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Featuring: Ian Gamazon, Dominique Gonzalez, See full list

Description: The idea for CAVITE sprang from conversations, restricted to free cell phone minutes, between two aspiring Filipino-American filmmakers and best friends, Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana. The pair cleverly uses the platform of a genre film to create a narrative that is as much about the filmmakersí self-exploration as it is about its fictional protagonist, Adam, played by Gamazon. Both rediscover their heritage as they retrace their roots back to the Philippines and embark on a powerful meditation on the meaning of culture and identity. The result is introspective yet thrilling.

The occasion of his fatherís death prompts Adam to leave San Diego to attend the funeral in the Philippines. There, he is inexorably drawn into a rite of passage more terrifying than anything he could have ever been prepared for. He becomes both the object and tool of a rage that demands to be understood as well as obeyed.

As an Asian-American, Adam hasnít realized how vague and tenuous his connections with his family and his origins have become. Upon landing at the Manila airport, he discovers a cell phone and photographs of his mother and sister hidden in his bag. When the phone rings, the caller informs him that his mother and sister have been kidnapped. The disembodied voice then coerces Adam on a journey which will force him to experience a world that might otherwise have been his own. He is fueled by the will to save his family.

Spoken to in Tagalog, but responding in English, Adam confronts how unfamiliar he is with his homeland and feels the suspicious gaze of passers-by. The voice compels Adam to immerse himself into his culture: to eat the local foods, ride Jeepney buses and visit the cockfights, challenging Adamís conception of his Asian identity. Through the cacophonous and unfamiliar streets, squatter towns, and crowded marketplaces, the voice commands Adam further and further into darkness, exposing him, and the viewer, to the inner labyrinths of the Philippines. Through Adamís eyes, we experience a first person account of this exotic world.

CAVITE is two distinct yet interwoven films as we witness both the directorsí subjective documentary of their homeland and the protagonistís process of self-discovery. We undertake two journeys Ė that of Ian and Neill, the co-directors, and that of Adam, the protagonist. There is a duality here Ė between the outward gaze of Ian and Neill as the co-directors and Adamís inward gaze and examination of his roots. Gamazon and Dela Llana are with Adam every step of the way, experiencing the complexities of their native land at the same time as their protagonist.

Adamís journey is also a metaphor, in a sense, for the city of Cavite itself, which is famous as the seat of Filipino independence. In 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo successfully overthrew European invaders, declared its sovereignty and reasserted the Filipinosí identity. A statue of Aguinaldo looms over Adam as he pleads to the voice on the cell phone, a voice that threatens his family but also promises to teach him about his past and his countryís history. Adam will carry this knowledge with him from this point on Ė as both a lesson and a burden.


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