Dallas, Texas – Hollywood actor Cory Kays and Filipino-American Director and Producer Danny Aguilar, President and Founder of Carpe Diem Pictures based in Dallas, Texas USA collaborate in an upcoming film “TITLEHOLDER.”
Written by and stars multi-award-winning Hollywood actor Cory Kays, ‘Titleholder’ follows the journey of an American Boxer who struggles to make ends meet with his boxing career in the United States. He travels to the Philippines under the aide of his Filipino childhood best friend and experiences authentic Filipino culture including, beauty pageants, karaoke, basketball, and of course boxing. While there, he falls in love with an aspiring beauty queen as he begins to figure out what he’s fighting for.
Genre: Sports Drama, Romance
Tag Line: “Everyone needs something to fight for.” Logline
A street-tough American boxer travels to the Philippines to enhance his skills and unexpectedly falls in love with an aspiring beauty queen.
Blanco, a street-tough American boxer, contently makes his living as a journeyman fighting in rundown bars, gymnasiums, and small convention centers. Tired of seeing him battered for little to no money, his best friend Alvin asks what he is fighting for – a question Blanco is unable to answer.
Alvin encourages Blanco to relocate to the Philippines in order to train under to the tutelage of Benjie, the pupil of Alvin’s late grandfather. Initially resistant to the idea, Blanco embarks on a journey into the Philippines which begins with a standoff against a confrontational cock-fighting rooster.
He is then thrust into Filipino culture by Benjie and Alvin’s grandmother, Victoria. Benjie arranges for Blanco to be an honorary foreign judge at a local beauty pageant where he awkwardly meets Luzviminda, an aspiring beauty queen. The two begin an unlikely friendship budding into romance.
Blanco and Luzviminda find themselves on the same path to redemption leading to a coveted beauty pageant and a hostile boxing showdown with current champion, Magtanggol. Two titles are on the line as Blanco begins to learn what he is fighting for.
Diversity in Hollywood still has a long way to go, especially in representing a subsection of the Asian-American community – Filipino Americans. Although the representation of Asian- Americans is still a work in progress, the success of the movie “Parasite” as the first foreign language film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture signifies that diversity is in demand and has proven films with subtitles and local language content have appeal.
I was involved in the conceptualization and story development of Titleholder, a sports drama mixed with romance and a cross-cultural flare. Titleholder highlights the most popular past times in the Philippines: boxing, beauty pageants, basketball and karaoke.
As a storyteller, nothing is more compelling and authentic for me than telling stories that hit home. Titleholder is very personal to me because it represents my whole being: heritage, culture, family, people and the Philippines. I cannot think of a better way to showcase my heritage than in the form of a motion picture.
I immigrated to the United States from the Philippines three decades ago.
In many ways, my journey is similar to the journey of our protagonist. Blanco, a street-tough American boxer, travels to the Philippines to train and in the process learns what he’s fighting for as he unexpectedly falls in love with an aspiring beauty queen.
In directing this movie, I’ve been privileged to show the Philippines through my eyes and through the eyes of Blanco, so the audience can experience how he navigates this new-found place and adopted family. Blanco’s courage, determination and resilience are bound to strike a chord as people can appreciate and relate to his struggles and his outlook on life.
Each of us is a Titleholder, much like a boxer or a beauty queen, but in different capacities. Just like our tag line “Everyone needs something to fight for,” everyone has a mission, advocacy or life’s purpose. It is my goal to put the Philippines on the proverbial Hollywood map and for people all over the world to recognize that the Philippines has more to offer than gorgeous beaches, warm hospitality, close family ties and delicious cuisine. (Photos and press release by Danny Aguilar)