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August Evening

A MAYA ENTERTAINMENT GROUP Release

 

MAYA PICTURES presents in association with 

DOKI-DOKI PRODUCTIONS

 

a film by

CHRIS ESKA

 

Starring

PEDRO CASTANEDA    VERONICA LOREN

ABEL BECERRA     WALTER PEREZ    SANDRA RIOS    CESAR FLORES 

 

 

 

"a deeply absorbing viewing experience" – Scott Foundas, LA Weekly

"perfectly honed, naturalistic acting and visual lyricism" – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

 

Languages: Spanish and English with English Subtitles

Running time: 128 minutes

Rating: PG-13 (For Brief Strong Language)

 

WINNER, Independent Spirit Award:  John Cassavetes Award for Best Feature (made for under $500,000)

NOMINATED, Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead, Pedro Castaneda

WINNER, Target Award for Best Feature Film ($50,000 prize), Los Angeles Film Festival

WINNER, Best Acting Ensemble, Los Angeles Film Festival

WINNER, Best Cinematography, Phoenix Film Festival

WINNER, Maverick Award for Best Film, Woodstock Film Festival

WINNER, Best Film, Ashland Independent Film Festival

WINNER, Opera Prima Jury Award (Best First Feature), Int’l Latino Film Festival-San Francisco Bay Area

 

Opens September 5 in New York City, September 19 in San Antonio, September 26 in Los Angeles.

Other cities/dates to be announced soon.  

Please visit his website for downloads of press notes, photography and trailer.

 

 CAST

 

Jaime     PEDRO CASTANEDA

Lupe     VERONICA LOREN

Victor     ABEL BECERRA

Luis             WALTER PEREZ

Alice     SANDRA J. RIOS

Salazar     CESAR FLORES

Maria     RAQUEL GAVIA

Andrea     GRISEL RODRIGUEZ

Jason     TOM SPRY

Gabe     JEREMY BECERRA

Juana     AMELIA CASTILLO

 

 

CREW

 

Director, Writer, Editor           CHRIS ESKA

Producers                           CONNIE HILL      JASON WEHLING

Executive Producer           MOCTESUMA ESPARZA

Associate Producer           YUTA YAMAGUCHI

Director of Photography   YASU TANIDA

Production Designer           ELYSIA VAN DEUSEN

Music by                          WINDY & CARL   TAKAGI MASAKATSU     MONO     OLA PODRIDA

Original Music                 JONATHAN HUGHES

Casting                                 MEGUMI KANO

Costumes                        SARAH BALDERAS

 

  

 

Short Synopsis

 

August Evening follows an aging undocumented farm worker named Jaime and his young, widowed daughter-in-law, Lupe, as their lives are thrown into upheaval. Lupe is more of a daughter to Jaime than his own children, and the two try to stick together… but change is inevitable. 

 

Long Synopsis

 

August Evening follows an aging undocumented farm worker named Jaime and his young, widowed daughter-in-law, Lupe, as their lives are thrown into upheaval. Lupe is more of a daughter to Jaime than his own children, and the two try to stick together… but change is inevitable. 

 

As the rural Texas life they’ve known quickly disappears, Jaime and Lupe make their way to San Antonio, where they spend time living with the families of Jaime’s surviving son, Victor, and his daughter, Alice.  They strive to fit in but have difficulty relating, and tensions eventually build in each home.

 

Victor introduces Lupe to a young butcher named Luis, and as their relationship develops, she is confronted with the idea of a life apart from her father-in-law.  Both Jaime and Lupe recognize that their paths cannot remain the same indefinitely.  Jaime’s health is weakening, but he is determined to make his daughter-in-law start her own life, and Lupe is torn between a possible future with Luis and her desire to continue caring for Jaime.

