film festival screenings:
- Smiles IV Film Festival Staten Island, NYC USA 14-Aug-20
- Liftoff Pinewood Studios London, UK 13-Jun-20
- Kumu Online Online 1-Jun-20
- GanapTV Online Online 26-May-20
- BeBop Channel Festival - NYC Online 18-Jan-20
- Silk Festival on the Bushkill - Easton, PA USA - 21-Sep-2019
- Chautauqua Film Festival Chautauqua, NY USA 26-Jul-19
- Hang On To Your Shorts Asbury Park, NJ USA 22-Apr-18
- Inwood Film Festival NYC USA 26-Mar-18
- New York City International Film Festival NYC USA 8-Mar-18
- Albany Film Festival Albany, CA USA 6-Mar-18
- *Brightside Film Festival Jersey City, NJ USA 4-Mar-18
- Pelikultura University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines 18-Feb-18
- Cinematografo San Francisco, CA USA 11-Nov-17
- Cardiff International Film Festival Cardiff, Wales UK 19-Oct-17
- International Film Festival Manhattan New York City, USA 15-Oct-17
- **Golden Door International Film Festival Jersey City, NJ USA 7-Oct-17
- Sinehan sa Summer at the Philippine Consulate New York City, USA 3-Aug-17
- 40th Asian American International Film Festival New York City, USA 21-Jul-17
- ***iChill Film Festival Manila, Philippines 17-Jun-17
- Diwa Seattle, Washington USA 3-Jun-17
Nominee Best Screenplay: Michael Manese
Nominee Best Supporting Actress: Angelita Esperanza
Nominee Best Short Film
Nominee Best Director - Michael Manese
Nominee Best Actor - Graham Powell
Nominee Best Actress - Maan Cruz
Nominee Best Actress - Angelita Esperanza
Nominee Best Concept for a Short Film
Voted Most Controversial
|World Refugee Day/ Welcome Home/ Golden Door International Film Festivals
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
20 June 2020
|JCTC "Best of the Fest" Golden Door Encore screening
Jersey City, New Jersey USA
03 March 2018
|Necessary Studios Film Showcase
Long Island City, New York City USA
10 March 2018
My biography, Press Coverage:
color, 15 minutes, in english and tagalog
Maan cruz - Rosa
Maan Cruz - Maan’s passion for the arts was manifested in various activities during her younger years in the Philippines. She began her first theater training at the Ateneo De Manila University at the age of 14. At 16, she starred in the following plays: as Sisa in an excerpt of Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not), as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Ernest, as Maria in the West Side Story, and as vaudeville dancer Violet in A Portrait of an Artist as Filipino among others. Together with a handful of artists in the University, she pushed to share this talent in the rural parts of the country by conducting outreach theater workshops for the less fortunate youth. She also directed a couple of plays while in the University and gave workshops to younger teens with Once on This Island as her main production. She later appeared in TV commercials and sitcoms/series.
When she arrived in NY in 2007, she went on to focus on chorale singing with the United Nations and later on completed her Masters Degree in Diplomacy and International Relations at the Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ. Maan debuts on the big screen with "The Pleasure of Being Served."
Graham Powell - Hudson
Graham is a New York City-based actor, writer, and director. He was raised in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Herndon, VA. He is a graduate of James Madison University and the Maggie Flanigan Studio acting conservatory. He has appeared in many theatre productions, both in New York and regionally. He also works regularly in commercials, film, television, and voiceovers. He has received awards for his acting from The Looking Glass Forum, the NYU First Run Film Festival, the LA Web Series Festival and Long Island International Film Expo. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, having written and directed the short film 'Graduation' which won 4 awards, including 'Best Short Film' at the 2014 Long Island International Film Expo.
Graham's main film & tv demo reel, along with additional character-specific reels is available at www.grahamwpowell.com.
Angelita Esperanza - Lynn
Angelita is a recent New York transplant originally from Los Angeles. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Television Production. She started her career working in entertainment news on Entertainment Tonight and CNN’s Entertainment News department. She has since gone on to work on scripted television as a Post Production Supervisor and Associate Producer for various shows on studios and networks such as ABC, FOX, NBC and Warner Bros including Quantico and Nikita. She is a graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School’s Musical Theater Summer Intensive and has participated in various play workshops such as Lola and the Planet of Glorious Diversity which premiered last spring at Alchemical Theater and tap shows including American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap It Out. She is grateful to have found such a wonderful community of people who shares her love for the theater, tap, the arts and its artists.
