Fil-Am Creations: A Film Maker’s Movement.

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I had the opportunity to attend the encore screening of Fil-Am Creations: A Film Maker’s Movement. For those of you that don’t know, this is the premiere Filipino-American short film festival. That’s My Entertainment had the opportunity to interview some of the filmmakers during the original screening. If you haven’t watched the interview with Dante Basco yet, check it out. The evening was a little less formal than the original screening, but presented a great opportunity to hear the directors talk about their inspiration and pieces in an open forum.  The evening presented a lot of variety in genre, everything from thrillers, to gangster flicks,  comedy, even a slice of life piece that gave insight into Filipino culture.

 

The Last Straw pulled us into the underground world of competitive Boba drinking, complete with subtle and not so subtle references to Blood Sport. It was enjoyable and showed a lot of promise. I look forward to what the director brings next year.

What You Don’t Say took me right back to those college partying days, fretting over what to say to the girl you like, only to find out it really doesn’t matter anyway. Maybe it was just the 30-year-old in me talking, but I particularly connected with the character too old to party with college kids.

Basketball Ghost was a production made by kids but entertaining for adults. Its cheap green screen effects and timing only add to the production, making you feel like you really are in a child’s dream. Also, the kid brothers are cute as buttons.

Plaza Blvd. showed me what a day in the life of a young Filipino American adult is like, and really took its time in highlighting the amazing food and family values of the culture.

I Don’t Love You I was surprised by how funny this film was. What started out seemingly as an ADR issue turned into a hilarious reveal. I was laughing from beginning to end at the silliness of this tele novella spoof.

Colored Hearts stole the entire festival. A beautifully shot and perfectly acted piece, giving light to the frustrations, pressures, and fear that surround an interracial relationship between a black woman and an Asian man. The editing kept me on my seat wondering if the main characters would make the safe choice, or go with their hearts.

Uncle Eddie Anyone who has ever had siblings knows the no-punches pulled verbal sparring matches that occur. However, Uncle Eddie shows that no matter what is said out loud, family love will prevail, as two sisters bicker their way through the circle of life.  “I love you” may never be said between the two, it is felt the entire way through.

Miss Understanding This film initially impressed me by taking a sidestep from the dialogue heavy pieces that preceded it. Miss Understanding is the only silent film. It is a simple and honest story of a man developing a crush on his waitress. However, the film is hurt by its “surprise” ending. What starts as a cute story turns into a joke poking fun at the deaf. While I understand the humor, most of the audience and myself did not laugh. It was a great build up, cheapened by a lazy ending.

Madeira Like a good bottle of wine, once the cork was pulled on Maderia, the flavor of the piece continued to unveil itself the longer the bottle was open. What starts as a casual holiday meet up between friends turns into a more complex story of divorce, pregnancy, and passion. The finish made me applaud harder than I would at any dinner party.

Man of My Dreams After stories of love, comedy, and drama it was good to finally have a legitimate thriller. Showing how meeting someone through a dating app can go terribly wrong, this piece made me almost delete Tinder from my phone. I thought I was going to watch another rom-com. I was very happy what direction this piece took.

Finding Ronwe After spoofs of tele novella, 80’s action, and silent films, it was good to see a director’s take on the Blaxploitation film. While not heavy-handed, it had all the tropes; hometown hero returns after training in martial arts, only to find a crazy villain controlling a large syndicate, and only that hero can take him down. While enjoyable, I wondered what direction this movie was trying to take; serious action flick or spoof, as evidenced by the believable hero having to take on a villain who is trying to control the “candy racket.” No, that’s not a euphemism. They’re literally selling candy on the streets.

Lolo Pepe A gangster style film, showing the rise to power of the “man in the white suit.” The action and suspense of this film were palpable. I was confused at times, partly due to the narration being hard to understand. I was left with several questions when the film concluded.

Pictures of Perla This piece set itself apart from the rest of the other festival entries due to its unique usage of pictures. More a radio show with flashed stills to set the mood than a “movie,” Pictures of Perla shows a date turn into a kidnapping attempt all through the eyes of the photographer.  I thought this piece was good, even though there was already an “online date gone awry” film ala Man of my Dreams.

 

All in all, it was a great festival with a lot of talent shown from all directors, casts, writers, and crew. While some pieces had their drawbacks and others had their triumphs, each was worthy of watching again. I look forward to next year’s Fil-Am Festival. That’s my Entertainment, What’s Yours?