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


Design+Story on Lifestyle Network

Get inspired and learn about the creative process of award-winning filmmaker Benito Bautista of Wanderlustproject Films and reggae musician Roman de Peralta of Kolohe Kai music. Learn insights about storytelling through cinema and song-writing as these two share their personal and creative experiences as artists and athletes on Design+Story.

If you’ve seen the premiere of Design+Story last Sunday on Lifestyle Network, there will be a follow up Q&A event with our very own Benito Bautista on June 15, 2016 via Facebook Live at 6:00pm, Pacific time.

Simply log onto your Facebook account and visit Design+Story Live Sessions with Benito Bautista.


And if you’ve missed watching the Design+Story full episode, you can still catch it here.


HARANA on PBS nationwide this May

For those who’ve missed the internationally acclaimed documentary film HARANA: the search for the lost art of serenade by Benito Bautista in theaters, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is presenting the film along with ten other films as part of the “Filipino American Lives” series hosted by Ms. Lea Salonga. This will air on PBS nationwide in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month on May 2015. Please check your local listings for schedules.

To learn more, visit


Wanderlustproject Films in Bordeaux, France

Bus Bdx Cafe2

After nine months of absence from our site, we are finally back!  We’ve got lots of stories to tell, but let me start off by saying that we’ve been out and about “wandering” and working on a new feature crime drama (under Tandem Entertainment in association with Wanderlustproject Films) that is inspired by true events that happened in Manila, Philippines not too long ago.  And one of the locations we were lucky enough to have visited and shot (at least partially) this film in is in the charming city of Bordeaux, France.

We began the first leg of our production in this beautiful city, and we couldn’t have asked for a better start: the weather was perfect, our French co-production partner, Dublin Films, were able to accommodate our schedule, and Dublin Films was just the perfect collaborator, giving us what we needed for our shoot — all the cast, crew, and equipment – you name it, they delivered everything wonderfully.  From our weeks of virtual pre-production via emails and Skype to our actual meeting to do pre-prod and location scouting in Bordeaux to make our three-day shoot run smoothly and successfully, David Hurst and his wonderful team just made it happen.  We have, of course, to thank Franck Priot of Film France for connecting us and making everything easy for us to find the perfect match to collaborate with in this particular film we are working on.

But it’s not over yet.  We still have so much to do to finish this film, and we cannot wait to tell you more about the film, what it is all about, and who are the people behind it.  Stay tuned!


BOUNDARY on Vimeo on Demand

Manila Landscape 2

After two years since its journey around the international film festival circuit and its limited theatrical releases in Metro Manila and the United States, BOUNDARY – a crime-thriller we produced under Benito Bautista’s direction – is now available to rent or buy online via Vimeo on Demand.

We’re finally embracing the not-so-new but very modern technology of video-on-demand, or VOD, as one form of self-distribution for some of the films we’ve produced.  In the past, we were reluctant to succumb to this crazy idea of watching a movie from the small monitors of our computers.  We were stuck to this whole romantic experience of being inside a huge darkened room, watching a film with a bunch of popcorn-eating strangers, and reveling from these strangers’ laughs, cries, and gasps as we all watch the same film.

BOUNDARY is the first film that we’re going to launch into the world of VOD.  One major reason why we decided to do so is because we wanted to reach as many viewers as possible.  And by VOD, we can easily reach audience from around the world simultaneously.  It’s also good to know that your film gets to be seen anytime, anywhere and not just being shelved somewhere dark and dusty.  It’s great that independent filmmakers like us have other options other than going the traditional route of distribution, which is searching for a distribution company that can take good care of your film’s social life (quite a challenge to do).  We also have this option to self-distribute and have the power to control the fate and the direction of our films.

Don’t get us wrong though: we are still in love with the smell of butter on popcorn mixed with the musty smell of an old theater.  That’s why you can still expect future screenings of our films in a theater near you.

boundary final poster



The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within Update

We are happy to announce that Stanford University’s Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) has recently published a Teacher’s Guide for The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within (dir. Benito Bautista).  The guide was written by Will Gutierrez and Victoria Yee.

The Gift of Barong is a feature documentary film about two generations of Filipino Americans – Dan and Jon – who both grew up resenting their ethnicity and disassociating themselves from their Filipino background.  However, both Dan and Jon experienced personal awakenings that led them to start thinking about who they are and wonder about their family’s true heritage.  Together, the two embarked on a journey to the Philippines to learn about their culture and history and to somehow reconnect with their country of descent.  They did this by way of surfing various Philippine surf breaks in different regions of the country, being avid surfers that they are.

The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within is more than a story about finding one’s roots and reconciling identities.  The film also encourages viewers to consider the legacies of previous and present immigrants as well as the push-and-pull factors behind immigration.  As the world becomes increasingly globalized, it is now more important than ever to learn about diverse cultures and explore different perspectives on ethnicity, identity, and migration.”*

*Excerpt from A Teacher’s Guide for The Gift of Barong: a Journey from Within by Will Gutierrez and Victoria Yee


True to our mission, we at Wanderlustproject Films have been traveling and making stories based on interesting and colorful events we’ve found along our paths.  From Mumbai, Seoul, Manila, and now to California, we’re finally back in our home base and ready to sit down and absorb it all!

Pardon our dust as we do our best to bring you our new, simple but shiny spot on the web:!

Sit back, relax, and don’t forget to visit again to see further improvements on our site.  In the meantime, let us unpack our bags and dust off all our offerings to you folks out there.