I am a Filipina-American like Rose. When I was 3 years old, my family fled Manila and martial law and ended up in Lubbock Tx as it was the only place that would take us. I grew up in a fairly racist environment and by the time i was a teenager my only refuge was music. So I formed a punk rock band. An actor friend of mine suggested I write a script about my upbringing, but when I first conceived of the script I thought that it would be more compelling if the lead character loved everything about TEXAS including and most importantly the music. It would be the ultimate unrequited love: to love a place so much that doesn’t love you back. And with the crackdown of immigration in her town, Rose's very citizenship is questioned as well. There are only a tiny handful of films that address the immigrant experience, but none has been told through a “Country Music Musical.” My hope is that the film break through as a hit just as Slumdog Millionaire did and my producers and I see this film as also transitioning into a Broadway play as well afterwards. Coming from documentary film making as well as commercials I think I’m in a unique position to tell a coming age story with the authenticity of a doc but the high production value of a commercial. Finding the right person to play Rose is important and we have already begun searching for her right here in NYC and in Texas. She has to be someone you can’t take your eyes off of, who can sing and break your heart at the same time. She’s innocent but tough as nails, confident but inherently insecure; somewhere between a child and a woman. I had been fighting doing a Filipino American story because I didn’t want to be pigeon holed, the last few years working director in commercials, I discovered how few female and even fewer minority directors there were out there. I then thought it was my obligation to tell a Filipino story and so I reopened this project which I started almost 10 years ago with Andy Bienen who wrote Boys Don’t Cry. All these years later I am ready as a director to tell this story but also ready as a Filipino-American and as a daughter of immigrants to bring our story to the public. Please join me in my quest to make this historic film a reality. It’s not an impossible task and I truly believe in my heart that this film will make a difference. I know because if I saw this film when I was 15, it would have changed my life as I know it will change the life of so many people who feel their voices are never heard.
OVER 12 MILLION UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES
A record number of 360,000 people were deported in 2011 alone and the numbers are said to be even larger in 2012. Immigration is a hotly contested issue in politics and as Jose Antonio Vargas states in his Time article, “Immigration is the single most misunderstood issue in the US.”
NO MAJOR FEATURE FILM ABOUT THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Although we are America’s second largest Asian population, there has been no major film made about the Filipino American experience. Asian Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in the US but our presence in the media is sadly underrepresented. More than ever Filipino Americans are coming making a name for themselves, with more and more restaurants and celebrities and even politicians coming onto the scene, our time has come.