By: Valerie Milano & Esther Spector
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/11/23 – THT had the opportunity to attend the preview event screening of ULAM: Main Dish in tandem with the Coachella Valley Filipino Festival set to take place this fall. The event was held at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. It featured a live Q&A session with filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo and Manny the Movie Guy.
The documentary-style film tells the story of Filipino-American chefs and restaurants, highlighting the dilemmas and success of the Filipino food movement. ULAM: Main Dishhttp://ULAM: Main Dish follows Filipino chefs from multiple backgrounds and skill levels. Using one-on-one interviews, Director Alexandra Cuerdon was able to examine what led to the chef’s success and how they were able to sustain in New York and Los Angeles, which are some of the most challenging markets in the world. Viewers will also learn more about Filipino culture and how colonialism has affected the communities support for one another. Ultimately, Cuerdo uses these personal stories to discuss the complexities and the intersection of Filipino culture in American spaces while examining the future value of the industry.
Aside from all the critical issues that need to be touched on, food lovers are in for a treat as the film will show the chefs creating beautiful dishes.
The Coachella Valley Filipino Festival will take place on Sunday, October 8th, from 11 am to 5 pm at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. This is a free and family-friendly festival that will celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the local Fil-Am community through food, arts, music, and more. This will serve as the first cultural festival of this scale celebrating Filipino heritage in the Coachella Valley.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Alexandra Cuerdo — Director/Writer/Producer
Alexandra Cuerdo is a Filipino-American director, producer and editor, recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World by the Filipina Women’s Network. MSN ranks her feature directorial debut, ULAM: Main Dish as one of the “Top 5 Food Documentaries to Watch” now. ULAM had its sold-out world premiere as one of 5 films in Launch at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April 2018, and has continued to play sold-out screenings at festivals in Hawaii, San Diego, Newport Beach and Los Angeles. It has been selected as the Closing Night film for the 2018 Asian American International Film Festival in New York City. Alexandra’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, Vogue, TimeOut, Filmmaker Magazine, Eater and more. The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold called Alexandra’s film a “love letter” to Filipino food, and Stark Insider has crowned ULAM with “Four Stars — Smashing.” As a content producer and editor, Alexandra’s videos for BuzzFeed have achieved over 200 million views and over 1.5 million shares on Facebook. Previously, she has worked on films, television and digital content for HBO, ABC, NBC, Netflix, Hulu, Sony/Columbia Pictures, Participant Media, Walt Disney Imagineering and more. She is based in Los Angeles and New York.
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John Floresca — Producer/Cinematographer
John Floresca is a current member of the Local 600 international cinematographer’s guild. He has worked on TV shows such as NBC’s Third Watch, CW’s Gossip Girl, NBC’s Law and Order SVU, CBS’ Elementary and NBC’s Saturday Night Live. John is legendaryBBQ pitmaster. His obsession with food has led him to a sought-after, treasured map of starred and marked delicious grub spots during his travels.
Rey Cuerdo — Producer
A long-time Sony Pictures executive, Rey Cuerdo began producing movies as a hobby in 2002. He produced the drama Small Voices, which won Best Picture in all the Philippines’ film industry awards. It was also the country’s official entry to the Oscar Awards, and it became the first Filipino film to be distributed by a major Hollywood studio (Warner Bros). In 2008, Rey executive produced Dim Sum Funeral, an HBO Films comedy. He was also an executive producer of the Filipino horror-comedy hit Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings in 2011, and secured U.S. and international distribution for it, as well as an English-language remake in development. Rey produced the award-winning Motherland, with its director Ramona Diaz, a Filipino documentary feature which won a Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision at the Sundance Film Festival 2017 and screened at Berlinale 2017. Currently nominated for a Spirit Award for Best Documentary, it is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video. At Sony, Rey opened the local-language film market in the Philippines and is expanding it.