TOTO - The Movie starring Sid Lucero showing on November 23!

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The indie comedy “Toto” and its lead star, Sid Lucero, won at the 19th Los Angeles Comedy Festival and this is John Paul Su’s directorial debut, about a hotel room attendant who takes desperate measures to obtain a U.S. visa, was named Best Foreign Film, while Sid Lucero was proclaimed Best Actor in the festival’s film competition. 

The Los Angeles Comedy Festival is the largest comedy festival in the United States that features not just films but also live comedy acts, TV pilots. music videos and a screenplay competition.

During the intimate Presscon of Toto with Direk JP Su, he mentioned how this movie is so close to his heart.

Shot in the Philippines, the dark comedy-drama swept the awards at the 41st Metro Manila Film Festival’s New Wave competition, including Special Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (for BibethOrteza), and Best Supporting Actor (for Thou Reyes). TOTO is currently touring the festival circuit around the world. Most recently, it won the Audience Choice Award for Best Film at the 39th Asian American International Film Festival in New York.

ANTONIO “TOTO” ESTARES comes from Tacloban, Philippines, a place ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda. His mother has cancer. He works at a hotel in Manila, and tries every which way to get to the U.S. so he can support his family – which he’s been doing since his father died and left them penniless. His father had made it to Las Vegas to become a stage act and promised to petition his family, but he ended up a dishwasher who drank and gambled away everything. The only thing Toto inherited from his father is the obsession of the dream, which he has forged into his own, and is intent on fulfilling it, because it was also once his mother’s hope. 

Toto makes one failed attempt after another to get a U.S. visa, risking friendships, his job, a lot of borrowed money, his dignity, and his heart. What he doesn’t realize is that, in a way, he’s already made it to America. The hotel is America. Its U.S. guests represent the good, the bad, and the ugly of America. After Toto meets the bad and gets ripped off, he loses hope. Yet it’s a good American that helps Toto, in a most unexpected way. 

TOTO is all about the power of the dream. Although the failures of his father haunt him, it’s the power of his father’s dream that fuels him, not just for himself, but for those he loves, to help better their lives and achieve their own dreams. Some call it the American Dream, but for those beyond the U.S. it’s simply “the dream”. After all, there’s a TOTO that resides in all of us.

Direk JP Su, talks about the movie Toto, "As an immigrant myself, I am deeply attracted to Toto’s story for the way it speaks to the tension between integrity and compromise in the journeys of all outsiders. In moments of self-doubt, do you give up or do you soldier forward in pursuit of the dream? This is a question that, as a filmmaker in a new land where I was a complete unknown, I was constantly forced to ask myself."

Despite (or perhaps because of) the huge divide between rich and poor in the Philippines, “dreaming big” is an integral part of the cultural DNA, and 'TOTO' is, on one hand, a satire of the veneration of wealth and celebrity in a society where opportunity and resources are still scarce.

But it is also an allegory of the immigrant experience in general, seizing upon the luxury hotel where Toto works— with its glamorous classic Hollywood facade — as a symbol of the American Dream, and the sordid infrastructure as a persistent reminder, to Toto and to us, of the often treacherous underworld upon which that facade depends on.

Check out his interview here:

John Paul “JP” Su is an award-winning Filipino-Chinese-American filmmaker.  Born and raised in the Philippines, he moved to the US in 2003 and worked with major media organizations around the world, including BBC World and Google.  He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, having received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television. He won the Directors Guild of America’s (DGA) Best Asian-American Student Filmmaker Award for his short Pagpag (The Refuse), which was acquired by PBS for North American broadcast.  Pagpag has won awards at festivals worldwide. JP is an alumnus of the prestigious Disney/ABC-DGA Directing Program. He is also an NBCUniversal Emerging Directors finalist. Toto is his debut feature-length film. At the 41st Metro Manila Film Festival, Toto won four awards -- including Special Jury Prize and Best Director. He is currently developing his next feature film project and a TV pilot.

CAST OF CHARACTERS  (in order of appearance)
SID LUCERO - ANTONIO “TOTO” ESTARES
DAVID CHRISTOPHER FARMER - GROSS/ IMMGIRATION OFFICER #1
BEMBOL ROCO - FERNANDO ESTARES
NEIL RYAN SESE - JUNJUN
THOU REYES - YAM ESTARES
MARA LOPEZ - TESSA
CARLO CRUZ - CHRISTOPHER
LIZA DINO - EVE PORTER
BLAKE BOYD - DAVID YELTSIN
SHIELA VALDERAMA - WOMAN ON TV
LORENZ MARTINEZ - MAN ON TV
JELSON BAY - FRANCISCO
CHE RAMOS  - CONTESSA
LOUISE FABELLA - BENILDA
BONG MENDOZA - UNDER COVER COP1
NATHANE SAMSON - UNDER COVER COP 2
AARON ALEXANDER MARTINEZ - CALLBOY
RAFA SIGUION-REYNA - FERDIE
BIBETH ORTEZA - REMEDIOS ESTARES
MARNIE LAPUS - CARMEN
YUKI PAVINO - JELY
RAUL MONTESA  - REY
ANALIN BANTUG - KELLY/IMMIGRATION OFFICER #2
CASSANDRA CRUZ - CORAZON ESTARES
GIAN CARLO GO - MICHAEL ESTARES

'TOTO' takes its audience on a fun emotional roller coaster ride that, hopefully, will leave them inspired and moved. After all, there’s a Toto that resides in all of us.

“Toto” was originally released as an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival’s New Wave section last December where it won the Jury Prize as well as Best Supporting Actor (Thou Reyes) and Best Supporting Actress (Bibeth Orteza).

WINNER:
Audience Choice Award for Best Film, 
39th Asian American International Film Festival
Best Foreign Feature Film, 19th L.A. Comedy Festival
Best Actor, 19th L.A. Comedy Festival
Special Jury Prize, 41st Metro Manila Film Festival
Best Director, 41st Metro Manila Film Festival
Best Supporting Actor, 41st Metro Manila Film Festival
Best Supporting Actress, 41st Metro Manila Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
Asian American International Film Festival
Hawaii International Film Festival
Los Angeles Comedy Festival
Metro Manila Film Festival
Newport Beach Film Festival
Palm Beach International Film Festival
Rome Independent Film Festival

Toto will be showing on November 23 in 
cinemas nationwide!

Check out the trailer below:

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