We've almost reached our $50k stretch goal! THANKS to everyone who pledged their support! And also a special THANKS to all of you who continue to share with your family, friends, and community.
Reaching these stretch goals allows the Bitter Melon team to do SO. MUCH. MORE! Read below to see what else we can do—with your help.
Bitter Melon is a dark comedy that tackles domestic abuse, toxic masculinity, misogyny and homophobia – all told by a predominantly Filipino-American cast, and written/directed by a gay Filipino-American. It's 2017, and the time is right for queer voices and stories from people of color to move to the front of the line.
Here's a video of the cast discussing the significance of stories like Bitter Melon:
Bitter Melon is the third feature film from filmmaker H.P. Mendoza (Colma: The Musical, Fruit Fly, I Am a Ghost). It is the story of a Filipino-American family who reunites for a Christmas party at the family home in San Francisco only to find out that Troy, the second oldest child, has been ruling the house with fear—intimidating everyone who lives there—including his mother, and even physically abusing his wife. What starts as a fun holiday reunion turns into a darkly humorous crime scene as Declan, the youngest son, leads the family as they conspire on how to best murder the violent and abusive Troy.
The film will be in English and Ilocano, the third most used language in the Philippines and the language of my family. It's important to me that we cast Ilocano speakers because Ilocano is often referred to as "too native" or "low-class" (as opposed to the more familiar Tagalog). Ilocano is also the language of the epic poem, "Biag ni Lamang" - the oldest story from the Philippines to not be lost or destroyed during colonialism; a story about the importance of loyalty and family. And while it is the one of the oldest and the third most spoken language in the Philippines, local studies have shown that the disappearing language is still. at. risk. And I want it in my movie. :)
That's me, the writer/director of this film! In 2006, I wrote/composed/acted in the Gotham and Independent Spirit Award nominated Colma: The Musical, a New York Times Critic's Pick for being "an itty-bitty film with a great big heart". Since then, I've been creating films and media that speak to my predilections (musicals, horror films, magic, politics and video games, to name a few) and I've been committed to scrappily making these films within the independent world. After all, for as long as I have free reign, why on earth would I make a film that someone else already made? (That's a "safe-for-work" version of what I said at my acceptance speech at the SF Film Society.)
Now that the script and cast is taken care of, we are at the point where we need more money. This process is far from cheap, and the expenses add up quickly. We are lucky enough to have an experienced team of passionate filmmakers backing the project already, leading the way as we barrel toward our first day on set. I will be supported by Sundance veteran Brian Benson (The Diary of a Teenage Girl, La Mission, Howl) and Mark Del Lima (Fruit Fly, I Am a Ghost) as the two lead producers. We plan on taking our film to as many major festivals in the US as possible.
Even though we have enough money to go in production, the bulk of this money will go toward post production. The reach of this film is somewhat limited to the amount of work that is put into things like sound design, color grading, and editing.
And since Bitter Melon is a smaller production, marketing the film will be critical to its success. Things like submitting to festivals, attending festivals, organizing screenings, and campaigning for distribution deals will get expensive. With the generous help of our supporters, we are confident that this film will reach a large audience.
Please check out our Storyboard Trailer below to get an idea of our vision for the film.
(NOTE: This is not an animated film. These are just concept drawings.)
Wait, tell me again why I’m doing this?
Because you believe in the project. Because you know that the first stages of creating a movie like this are the most crucial, and your fiscal support can get it there and give it the needed momentum to blossom into the final feature. Plus, look at the rewards!
Can I increase my pledge once it’s been made?
Absolutely! After donating, you may want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount. To do so, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our campaign page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage My Pledge” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a new incentive.
Is the pledge amount publicly displayed?
No. Only you and the project owner will be able to see your pledge amount.
What’s all-or-nothing funding all about?
If we reach our goal, then your credit card is charged. If we don’t, then it isn’t.
How can we stay in touch?
Send us an email through this Kickstarter profile. We will be sending updates during production as well as post-production.
Risks and challenges
Bitter Melon is a script that takes place in San Francisco with 27 speaking parts and lots of locations. This means that production delays are the biggest risk. Our team is working tirelessly to ensure that we have enough lead time for the riskier/bolder moments in the film while also having equally impressive contingency plans.
Another risk is robbery. Bay Area filmmaking has become a little scarier in recent weeks due to robberies and fatal shootings. It is IMPORTANT to us that we have police support and security during the film's shoot. No one's life is worth the risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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