Angelita Esperanza on IMDB
mara lee gilbert - jennifer
Mara grew up in Nutley, New Jersey born to an actress mother and a musician father. They taught her that no matter what endeavors she pursues, creative or otherwise, she must bring all of herself and be joyous in her work!
After pursuing and obtaining a Master's degree in Forensic Psychology, Mara realized her true joy was performing. She worked with professors to conduct theater workshops inside Bayview Correctional Facility and Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center (both in New York City), further solidifying this realization. Since then she has pursued this joy full force!
Mara is also a published playwright. Her piece, Steel or Pretzels, premiered in NYC with the Strawberry One-Act Winter Festival 2009 and was chosen for publication in the festival's Best Plays from the Strawberry One-Act Festival anthology. She continues to write for stage and screen.
Mara Lee Gilbert on IMDB
PJ Valentini - cinematography
"I was born in New York City in 1978. When I was seven years old I moved to Paris, France with my family. As a child I was always fascinated by photography capturing animals, plants, planes and emotions with my Nikon FM2. When I finished high school, I decided to enter film school and studied cinematography and photography at Emerson College in Boston. I specialize in headshots, corporate headshots, events, and landscapes. In my spare time I like to fly planes, watch large amounts of sportscenter and most of all, spend time with my family."
Rene Ojeda - sound
"I have been immersed in audio since Adolescence. Built a Hi-Fi Record changer,Stereo Turntable. I've been capturing Sound in every format for the past Forty years. Own/Operate a dual platform Multi-Track Digital and full Analog Recording Room with Iso Booth, "Native Sity Ears" I have been doing location/Remote Recording since the last Century and Mixing and editing are par for the course. Versed we are!
I'm very much an advocate and practitioner of the 10,000 hr. Rule Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently points out! I apprenticed at Now defunct Mastertone Studios who's clients were from Lincoln,Carnegie and Bway. Big room 50/100 with an elevated control room. It's all about Mic placement!"
Michael manese - writer/director
Born in the Philippines and raised in Passaic, NJ, MM studied filmmaking at Rutgers University. His screenplay "Talk Show" was staged at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe's Fifth Night Scriptreading series in March 1996 which led to a series of script reading jobs for companies such as Apostle Pictures, Foxboro and New Line Cinema.
MM on IMDB_.
How did you come up with the title?
I was watching an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond." There was a scene where the wife was sitting at a restaurant and she wanted her family to be quiet. She said something like for once she wanted to experience what it's like being served. Not sure of the exact words.
How did you find your cast?
I auditioned actors from August to December 2015. I auditioned for every character except for Jennifer's. I called Mara Lee Gilbert and asked her to be in it and she quickly said yes. She had previously played the title role of "Maxine," a short film I made two years ago.
How did you find your crew?
PJ Valentini the cinematographer is an instructor at Seido the dojo I go to where I am an Advance Brown Belt. Rene Ojeda was recommended to me by Vincent Veloso, a fellow filmmaker. Giuseppe Ricotta (Location Manager), Peter Meese (Best Boy) and Miriam Salzman (Production Assistant) are all fellow Karatekas at Seido Karate. Both Paul in "Maxine" and Hudson "The Pleasure of Being Served" wear Seido shirts in the movie.
How did you come up with the idea?
I'm still trying to pin down my main inspiration and when it came to me. I do remember, and Mara Lee will tell you, that I once wrote a short script about a Polish cleaning woman waiting for an elevator when another Polish girl comes in talking on the phone talking to her boyfriend. The girl didn't know that the cleaning woman was Polish and could understand what she was saying. The elevator comes around, they get in and soon they find out that they're seeing the same American guy. The cleaning woman works for him, and the girl is his girlfriend.
How did you come up with their names?
"Hudson" is based on "Hud" the Paul Newman movie, one of my all time favorites. Alot of this is based on his situation. "Rosa" was random. The first drafts I had her named "Maria." Then last minute I thought it was too generic even for a Filipina so I changed it to "Rosa" out of random. "Jennifer" and "Lynn" were random.
A) Did you pay your actors and crew?
