Directed by John Paul Su
How far will your dream take you? One young man in the Philippines discovers it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
ANTONIO “TOTO” ESTARES comes from Tacloban, a place ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda. His mother has cancer. He works at a hotel in Manila, and tries every which way to get to the U.S. so he can support his family – which he’s been doing since his father died and left them penniless. His father had made it to Las Vegas, undocumented, to become a stage act and promised to petition his family, but he ended up a dishwasher who drank and gambled away everything. The only thing Toto inherited from his father is the obsession of the dream and fulfill his mother’s hope.
Toto makes one failed attempt after another to get a U.S. visa, risking friendships, relationships, his job, a lot of borrowed money, his dignity, and his heart. What he doesn’t realize is that, in a way, he’s already made it to America. The hotel is America. Its U.S. guests represent the good, the bad, and the ugly that make America. After Toto meets the bad and gets ripped off, he loses hope. Yet it’s a good American that helps Toto, in a most unexpected way.
TOTO is all about the power of the dream. Although the failures of his father follow him, and even haunt him, it’s the power of his father’s dream that fuels him, not just for himself, but for those he loves, to help better their lives and achieve their own dreams. Some call it the American Dream, but for those beyond the U.S. it’s simply “the dream”. After all, there’s a TOTO that resides in all of us.
Warning: Adult content
Post Screening Panel:
John Paul Su, Director/Writer/Producer, TOTO
Donald Martin, Writer/Producer, TOTO
Francisco Castelo, Story By Credit, TOTO
Clarissa Delos Reyes, Director of Photography, TOTO
Blake Boyd, Actor/Exec. Producer, TOTO
Liza Diño, Actor, TOTO
Carlo Cruz, Actor, TOTO
NYU Tisch alum, John Paul “JP” Su, won the Directors Guild of America’s Best Asian-American Student Filmmaker Award for his short film Pagpag (The Refuse). He is a Disney/ABC-DGA Directing Program alumnus, and currently one of the selected directors of NBCUniversal’s Emerging Directors Program. Toto is his debut feature film.