 

 

From the Mill Valley Film Festival Program Notes:

 

Writer-director Chris Eska’s sensitive, understated debut is deliberately layered to expose the frailty and strength of the human connection. From the opening shots of a man laboring on a chicken farm and a young woman nervously washing dishes in a kitchen restaurant and then patiently teaching guitar to a group of children, this careful visual storytelling slowly reveals the fragile lives of an older, undocumented Mexican farm worker, Jaime (Pedro Castaneda), and his widowed daughter-in-law, Lupe (Veronica Loren). Rooted in family traditions, their way of life places them at odds with a new generation awkwardly struggling with the realities of the American Dream. Castaneda and Loren give standout performances as the leads of an award-winning ensemble cast. Arresting cinematography by Yasu Tanida reveals a sometimes ominously beautiful Texas landscape, as well as the slow stillness of the characters, whose silences often betray more eloquence than their words.

 

Director’s Statement

 

 

At the heart of this story is the conflict between generations.  Aging parents and grown children have difficulty expressing both their love and mutual disappointment in each other.  A father recognizes the unstoppable force of time and must say goodbye to his daughter so she can start her own life. 

 

For inspiration, I’ve looked to the naturalistic world cinema of the 1950’s, and an approach that values subtle yet conflicting emotions above frantic action and the overt fears and pleasures that tend to drive many current films.  It includes subtle romance, gentle humor, and heartbreaking tragedy – but it should not be depressing.  Instead, we concentrate on the Japanese idea of "mono no aware," which is difficult to translate, but involves finding peace with life’s imperfections. 

Heartwarming scenes highlight the bittersweet nature of life, finding resolution in the warmth of the characters, the beauty in sadness, and the universality of the human experience. 

 

My hope is that the project will express emotions that are frequently absent from films today but are ubiquitous in our real lives. 

 

-Chris Eska

 

 

Production Notes

 

Shortly after premiering his UCLA thesis film, Doki-Doki, on national PBS in late 2004, Chris Eska returned to his rural hometown in south Texas in search of inspiration for his first feature film.  He found his story, and spent the spring developing a treatment for August Evening.

Chris began casting in California and Texas in May 2005 and found his lead in an unlikely way.  Non-actor Pedro Castaneda was installing computer networks in San Antonio when he randomly bumped into Chris, who was struck by his authentic look and his natural depth of character.  After convincing Pedro that he was serious, Chris showed him the script and they began months of intense rehearsals.

In June, producers Connie Hill and Jason Wehling left their jobs at PBS and became the first residents of the three-bedroom house that would become a homey mixture of production office and filmmaking commune.  When they weren’t scouring the county for props, wardrobe, and locations, more than 15 crew members slept on air mattresses, cooked together, and sand karaoke.  The entire community of Gonzales came together to support the project despite the 105-degree August heat, and all on-set meals were donated and prepared by local citizens, many of whom appeared in supporting roles in the film.

Over 55 hours of footage had to be sifted through and edited during the course of 2006.  As soon as a rough cut was complete, the film was invited to several top film festivals, and Chris decided to wait and premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June of 2007.  On the night of its premiere screening, August Evening was picked up for theatrical distribution by Maya Entertainment.

Cast Biographies

 

PEDRO CASTANEDA – as Jaime
Pete spent his early days traveling throughout Texas and the Midwest with his parents, who were migrant farmers.  Prior to acting in August Evening, he attended medical school, obtained a pilot license, and taught himself to build and install wireless networks.  Pete currently lives with his family in San Antonio, TX.   This was his first time acting and he was nominated for Best Actor at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards.

 

VERONICA LOREN – as Lupe
Veronica grew up in South Texas (McAllen), before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career. Just three months after arriving in LA, she landed her first feature film role (August Evening), which quickly brought her back to South Texas. 

 

ABEL BECERRA – as Victor
A Dallas native, Abel is a talented actor and musician. He has appeared in numerous television commercials and in a short film called The Grass Grows Green, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.  August Evening is his first feature.

 

WALTER PEREZ – as Luis
Walter grew up in South LA and earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Cal State University of Fullerton. He has acted in numerous television roles including appearances on Friday Night Lights, CSI: Miami, The District and in films like HBO’s Walkout.

 

SANDRA RIOS – as Alice
Sandra was raised south of Houston (Richmond/Rosenberg).  She has worked as an actor for several years, primarily in commercials and industrials.  August Evening is her first feature.

