unique, and I believe the universal themes which her story touches – romance, marrying into another culture, adventuring to another country at a young age, history, war, saving children and her humanitarianism, will make the film appeal to any audience, regardless of age, gender or nationality.
If this film encourages people to live life with a greater curiosity, more sense of adventure, and a deeper compassion and love towards each other, then I have done my job as a storyteller.”
Producers & Directors: Sunshine Lichauco de Leon and Suzanne Richiardone
Writers: Justin Weinrich & Sunshine Lichauco de Leon
Editor: Justin Weinrich
Original Music: Baptiste Charvet
Cinematographer: Arturo Prins
Re-recording Mixer: Paul Furedi
SOHO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Winner, Best Documentary, 2017
NYLA (NEW YORK LOS ANGELES) INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Winner, Best Documentary Feature
LOS ANGELES INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS (LAIFFA) – Winner, Best Documentary Feature for April 2017
DOCS WITHOUT BORDERS FILM FESTIVAL (DWBFF) – Excellence Award for the categories of Human Spirit and Biography, Exceptional Merit for sub-categories of Viewer Impact: Motivational/inspirational and Editing, Exceptional Merit Award for the sub-categories of Viewer Impact: Motivational/Inspirational & for Editing,
FILIPINO NEW CINEMA – Winer, Special Jury Prize