By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
Dante Basco’s directorial debut truly can be described as a family affair all the way through the end credits.
The Fabulous Filipino Brothers plays May 14 at CAAMFest in San Francisco, and stars Dante’s four siblings, brothers Dionysio, Derek and Darion, along with sister Arianna.
All of them, except for Derek, are listed in the credits as writing the film. Family members also filled in as extras and the closing credits features an old family film of the Dante Brothers breakdancing in the 80’s.
“Yeah, that was actually a Fourth of July event in Pittsburg,” Dante said in an interview with AsAmNews. Pittsburg is where the Bascos grew up 42 miles east of San Francisco. “We were a popular breakdancing group in the 80’s in the Bay Area called the Street Freaks.”
Pittsburg is also where most of the film takes place. The Bascos truly are an entertainment family, and admittedly gained inspiration from Michael, Marlin, Jermaine, Tito and Jackie, otherwise known as the Jackson 5.
The Basco boys also had a band that went through different incarnations. First as the 136, then the Fly Brown Dragons and The Brown Boys and finally the Basco Brothers.
All that time performing together paid off in the film as the chemistry is strong and the laughs are liberally sprinkled throughout the 99 minutes.
The brothers all moved down to Los Angeles to pursue careers in entertainment, even competing for the same roles. Dante is known in the film as the “lucky one,” and he acknowledges the luck in being cast in many iconic roles such as Rufio in Hook.
For his first directorial role, Dante made sure to allow each of his family members to shine. The film consists of four vignettes, one for each brother, with it all coming together at the end at the family wedding where the film also begins.
“We tailored all the characters, specifically for each brother to you know, to kind of like, the best, you know, the best stuff they can do, which is great. So, it was very special project in that way,” Dante said. “So I thought directing my first film is like really making a platform For them.”
Working with family and having seen every role they’ve ever performed, Dante said made his directorial debut that much easier. He said he feels fortunate to have worked on his first film as a director with people he feels close to and knows very well. All of them speak the same unspoken language due to their familiarity with each other.
Even filming in his home town of Pittsburg, where many Bascos still live, made it easier for Dante. Many family members came to support the film
“Everyone you left in your hometown are there to support you, and root for you from afar for years for us 35 years. And so having the opportunity to go home and bring one home, to involve the people that have been supporting you for your whole life was just amazing and special,” Dante said.
He describes the film as a “love letter” to his own family and not the “definitive Filipino American film.” He called it the Fabulous Filipino Brothers a “family tale” that we got to “embellish” and “maybe more fabulous.”
He says he’s in the midst of negotiating a distribution deal and sees the film opening in select theaters with a wide release on streaming platforms and video on demand perhaps during the holiday season.
Tickets for CAAMfest can be purchased here with many of the films being show virtually and on demand. AsAmNews is a proud media sponsor of CAAMfest.
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