Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cinema Lounge Roundtable: Interview with Filmmakers

I'm happy to report that last week's screening of Lyrical Empire: Hip Hop in Metro Manila in Hollywood was a great success. The room was packed and the audience had some compelling questions. I'm happy to engage the topic of hip hop culture in the Philippines (or anything about the Philippines for that matter) to a broader audience.

Below is an interview with three of the filmmakers featured for this month's Cinema Lounge.

Cinema Lounge Roundtable: An Interview with the Filmmakers - August 2010

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.



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