I’m Abigail Prade. After completing my MFA at the Tisch School of the Arts, I’m about to shoot my first film outside of film school: A Mutual Understanding. A Mutual Understanding is an international short film about an unconventional relationship between a young Filipino woman and a disabled war veteran that deals with themes of gender and stereotype.
A MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
The film tells the story of Amihan, a young Filipino woman who enters a marriage of convenience with the disabled American war veteran Paul. Their relationship is one that is not based on love, but on a purely businesslike arrangement: Amihan takes care of Paul and in return she gets financial stability and a residence permit. We follow Amihan as she learns to navigate her new life in a new country, while struggling to balance this new life with her personal desires. Although Amihan and Paul have made a choice that most people wouldn’t make, this film doesn’t want to turn either characters in a victim or a villain. It is simply about two people who are trying to make the most of their lives.
Abigail directing actors on set, photo by Abhilash Chandra
With this film I want to confront the viewer with his or her own assumptions and preconceived notions. We are all familiar with terms like: mail-order bride, trophy wife, and gold digger. We have seen depictions of such quid-pro-quo relationships in trashy reality TV shows and documentaries. We find the women who are in these types of relationships calculating and cold and the men perverts or fools.
Our approach to this film does not seek to judge either of the characters, but by focusing on the banalities and absurdities of Amihan and Paul’s daily life we hope to come to a deeper understanding of them. As a storyteller I’m drawn to the things in our life that are both funny and sad. I think the situation in our film is both of these things and tells us a lot about the human condition. My aim is to present a compassionate portrait of two people in an unconventional relationship that circumvents stereotype.
We are very excited that the acclaimed actress Mercedes Cabral has signed on to play the role of Amihan in the film. Not only is Mercedes a regular fixture in the international independent film scene, playing in the films of renowned directors such as Brilliante Mendoza and Park Chan-wook, she is also from the Philippines. We believe that her perspective and collaboration in making this film will help us flesh out the character of Amihan and present a complex woman that rejects the gender and ethnicity stereotypes that are commonly presented.
Mercedes Cabral at the Venice International Film Festival.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
We have already received a lot of support from different parties (CBK Rotterdam, New York University, and the cast and crew who all agree to work for free). But making films is expensive and we need your help to pay for all the unsexy things that go into making a film, such as insurance, equipment, transportation, accommodation, and food. We need your support to make this film into a reality. Any contribution will help us.
We have high hopes that this film will reach a big international audience as our previous films have screened at top international film festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, and Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
ABIGAIL IN THE PRESS
On the set of FUTURE PERFECT (2017), photo by Bright Hyunseok Lee.
This project is made possible by: