“Awesome Asian Bad Guys,” co-directed by and starring Patrick Epino, is featured on the X1 International destination this October in the Filipino-American Heritage Month collection. We had the pleasure of asking Patrick what inspired his filmmaking journey and how his Filipino-American heritage influences his work.
Tell us about your film featured on X1 this month!
Patrick Epino: “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” is about a motley crew of washed up Asian-bad-guy actors who team up to take down Los Angeles’ most nefarious mob boss. Set in present-day Los Angeles but packed with homages to classic ’80s and ’90s action movies. “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” is an ode to the tough-as-nails actors who built their careers getting pulverized, impaled, and literally blown to bits. By becoming the heroes of their own story, these often overlooked icons fight for and earn the recognition, respect, and redemption they’ve long deserved.
How did you get into filmmaking?
PE: I watched a lot of movies and television growing up, but when I started seeing films like Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” and “Crooklyn” as well as the Hughes brothers’ “Menace II Society,” I started understanding film’s power as a storytelling medium. Those films were the gateway to works from other cultures and eras and led to me picking up a camera in the first place.
What are some films and/or filmmakers that have inspired you?
PE: Outside of those mentioned above, I’d say “Dead Man” by Jim Jarmusch, “The Godfather,” “The Breakfast Club,” films by John Cassavetes, and the woefully underrated “Cabin Boy” starring Chris Elliott. I also have a great respect for what Aziz Ansari, Issa Rae and Donald Glover have been able to accomplish.
Do you have a favorite Asian-American film?
PE: “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” because of its sheer resonance and relevance today. When I first saw that film in the ’90s, it was a document about the past. Now it’s a document about our present and foreseeable future. In addition, I always liked “Chan Is Missing” because you get to see old school San Francisco Chinatown and also because of the concept of defining Chinatown by defining the void of who’s not there, the Charlie Chan stereotype.
How does your Asian heritage influence your work?
PE: It’s one of the lenses I see the world through. There are so many things that define who and what a person is, and clearly today, ethnicity is a profound one. It’s a shared experience and the starting point for a lot of ideas. Growing up Asian American, specifically Filipino-American, I was aware of my otherness and being different. But once you understand that being different is your greatest strength, it can become one hell of a superpower.
What is your outlook on the state of Asian-American cinema?
PE: I think it’s in a solid place. It’s not yet where it needs to be, but it’s in a better position than it was 10 years ago and 20 years before that. There are so many talented storytellers on all platforms making noise today that Asian-American cinema will only continue to grow and evolve. We all just gotta keep remembering that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Patrick Epino! Watch “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” in the Filipino-American Heritage Month collection on your X1 International destination or with XFINITY Stream this October.
For more Filmmaker Spotlights or Asian-American news and entertainment visit XFINITY Asia.