learn at longleaf

Brief Film Synopsis:


While visiting an aunt and uncle in the exotic countryside of Costa Rica, a young Southern belle from Alabama accepted a ride on the back of a motorcycle belonging to a local charismatic farmer -- a ride that would propel her down narrow mountain roads and into history. First Lady of the Revolution is the remarkable story of Henrietta Boggs, who fell in love with a foreign land and the man destined to transform its identity. Her marriage to José Don Pepe Figueres in 1941 led to a decadelong journey through activism, exile, political upheaval and, ultimately, lasting progressive reforms. First Lady of the Revolution is not only a depiction of the momentous struggle to shape Costa Ricas democratic identity; its also a portrayal of how a courageous woman escaped the confines of a traditional, sheltered existence to expand her horizons into a new world, and live a life she never imagined.


Filmmaker Statement:


Some biographies help us understand broad historical themes, some appeal to the universal emotions of the human experience, while others simply entertain with vivid characters and astonishing events. First Lady of the Revolution somehow manages to do all three. This is a rare breed of epic, recalling hemisphere-rocking events—protests, exile, revolution, war, societal change—all through the eyes of a young social reformer, who also happened to be a Southern belle. When I first met Henrietta Boggs in December of 2009, I was quickly captivated by her eloquence, boundless energy and indomitable spirit. At 98 years young, she stays stunningly productive, presenting on a TEDx stage for thousands, crafting articles for the magazine River Region Living, acting as a member on several non-profit boards and as a docent at the local museum, and regularly entertaining an eclectic mix of artists and literary talents at her home. Beyond being amused by Boggs sharp humor, I became fascinated with her lifes journey and her improbable marriage to José Figueres, Costa Ricas little giant, and the dramatic events that would sweep Figueres into the Presidency and Boggs into the role of the countrys Primera Dama, or First Lady.  Henrietta Boggss story—what she observed and endured in Central America from early in World War II through her husbands first presidency at the start of the 1950s—is not just her own, nor is it only Costa Ricas; this is a tale of deep historical relevance reaching even beyond one hemisphere. Through Boggs eyewitness accounts, this program will stimulate a new understanding of social reforms as they happen, exploring the broad historical and political themes that underlie them. First Lady of the Revolution is a singular opportunity to tell an intensely personal saga whose sheer heft and transnational scope are not mere backdrop, but the essence of the audience-mesmerizing adventure, horror, heartbreak and enchantment that defined one brave womans experience."





Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts, a regional arts organization, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.