 

RAQUEL GAVIA – as Maria
Raquel was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas.  She currently teaches French at Austin Community College and has appeared in numerous films and Austin stage productions.  Most recently, Raquel played the role of Rita in Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation.

 

CESAR FLORES – as Salazar
Cesar is a core member and a 30 years plus Veterano of El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista, California.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton and an Emergency Teaching Credential from the State of California for K-12 and Special Education.  Cesar was born in a migrant labor camp in the state of Michigan and raised in Crystal City, Texas.

 

 

 

Crew Biographies

 

 

CHRIS ESKA – Writer, Director, Editor
Chris was raised in Ottine, Texas (pop. 98) and studied sociology and art at Rice University before attending UCLA’s MFA film directing program. His short films have screened on PBS, at the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Competition, the Texas Filmmaker’s Showcase, and at festivals worldwide. After taking a one-year leave of absence from UCLA to backpack across India and Asia, Chris returned to Japan to produce Doki-Doki, his master’s thesis film. Doki-Doki premiered on the national PBS series Independent Lens with an introduction by Susan Sarandon.  August Evening is his first feature and was nominated for two 2008 Independent Spirit Awards, where it won the John Cassavetes Award. 

 

CONNIE HILL – Producer
Connie is the director of interactive education for the PBS station serving Houston and southeast Texas. She is responsible for educational technology projects and online educational content for local productions. She has received Telly Awards and the Lone Star Emmy Award for her work on HoustonPBS programs. Recently, she was script supervisor for the short film, Abbey’s Road. Connie is also a certified teacher in Elementary Education PK-6 and English as a Second Language PK-12.

 

JASON WEHLING – Producer
Jason grew up in Georgetown, Texas and met Chris while studying at Rice University. While there, he wrote, directed and edited numerous projects, including a feature narrative called Lemmy Lemmm… In 2002, he was hired by PBS headquarters outside Washington, DC, to evaluate projects and proposals for the national primetime schedule, and in 2005, he returned to Texas to produce August Evening. Recently, Jason associate produced an award-winning documentary called A Place to Dance and worked as coordinating producer on an episode of Forecast Earth for The Weather Channel.

 

YASU TANIDA – Director of Photography
Yasu is a Los Angeles based cinematographer having photographed award-winning feature films, music videos, and commercials.  He holds a BFA from Chapman University where he won the Einstein Award and the Kodak Best Cinematography Award in 2001.  Some of Yasu’s work include Olatunde Osunsanmi’s The Cavern for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Greg Hatanaka’s Until the Night, and the upcoming Ways of the Flesh for Dennis Cooper, and Universal Remote for Gary Hardwick.  This is Yasu’s second collaboration with Chris, having shot his award-winning short film Doki-Doki in Tokyo, Japan. 

 

JONATHAN HUGHES – Original Music
Jonathan works as a musician and graphic designer in Buffalo, New York.  He composes mainly electronic music, and also plays bass and guitar.  He has released two records of ambient music on the San Francisco based label The Foundry —"Trillium" in 2002 and  "Fluidities" in 2005.  In addition to August Evening, he has  composed music for the documentaries Dishes and Donut Day. 

 

WINDY & CARL – Music
After a lifetime of listening to and being influenced by music, Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren began writing music together in 1993. After self-releasing early works on their own Blueflea record label, in 1997 Kranky Ltd in Chicago adopted Windy & Carl onto the label – a place they still fondly call home. Depths (1997), Consciousness (2001), and The Dreamhouse (2005) are all on Kranky. While it may be hard to define Windy & Carl’s sound, the guitars, bass, occasional keyboard and vocals are generally ambient in nature – music great for coloring the background or forefront of any activity – walks in the park, driving, afternoon naps. They create music with a wide range of atmospheres – from a warm fuzzy blanket to a deep ocean to the open spaces of a frozen Antarctic. Windy & Carl spend much of their time running their own record store in Dearborn, Michigan – Stormy Records.

Source: August Evening