The Interpreter at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego

Wanderlustproject Films’ latest offering, The Interpreter under Esperanza Films had its successful private screening on November 30th at the Museum of Photographic Arts located within the historic Balboa Park in San Diego.

The 25-minute short film helmed by Benito Bautista was fully shot in Tokyo in early August and wrapped its post production in Manila with Studio Cuento Films in late November.

The story starts with Jacob, an American traveling in Tokyo who has been flirt-texting via a dating app with Hiromi, an independent college student. Jacob hires an interpreter named Kaito, a young Japanese American, as he pursues to meet Hiromi in person. Kaito strives to be efficient in interpreting for his client Jacob while desperately trying to resist falling for Hiromi.

Their encounter is filled with disguised glances, each of them quietly imagining a future while momentarily stuck in the experience of their encounter and unaware of the misfortune ahead.

“I have always been fascinated by the global experience of dating in the digital age, the treatment by its participants as if it’s a game of sorts and the false sense of security effected by misinformation. And in a gentle and kind society like Japan where love is not casually expressed but longed for, I wanted to tell a story of love and longing, Google translation, the idea of online dating and its precarious state,” says Bautista on the reason why he came about The Interpreter concept.

“Then early in the year, I chanced upon a story of an American traveler in Japan who dated online a young Japanese woman that ended in an unfortunate circumstance. There was not much written about the horrific event except what’s on the surface, so together with [producer/co-writer] Emma Francisco, we ventured into writing a story loosely based on that and the impressions we get from the stories of our friends and acquaintances who have used online dating.

Having created mainly feature films both in documentary and narrative forms, The Interpreter is Bautista’s third short narrative film to date. Bautista is currently on board a feature documentary film called The Road to Sydney (working title) as the film’s writer and director under OneUp Studio Films, a San Francisco-based film outfit. The Road to Sydney is scheduled to be finished in late 2019. One of Bautista’s notable previous films include Harana: the Search for the Lost Art of Serenade (2013 Audience Award winner at the Hawaii International Film Festival, CAAMFest in San Francisco, and at Pacific Arts Movement’s Spring Showcase in San Diego), which screened at prestigious film festivals such as the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and Seattle International Film Festival, to name a few. Bautista also directed the cult-classic feature documentary called The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within that has become part of Stanford University’s SPICE program (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education). For his feature narrative debut, Bautista directed the crime thriller BOUNDARY. BOUNDARY, fully shot in Manila, won the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Best Film award at the 2012 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and the Southeast Asian Award from the CineManila International Film Festival on the same year.

The Interpreter stars Tokyo-based actors Kumi Takiuchi (Side Job, Greatful Dead), Kai Issey (Waiting for Sunrise, The Unwanted), and San Diego-based actor, Joshua Eusebio.

Plans to submit The Interpreter short film to local and international film festivals are already underway. To learn more about the film and about upcoming screenings, you may follow The Interpreter on Instagram @theinterpreterfilm or on Facebook @interpretershortfilm.

All photos by Christian Villareal @keepitvillareal on Instagram


Guests lining up for The Interpreter
One of The Interpreter’s lead actors Joshua Eusebio greets the guests


Audience members during the Q&A portion of the screening


L-R: Q&A moderator Leah Lombos; actor Joshua Eusebio; musical composer Payton Quintel; writer/director/co-producer Benito Bautista; producer and co-writer Emma Francisco


Q&A moderators Justin Ricafort and Leah Lombos



Audience members congratulate actor Joshua Eusebio after the screening