This short follows the wedding day of Jane, a 35 year old Filipina, as she deals with her decision to marry a much older British man as well as the feelings she continues to have for a former girlfriend who has been invited to the ceremony.
The director Cole Stamm was inspired by a real life story of a housekeeper whose fluid relationship with gender and sexuality Cole found fascinating. It stars Angeli Bayani, a Filipino actress who has appeared in the Camera d'Or-winning film Ilo Ilo.
Watch the full movie on Viddsee here:
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am from Greenville, South Carolina, the third largest city in the state. I have always been engaged in the arts starting when I was young with visual arts and then moving more into creative writing, then film. I have moved around a lot since graduating from college and lived in several cities around the world including New York City, Portland, Singapore, and now Los Angeles.
What was the inspiration behind Jane’s story?
The inspiration behind Jane’s story was my meeting the housekeeper of a hostel in Santa Ana, a little area of Manila, Philippines. The housekeeper was also named “Jane” and as I was researching the area for a possible film I would spend time talking to Jane. She told me about her life and I became fascinated by her relationship with sexuality and gender which seemed to be more fluid than normal, or what I thought was normal. One day she told me that she would probably get married to a man soon, maybe one of her foreign visitor friends, so that she could have children to take care of her when she got older. I found this fluidity to be really interesting and started observing the LGBT culture more and more, eventually going with Jane to the slum where she sometimes lived called Paranaque, where I met all of her queer friends, including her girlfriend.
Where is this story set and where was it filmed?
The location the film was shot in was Paranaque, a slum near the airport in Manila. About a month after the production ended, a fire was started in the slum and many of the “homes,” most made out of thin plywood or even cardboard, were destroyed. Jane’s socio-economic background is that she is very poor, her family from a rural area outside of Manila. She, like many others, moved to Manila for greater opportunities, but with her limited education a job as a housekeeper was the best she could do.
Could you tell us more about your experience working with Angeli Bayani? How did you get her onboard?
Working with Angeli Bayani was a great opportunity that I am very fortunate to have gotten. I had seen Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo before making my film in a theater in Singapore and was really impressed with her performance, so I was shocked when she showed up at the tail end of one of our auditions. Angeli is really brave and imaginative with lots of technical skill. I gave her some brief notes about the character and watched her transform completely into the tom-boyish Jane character within seconds during the audition. Angeli brought this same imagination and passion to filming on location, bonding with the non-actors (the real friends of Jane) who played opposite her in the film. The transition from Angeli to Jane was seamless. Again, she was very brave to step into this very real world and exercise her acting chops. She taught me a lot about what a professional actor is like to work with, the dedication and experience they bring to a part as well as what they expect from a production. Would love to work with her again one day.