“It Has To Do With Me” A Columbia University Thesis film directed by Singaporean Edwin Ho and written by Antonio Luco B.6 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
Too young to feel anything but anguish, It Has To Do With Me is about a young teenager, Reuben whose life of hedonistic privilege becomes an unbearable nightmare.
A desert town.
Reuben is rich, smart, beautiful, experienced in drugs and disaffection. It’s the summer after high school, and what should be an endless pool party is ruined by the presence of Leandro, his mother’s new toy-boy boyfriend. There is just not enough place in the mansion for both of them. Reuben looks for refuge in Lucas, the pool boy, his latest object of desire, as well as Valerie, his best friend and long time property. But things do not go well with the two of them after some partying, drinks and an unknown drug in the desert. Pushed to the edge and filled with the anger of losing his possessions, Reuben has a first hand encounter with the devil inside him.
And some doors, once opened, cannot be closed.
About the film
Diving into a dark corner of a character’s mind, It Has To Do With Me plays on the psychological tension of a young mind in a nightmare trip that ends in violence. Drawn to the complex dynamics between the character and his environment, Edwin wants to bring out the desire and inhibitions of the veneered exterior of the protagonist. To surface all these feelings and turn them into visuals is a challenging but worthwhile one.
Taking a leaf from Bret Easton Ellis or Roberto BolaÃ±o, the void and fear portrayed by the characters is almost comprehensible yet not completely explained. This leaves room for interpretation amongst the audience. The anxiety experienced by the main protagonist is well spread and whlist he has the resources and freedom to explore, his foray is not a joyful one.
This production will see an international collaboration between creatives from Singapore, Chile and America. Edwin Ho’s previous work’s The Perfect Grey, was last featured in Sinema in 2013 before he moved to New York City to pursue his MFA in Film Directing at Columbia University.
It Has To Do With me is based on Antonio B Luco’s feature screenplay, The Devil’s Dust. There are plans to use the short as a teaser to further develop the feature. The film will be produced by a New York based, Singaporean Film producer, Steven Chua.
They have just launched their Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign and are in the process of crowd-funding for their film. The team are seeking support through the crowd-funding platform to raise the production cost USD15,000.
Money raised from the crowdfunding project will help to fund the production in Utah and in hiring of the cast and crew, welfare of the cast and crew, locations hiring, equipment, transportation, other logistical cost and post-production.
The film is slated for release in May 2017. It will have its premiere at the Internationally Renowned Lincoln Center during the 30th Columbia University Film Festival with a week-long program of screenings, screenplay and teleplay readings and special panels in New York. The festival will also continue with events to be announced for June 2017 in Los Angeles. We plan to also send this film into festivals around the world to get the most traction as much as possible and further develop this into the feature.
The Creative Team
DIRECTOR | EDWIN HO is a New York based Asian director/writer originally from Singapore. He moved to New York City in 2013 to pursue his MFA in Film Directing at Columbia University. Prior to that he graduated with a BA in communication degree majoring in advertising and film in Singapore. His previous work has been showcased in his home country and various film festivals around the world. His previous short film “El Gris Perfecto”, shot on location in Barcelona, was given the short film grant by the Media Authority of Singapore (MDA) and also funded by the the Catalan Tourism Board and Wee Kim Wee Foundation. He won the special jury award at the 11th Chinese Film & TV Festival in Hong Kong and was also awarded the MDA travel grant for festivals participation with his film.
WRITER | ANTONIO LUCO B. studied film in the Catholic University of Chile, and has worked as a writer, director and editor. He edited the feature film Manuel de Ribera (2010, Dir. Christopher Murray and Pablo Carrera), that premiered in the International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2010, and won the Santiago Film Festival SANFIC 2010. He is one of the creators of the micro documentaries web platform MAFI.tv, Official Selection of the IDFA competition of Digital Storytelling 2012. The same collective behind MAFI.tv made the feature doc Propaganda (2014), premiered at Visions du Reel 2014, where he worked as a screenwriter. His feature documentary Beaverland (2014), was awarded with the Tribeca Film Institute Latin American Fund and premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014, and has been screened in many film festivals around the world. Beaverland won the Best Chilean Movie award in the 2014 Festival Internacional de Cine de Valdivia. Antonio is a Fulbright Scholar and an MFA candidate at Columbia University.
LEAD PRODUCER | STEVEN CHUA is a New York based Singaporean Producer. He received his undergraduate education from Cornell and a Master of Architecture from Columbia. He began his career in film at Fox Searchlight Pictures after receiving an MBA from The University of Chicago. During his three-year tenure in the specialty film division, he played an integral role in the acquisition and distribution of numerous feature films, In America (2003), Millions (2004), Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Garden State (2004), Sideways (2004), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Notes of A Scandal (2006), among many others. While at Searchlight, Chua also produced a short film, Elevator People, in conjunction with SearchLab – the incubation arm of Searchlight.
In 2006, Chua became interested in digital film distribution, and joined Microsoft Corporation to launch XBOX LIVE video marketplace. For the next five years, Chua was influential in helping the division execute its digital video initiatives, and structured and negotiated licensing agreements with global film distributors and TV networks. Chua returned to New York in 2012, and joined Verizon FiOS’s Content Acquisitions & Digital Strategy Group. At Verizon, he was a lead negotiator for RedBox Instant (a Verizon/RedBox joint venture) with numerous film distributors and SVOD providers as it acquired for multiscreen and Over The Top rights. While completing his MFA in Film at Columbia University, Chua rejoined Verizon where he leads the original content development initiatives for go90.
CINEMATOGRAPHER | ALEJANDRO MEJIA is a lefty Mexican-born cinematographer whose work has been featured at Berlin, TriBeCa, Slamdance, Cabos, Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro and Morelia among other film festivals around the world. He won the Panavision Award for Best Short Film “Marta Rosa” at the Palm Springs International ShortFest 2015. Based in Mexico City his work ranges from fiction films and commercials for brands such as Nike and Red Bull to music videos and film. Recently he was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus 2016 from over 2.600 applicants from 118 countries. His first feature as a DP, Asteroid, premiered at the 2014 Miami Film Festival.
Contact number: +1 (917)-406-2958
Crowdfunding page: https://igg.me/at/ithastodowithme
A mood trailer for the film: https://vimeo.com/176696552