Two Shadows stars Sophea Pel and tells the story of a young woman who receives a letter claiming that her long-lost brother and sister are still alive, she travels to her birthplace alone to seek out her two siblings who disappeared during the civil war in Cambodia 20 years earlier. Inset: The film was produced by West Seattle raised Christen Marquez.
REMINDER: 'Two Shadows' film premiere Nov. 4 marks return of West Seattle's Christen Marquez
When the feature film "Two Shadows" premieres at the Admiral Theater it will be the latest hallmark of success for West Seattle raised Christen Hepuakoa Marquez the film's producer. Marquez, who describes herself as "a third generation West Seattleite" will attend the premiere on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1:40pm.
“I am incredibly excited to bring this film back to West Seattle. I actually worked in the pizza shop (now Luciano's) that is attached to The Admiral in high school. It was called Jorge's back then."
The film's story follows Cambodian-American heroine Sovanna (Sophea Pel), who receives a letter claiming that her long lost brother and sister are still alive. In a snap decision, Sovanna ditches her evening routine of drifting through hipster dive bars to brave a solo journey through the backroads of Cambodia in search of her two missing siblings. From the moment she arrives she finds herself in unsettling territory as she is pulled into increasingly dangerous situations in the hope of reuniting her family.
This storyline hits close to home for the film’s star Sophea Pel. Most her family escaped from Cambodia and eventually resettled in the U.S. In 1990. It wasn’t until 2007, two years before production of Two Shadows, that Pel and her father returned to Cambodia to meet her youngest brother and bring him back to the U.S. “It was my first time back in Cambodia and the first time reuniting with my brother after over 20 years of separation,” Pel said.
Marquez said, "For most of my childhood the Admiral Theater was closed and I was jealous of my Dad's would stories about seeing movies there as a boy. He talked about the lobby's ornate nautical theme. It always seemed like such a shame that it was just sitting there. It wasn't until I was in middle school that the Admiral Theater finally opened it's doors for business again. From what my father says the theater is pretty much the same as it was when he went there as a kid. I think the resurrection of the Admiral is a great example of what makes West Seattle great. Itʻs a community that proudly supports local history. There is a great pride for things from West Seattle or "Best Seattle" as we all know it."
But many who have gotten their start here leave to spread their wings and Marquez is one who did.
"By my Junior year of high school as a teenager rebelling against what was safe and familiar the tight knit West Seattle community began to feel limiting," Marquez explained.
"Between selling donuts and slices I began to dream about where life might take me after West Seattle. For me the road to filmmaking for me began with taking video making classes at a program downtown called Reel Grrls and after high school I left to go to college at Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn. Although I eventually graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Art from NYU in Film and Television. Since graduating film school I have worked almost every job in Production from cable wrangler and film loader up to now Director and Producer. It's taken a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point in my career and there is still a long way to go, but I am really proud to come back home and share what I have been doing with a place that was a huge part of my development."
Marquez' fond memories of the Admiral were central to her decision to hold the premiere there.
When the Director of Two Shadows, Greg Cahill and I talked about doing our Seattle premiere the first place I thought of was the Admiral Theater. I am pretty sure that it is a biased opinion but the Admiral is one of the best theaters in Seattle if not the country. Most people my age probably spent their Saturday nights in some megaplex theater at the mall. I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to watch movies in such a comfortable and community based theater. Where the marquee is still lit with neon and not LEDs and granite dolphins swim beneath your feet while you wait to buy popcorn from the concession stand."
“Many Americans are at least somewhat familiar with Pol Pot and the killing fields,” said Cahill. “But the aftermath of the killing fields is another story worth looking at.” With his debut feature film Cahill hopes to expand American awareness beyond the tragic past to the present state of recovery, which will hopefully usher in a brighter future.
Two Shadows is the winner of the Audience Award and Cinematography Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
To buy tickets visit http://seattle2shadows.eventbrite.com/ For additional information about the film and to watch the official movie trailer, visit www.twoshadowsmovie.com