ron morales' santa mesa on dvd

It's already been out for several months, but I've been meaning to post something about the DVD release of the indie coming-of-age drama Santa Mesa, written and directed by New York-based Filipino American filmmaker Ron Morales.

It's a solid, well-produced first feature that an enjoyed a nice film festival run last year, picking up good buzz and a handful of awards. If you missed it then, you can now catch it from the comfort of your couch. Here's the official synopsis:
After the death of his mother, 12-year-old Hector arrives in Manila to live permanently with his grandmother, Lita, a woman whom he has never met. Shortly after arriving, Hector meets Sel, a neighborhood teenage girl, and Miguel, along with Miguel's Barkada (street gang). Hector longing to find a connection to his new environment joins this group of petty hustlers in the hopes of getting closer to Sel, until one night Hector's initiation takes a wrong turn. Hector's clumsy actions get him caught while breaking into the home of Jose, a 59-year-old former photographer. Later, Hector finds himself having to work for Jose in order to compensate for his actions while keeping this secret from his new group of friends and his grandmother. Jose, a somewhat disconnected man, feels that he can pull Hector away from Miguel's street gang by using him to complete daily chores around the house. With all this time being spent with Jose, Hector stumbles across Jose's past.

For years, Jose has been spying on his daughter, Rosa, who is unaware of her birth father's identity. Oblivious to the "can of worms" Hector is about to open, he seizes this as an opportunity to repay Jose. He takes it upon himself to follow Rosa and reunite them. "SANTA MESA" is a warm tale about family values, love and friendship. It tackles life's biggest challenge - growing up.
The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 2008 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature at the 2008 San Diego Asian Film Festival, and Best Feature Film at the 2008 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. As you can see, this is a well-regarded film.

The DVD is available from Amazon.com Take a look at the trailer here. And for more info about the movie, visit the Santa Mesa website here.

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