Wokeness, weed and crazy high Asians in Fil-Am’s ‘Good Vibes’
NEW YORK CITY — “Good Vibes,” an original comedy pilot that follows four female cannabis aficionados, premiered on July 30 at the 42nd Asian American International Film Festival here.
Queens-based “Good Vibes” creator and executive producer Nicole Maxali uses her hometown of San Francisco as the backdrop to showcase strong, funny Asian American women navigating within the burgeoning green rush of the soon-to-be juggernaut cannabis industry.
“I am thrilled ‘Good Vibes’ was selected to represent another facet of Asian American life,” Maxali said. “’Crazy Rich Asians’ proved to Hollywood executives that Asian American stories are worth telling, but to have a female-driven cannabis series selected in such a respected festival is a ground-breaking moment.”
“Good Vibes” follows four Bay Area cannabis female aficionados – starring Maxali together with Kristine Alyssa Gerolaga, Elena Estér, and Sarita Ocón — who are rooted in their sisterhood, their Filipino communities, and their love for cannabis.
Mentored by matriarchal Latina Mama Tee—who dispenses much-needed wisdom, woke-ness, and weed—the three lifelong friends search to find out if the 30s can genuinely be the new 20s.
In 2018, revenue from legal cannabis sales, both recreational and medical, was estimated to be between $8.6 billion and $10 billion, according to a report from MJBizDaily. Women are entering the cannabis industry at a record rate according to Entrepreneur Magazine and it is about time we see a slew of shows that encourage an upward trend of female-run businesses.
“Good Vibes marries the love of cannabis with strong, female minority comedians against the backdrop of a quintessential Bay Area neighborhood – the best of all worlds and a truly unique take on this sought-after genre,” said Maxali.
The pilot was directed by Joslyn Rose Lyons and produced by Los Angeles-based Colorful Media whose mission is representing diverse stories and Karivara Films who recently produced Seth Green’s directorial debut “Changeland.”
Creator Maxali is a third-generation Filipino American from the S.F. Bay Area who now lives in Queens, New York. Her family immigrated to the U.S. in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and both her Filipino parents were born in San Francisco. In New York for seven years now, she has worked as an actor, writer and international motivational speaker, and is “very grateful for the opportunities that NYC has provided for me.”
After her father passed away eight years ago, she remembers what he used to tell her: “Follow your heart, follow your karma. Move to New York and never stop doing your art!” She left a good-paying job with an events management company in the Bay Area and moved East.
“I always dreamed I would be a full-time creative in New York City. Which led to me to work for a cannabis creative agency and magazine,” she said.
She began acting other people’s scripts at Bindlestiff Studio, the only Filipino American Theater in the nation. During her years as a stand-up comedian, Maxali had the honor to open for comic genius Dave Chappelle a dozen times at the San Francisco Punchline and The New Parish in Oakland, California. She then began writing, producing and performing solo shows under the tutelage of W. Kamau Bell.
Under the direction of Paul Stein at Comedy Central Theater, she developed her full-length one woman show, “Forgetting the Details,” which made the Official Selection at The United States of Asian America Festival, The SF Theater Festival, The LA Women’s Theater Festival, The Minnesota Fringe Festival & The International New York Fringe Festival. Maxali studied Broadcast Journalism and TV at the San Francisco State University.
Director Joslyn Rose Lyons has directed and produced a diverse range of work for more than a decade in film and television, including shows for HBO, BET, OWN, Discovery Channel and Vh1.
Her films have debuted at the HBO Urbanworld Film Festival, London Raindance, Black International Cinema Berlin, and Los Angeles International. She won Best Music Documentary for her first feature documentary film “Soundz of Spirit” (Common, Andre 3000, Cee-Lo Green) at the New York International, and her work has been recognized by The International Museum of Women and FOX Studios. © The FilAm 2019