‘My son is not the bride!’ Film explores interracial, gay couple’s ‘pamanhikan’

Eric Elizaga and Patrick Cooley as Jun and Brendan. The parents are portrayed by  Arianne Recto  and John Arcilla, and Julia Campanelli and Bill Hoag

Eric Elizaga and Patrick Cooley as Jun and Brendan. The parents are portrayed by Arianne Recto and John Arcilla, and Julia Campanelli and Bill Hoag

The short film entitled, “Pamanhikan,” is a story of an interracial, gay couple’s parents’ first meeting over brunch to discuss their wedding.

‘Pamanhikan’ is the Philippine tradition where the parents of the bride and the groom meet formally to acknowledge their approval of the marriage. Writer-director Angelo Santos called this film a “witty and touching mockumentary that explores family dynamics, exposes cultural quirks, and challenges traditional views on marriage.”

Angelo, a gay Filipino-American, won Best Screenplay Short for “Pamanhikan” at the 2013 Vail Film Festival in Colorado.

“Pamanhikan” tells the story of when the parents of two gay men, Brendan and Jun, meet for the first time before their wedding.

“To tell the story of Brendan and Jun’s two families becoming one modern family, the film utilizes a similar format to ‘Modern Family.’ Yet, with any stories of marriage and family, really, it’s about relationships,” said Angelo in a statement to The FilAm.

In the short span of 30 minutes or less, “Pamanhikan” will examine the relationships of a gay couple, a married Filipino couple and a divorced American couple, plus the relationships of two fathers and their gay sons.

“Bringing all of these relationships together in the name of tradition can create situations nobody wants or expects. Yet, watching these situations unfold will not only entertain you , but it will make you think, laugh and possibly cry,” he said.

Starring as the engaged couple is Hawaiian-born actor Eric Elizaga (“Ten Thousand Saints”) and Patrick Cooley (CBS’s “Unforgettable”).

The Filipino parents are played by Arianne Recto (“The Winter’s Tale” for Shakespeare in the Park) and John Arcilla, who was nominated for a 2014 British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in the movie “Metro Manila.”

The roles of the American parents are played by Julia Campanelli (Off-Broadway’s “Macbeth”) and Bill Hoag (Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”), as Bill Chapman, the father of the lead character, Piper Chapman.

'Pamanhikan' is Angelo Santos's directorial debut

‘Pamanhikan’ is Angelo Santos’s directorial debut

Angelo is an experienced short film producer and writer. His first film as a producer, “Kissed By Season,” was screened at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif., and was an official selection at the 2001 Sacramento Film and Music Festival and the 2001 New York International Film and Video Festival. His other productions include “Under the Harlem Moon,” which won The Wasserman/King Award, 2nd Prize, at NYU’s 2005 First Run Film Festival along with awards for Production, Cinematography, Production Design and Sound; and “My Brother’s Keeper,” which was an official selection at the 2008 Asian American International Film Festival in New York City.

“Pamanhikan” is Angelo’s directorial debut. He said this film is especially significant for him who is “a gay, Filipino-American Catholic man from a family-centric upbringing.”

“I hope this will starts conversations on marriage equality in all communities, especially within the Filipino community,” he said.

Here is a link to the film’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

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