The writer/director of SXSW award winner Raging Grace is inspired by the work of writers including Sally Wainwright, Sharon Horgan, Nathan Bryon and Craig Mazin
British Filipino filmmaker Paris Zarcilla is writing the screenplay for the second in his planned ‘Rage’ trilogy of films that explores the dichotomy of diaspora life through the prism of genre. The first is Raging Grace, one of the standout features at this year’s SXSW festival, where it won best narrative feature and the Thunderbird Rising award. Blue Finch Film is handling sales and UK distribution.
Domestic is set in the same British Filipino community and will be about a couple who run a cafe in 1990s London and undertake covert missions to rescue domestic workers from abusive employers. “I want to show how rich our lives are,” says Zarcilla. “For so long, [Filipino characters] have just been backgrounded in film and TV, and I would like to make a concerted effort to change that.” He is reteaming with producer and 2021 Screen Star of Tomorrow Chi Thai on the project.
Zarcilla has previously made several shorts including Pommel, which was nominated for a Bifa for best British short in 2018. He also wrote and directed TV drama The Century Egg for Singapore’s StarHub channel through Refinery Media, and served as second-unit director on Sally Wainwright’s upcoming Disney+ series The Ballad Of Renegade Nell. While Zarcilla is enthusiastic about the UK filmmaking landscape, his experiences have forced him to look further afield. “I would love to have my career here, but I’ve yet to be hired.
“Historically, this is a very white industry with a very high bar of entry,” Zarcilla continues of the barriers he has faced. “I don’t believe [the UK industry] fully understands the richness of the storytelling from a younger, diverse generation. A lot of people like myself see America as the place where people don’t take a chance on you, they make you their choice.”
While his first features are deeply personal projects, Zarcilla is now open to opportunities that will allow him to work with talented people. “I’ve always been a fan of people like [writers] Sally Wainwright, Russell T Davies and Sharon Horgan,” he says. “I would particularly like to collaborate with writers Craig Mazin [The Last Of Us], Mika Watkins [YouTube Originals’ Origin], Nathan Bryon [Rye Lane] and a new guy called Lee Sung Jin, who has done a series called Beef [starring Steven Yeun and Ali Wong and produced by A24] for Netflix. I’ve seen the first two episodes and I just thought it was extraordinary.”