A young man is lured into the world of backyard boxing in order to save his mother's life..
“A young man is lured into the world of backyard boxing in order to save his mother's life.”
As a sick mother nods off to sleep, her teenage son, Cross, anxiously sits with his new role as the family’s breadwinner. Rather than spend his night with a girl or at a house party, Cross sneaks out to handle the thick stack of medical bills.
On the outskirts of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Cross meets with Salvador, his coworker from a nearby packing and shipping plant. Salvador leads Cross into the dark arena of backyard boxing where he’s set to face off against a fighter almost twice his size.
The odds stacked against him, Cross will discover if he’s got what it takes in the ring and what it takes to be a man.
After photographing his two friends boxing in the backyard, writer/director Gerry Maravilla developed a story about trying to find your way into a profession that you have no connections to, while also balancing responsibilities to your family and culture.
With this script, he saw an opportunity to explore the intersection of Filipino and Mexican culture -- something he saw every day growing up in the San Fernando Valley, but never depicted in media.
In order to showcase the dramatic potential of this narrative, Maravilla wrote a short that would act as a proof of concept for the feature film, CROSS.
To tell this culturally authentic story, Maravilla and Executive Producer B. Rich Adams of BrightSparks Entertainment teamed up with Melanie DiPietro and Leo Oliva of MAD Elephant INC. Together they raised $15,000 via the crowdfunding platform Seed & Spark.
Throughout the 30 day campaign, they utilized a strategy that included outreach via social media ( Twitter / Facebook / Instagram ) coupled with a grassroots campaign to community organizations such as #WeOwnThe8th and FilAm Creative.
The projects earned the endorsements of KISS FM radio personality Manny Streetz, Olympic boxer Brian Viloria, actress Bai Ling and Director of Diversity Programs at NBCUniversal, Grace Borrero-Moss.
With financing secured, the filmmakers began production in the fall of 2014 with Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley as the backdrop.
The short film premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival as part of the ‘Top 8’ shorts program. It went on to screen at the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival, San Francisco Latino Film Festival, DC Asian Pacific Film Festival, San Antonio Film Festival, Highland Park Film Festival and the inaugural RAW film festival.
The team now looks to secure financing for the feature and bring the film to audiences everywhere.
Cross the feature-film follows the title-character as he navigates the world of backyard boxing.
Young, dedicated and eager to prove himself, 19-year old Cross continues on his journey of blood for cash to continue making ends meet and forge a path as a boxer.
After he subdues a violent drunk, a local fight promoter approaches Cross for an upcoming match. He mentors Cross and promises him a lucrative career. However, Cross finds difficulty in juggling multiple jobs, commitments to his family, and his new career in backyard fighting.
With plans to utilize many of the same cast and crew, the feature will continue the story, characters and world established in the short film, while also introducing more diverse cast members that enrich the themes of this narrative.
A completed treatment and budget breakdown is available for those interested. Contact us below.
Gerry Maravilla is an independent filmmaker and the writer/director of “Cross”.
After successfully crowdfunding this short film on Seed&Spark, he joined their team as a crowdfunding specialist. He now serves as the Head of Crowdfunding and spearheads the team with the highest crowdfunding success rate in the world — 75%!
”Cross” has screened at festivals across the country including the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, the San Francisco Latino Film Festival and many others.
Gerry recently wrapped post-production on his latest short, “Desert” and is hard at work on his next projects: “The Contextualist”, a new short film, and THE HALLOWEEN CLUB, a feature length social thriller.
B. Rich Adams is the CEO of BrightSparks Entertainment & T.E.A.P.O.T, LLC.
With a varied and diverse background in music production, technology, hosting, TV production and screenwriting, he has worked on numerous creative and commercial projects, from chart topping singles and music videos to award winning shorts and commercials.
Melanie DiPietro is the CEO of M.A.D. Elephant, Inc. After editing for 10 years, she got her start in producing at the University of Miami where she produced three award winning short films, two of which were screened at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. After moving to LA in 2011, she has worked on several projects as Producer, Assistant Director, or Script Supervisor. Her latest feature film, THE SHIFT, starring Leo Oliva and Danny Glover, won the Audience Choice Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in 2013 and just secured domestic distribution. THE SHIFT was the first feature she produced with her producing partner, Leo Oliva. The team has several projects in development.
Leo Oliva is an actor with a business mindset driven by his need to tell compelling stories.
Leo wrote, produced and starred in his own film THE SHIFT alongside Danny Glover. This film was the first project he worked on with his producing partner, Melanie DiPietro. THE SHIFT obtained international distribution with much acclaim.
Leo has continued to work alongside Melanie on multiple projects solidifying their Ultra-High Quality producing style.
In addition, Leo has continued to pursue his acting career with recent roles in TV shows such as “The Last Ship”, “NCIS:LA”, “Scorpion”, and “I LOVE DICK” as well as independent features.
Jason Sistona is a multi-faceted artist whose passions include acting, writing, recording music, and directing.
From movie nights during the weekends, to watching his mother lead choir in church, the Los Angeles native cites his creative upbringing along with his family’s love for film and music as his main influences.
In film, Jason has accumulated works that have been screened in festivals throughout the country including the Newport Beach Festival, San Antonio Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
In music, Hip-Hop is Jason’s chosen genre in which he has performed all over California in areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County. His subject matter deals with the struggle of self-identity.