Below is an interview with three of the filmmakers featured for this month's Cinema Lounge.
From a look at the hip-hop culture in Manila to a secret terror filled phone call, to an intense rock-paper-scissors competition or the hunt for the perfect nanny; this month's line up of Cinema Lounge films presents an eclectic mix of short films from a talented group of filmmakers. We caught up with filmmakers Mark Redondo Villegas, Jesse Shapiro, and Theodore Melfi for a pre-screening chat about their films and what it took to get them made.
Can you each tell us a little bit about your project? What's it about? Where did the idea come from?
MV: Lyrical Empire is about a circle of hip-hop artists in Metro Manila, Philippines who are struggling to be embraced by fellow Filipinos. I have always been involved with hip-hop in the United States, especially among the Filipino American enthusiasts who have been faithfully involved in the culture from the get go. I have done a few films about hip-hop culture among Filipino Americans. After being asked about hip-hop in the Philippines, I decided to find out about the scene myself.
JS: Practical is about a guy with three alleged friends who, in my estimation, play the worst possible practical joke you could ever play on someone. I came up with the idea after a practical joke gone wrong - I got REALLY worked up, said mean things about dear friends, and generally acted like a total asshole. A few days later I became excited about the idea of doing a short film where the audience is the victim of a practical joke and is taken on an emotional journey with a character. So I sat down and wrote Practical.
TM: Roshambo is about a rock-paper-scissors competition. I actually got the idea when my wife's aunt sent us a newspaper article about a small town accountant from Massachusetts who had just won the Bud Light rock-paper-scissors world championships in Vegas. I started researching and was blown away by the sport and its following.
I Want Candy was born out of Roshambo ...the actors who played the promoters ...their performance so disturbed me that I imagined their home life to be very kinky. They looked like they have lots of dirty secrets. So we explored that thinking in Candy.