By Ronette Tibay
Independent Film “Daughter” was officially announced as an official selection of the 17th annual Orlando Film Festival to be held October 27-November 3, 2022.
Out of almost 1,000 entries from around the world, the short film directed and written by Yiwei Yao was selected among the top 300 featured films.
The crime drama movie entails the story of “Arthur”, a mourning father who investigates the death of his daughter due to a hit-and-run accident. Because of the lack of progress from the police force, he took matters into his own hands. With a vengeful heart, he pursued the person responsible, which led to another tragedy.
According to its director and writer, Yiwei Yao, the film’s concept was inspired by the sense of family and belonging. This kind of yearning started when he decided to live in the USA and pursue his education at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.
“As I moved to an unfamiliar country to live and study alone, I had a strong desire to meet other people. I wanted to be appreciated by others at the same time. I sought close relationships with other people, the ability to be trusted by others, and to have someone to rely on, “he explained.
The film’s main three characters perceptively show their desire to protect someone. Although they have the same purpose, the movie shows how their fates being on the opposite side of the story twisted their lives with one another.
Yao was very particular in casting the lead role, “Arthur” as it required an intense portrayal of lament, anger, depression, and pain. An audition was held all over the states, including the three biggest film capitals: New York City, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; and Los Angeles, California.
And when LA-based Filipino actor Anthony Sayo auditioned through Zoom, he deliberately handpicked him to graciously give justice to the role. Tweed Michael Manning (Officer White) and Jonathan Castro (Billy) were also cast alongside him.
Sayo admitted that it was a challenging role to portray, but his acting prowess was accentuated even more as his countenance delivered the emotions of his character very well.
“To play a dramatic role like this shows my range as an actor, and I’m happy to be able to showcase it to a bigger audience. It is not an easy role to fill. Sayo said.
As a performer, his goal is to be a compelling storyteller, and the film’s selection for one of the most prestigious festivals in the country is a milestone in his career. Sayo also portrayed starring roles in several independent short films such as Kaiketsu (2021), Tears at the Edge of the World (2022), and Night Owls (2022).
Dubbed as one of the Top 25 “Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by Moviemaker Magazine, the Orlando Film Festival is a competitive exhibition of screenplays and feature films from around the world, presenting over 40 filmmaking and screenwriting awards each year.
“I am very excited that our film was announced as an official selection at the Orlando Film Festival. This is an encouragement to the crew, the cast, and myself. It gives me the motivation to turn my vision into reality through films,” the director said.