‘Bitter Melon,’ a Cinematografo Original, to screen in Outfest in July
LOS ANGELES — “Bitter Melon,” one of the very first originals and new projectsthat Cinematografo International Film Festival (CIFF) selected to fund in November last year, will be screened at the Outfest, one of the premier LGBTQ film festivals in the world.
Outfest runs from July 12-22 in various theaters around the Los Angeles. “Bitter Melon” is one of the featured narratives to be shown on July 13, Friday at Harmony Gold.
“Bitter Melon” is the third feature film that filmmaker H.P. Mendoza directed (Fruit Fly, I Am a Ghost). It is the story of a Filipino American family who reunites for a Christmas party, 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.
In an interview with the weekly magazine show, Adobo Nation, Mendoza shared that the film is about domestic abuse and the system of violence that repeats itself every generation. Bitter Melon tackles “what would happen if someone said something, or even better, if someone did something.”
According to Mendoza, Bitter Melon had been in the works for two decades, starting with a script he wrote in 1997. He admits that he was a different person in 1997. “As I got older, I realized I was being wacky because that made it safe. It was a dark comedy, but it was a wacky, dark comedy. And it really is no laughing matter because it touches all of us in whatever shape or form.”
Why Bitter Melon? Mendoza had said that if he ever made a film about a dysfunctional family, he would name it after the bane of his childhood existence. “Me and my brothers would hate it every time our mother would cook bitter melon. She would say, ‘I know it’s hard to swallow, but it’s good for you.’” That is how he would describe the movie. “The situations in the movie are hard to swallow, but you have to watch it and talk about it.”
Bitter Melon stars Jon Norman Schneider as Declan, Brian Rivera as Moe, Patrick Epino as Troy, Josephine De Jesus as Prisca, L.A. Renigen as Tiya, and Theresa Navarro as Shelly.
Outfest is an LGBTQ-oriented film showcase and festival in Los Angeles. For more festival information, go to www.outfest.org. For more information about the Cinematografo Original, go to http://bittermelonfilm.com/.
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