As an amateur filmmaker, I get asked his ALOT. I don't know what the reasoning is, I try not to get annoyed but YES, I paid that cast and crew even for rehearsals. I've always paid my cast and crew from "Bart and Lulu" on.
B) Did you pay your actors extra for the bathroom scene?
What were your inspirations for this short film?
Easy 1) "Hud" starring Paul Newman, for the male lead character and 2) "The Remains of the Day" another favorite of mine. It's about a butler with blind loyalty towards his boss. 3) "'Merika" (1984 Tagalog movie set in NJ)
What inspired you to produce this particular film? How did you come up with the concept?
A few things inspired me to come up with this short film. a) The main character was inspired by a cleaning woman who worked for me. She, however, was from Latin America, not sure of the country. b) I always wanted to do a movie with subtitles c) I loved the movies "The Remains of the Day" and "Hud." Both are two of my favorite movies ever that just, coincidentally, have similar themes d) The title came from an Everybody Loves Raymond episode where the mother goes to a restaurant and tells her family to leave her alone, she just wants to have the pleasure of being served for once, or something very similar to that.
How did you chose the cast to portray their respective roles? What specific traits are looking for when casting for the film?
I told the cast right away that they were going to play unlikable characters. It would be a challenge for me and for them to portray them in a good light. Or at least engaging and multi dimensional enough that the audience would still care for them. For Hudson (the name based on the movie "Hud"), I told him to be like a man child. Someone who's both unaware of what he's doing, while at the same time, someone who knows himself. I wanted Rosa to express what's going on with her through non-verbal means.
What are the challenges encountered on making this film?
Preproduction was pretty smooth on this short film. It took me a year and a half to raise the money, cast, shoot it and eventually edit it. The hard part, as I always encounter with each film, is the marketing and promotion of it.
What is your goal and your vision for its audience?
I would like the audience to come out of the theater experiencing complex emotions. Was Rosa right in what she did? What was she thinking? What would have the audience done in her situation?
The short film is already being written into a feature-length screenplay entitled, "America Already is Great", set in 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Can you give us details about it?
The theme of the feature length film is the feeling of anxiety and hope. The climax of the movie will be when Rosa confronts Hudson, the way she does in the short film, but with the 2016 US Election results rolling in in the background TV. Her character will be expanded and we'll see more of the Filipino diaspora thriving in Jersey City. Of course I have no control over what festivals or venues will select it but I'm hoping with buzz (like you're story) will help me promote the project and eventually help me raise funds for the feature.
What are the edges of the short film among the others?
My short film has the edge amongst other films I've seen because a) It has a Filipina character, a female, minority b) it has nudity c) it deals with the immigrant experience d) it has an unsavory character for the male lead and it deals with sexism, racism, misogyny, and class.
Your message for those who are planning to watch the film.
My message: Hopefully you enjoy it!
A deceptively simple story filled with symbolism and archetypes that touches upon topics such as Sex, Race, White Privilege, Misogyny, Work Ethic, Morality, the Immigrant Experience, and Friendship.
ROSA, an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines is a single mother trying to save enough money to bring her young son Richard in to the U.S. She works for HUDSON, a rich, young American as a domestic worker. Part of her job is to juggle logistics between his two girlfriends LYNN, a fellow Filipina, and JEN an American who don't know about each other and visit him on alternating weekends. Having befriended the girls, Rosa becomes morally conflicted and must soon choose between enabling Hudson with his womanizing or accept the generous pay he offers, money that she desperately needs.
Female passenger: Anne Donovan
Male passenger: Ben Simmons
Musician: Ramon Lores
Cinematography: PJ Valentini
Sound: Rene Ojeda Rodriguez
Location Manager: Giuseppe Ricotta
Best Boy: Peter Meese
Production Assistant: Miriam Salzman
Production Assistant: Jon Tinnirello
Sound Assistant: Kwesi Floyd
An Officer and a Gentleman
The Last Picture Show
She’s Gotta Have it
Nicole van Gendt
Star Wars a New Hope
Bill and Michele Sorvino/ The Golden Door International Film Festival
Roberto Rizzo/ The New York City International Film Festival
CJ Cullen/ Hang on to your Shorts
Joel Stephens/ Morcaman
Cristina DC Pastor, FilAm.net and Makilala TV