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A Surprise Hit, Filipino-Theme Home Movie Filmed in Daly City Spawns Sequel

DALY CITY (KPIX ) -- After a Filipino-American home movie shot mostly in Daly City became a hit, the makers created a sequel, which has already won an award.

It's an action comedy featuring lumpia. The Filipino egg roll stars in two movies Patricio Ginelsa wrote and directed.

"We use it as a comic book device, as our main hero weaponized it to protect Fogtown, which is Daly City," Ginelsa explained.

As a 12-year-old kid, Ginelsa rounded up friends like 9-year-old Francis Custodio to make home movies about superheroes in their Daly City neighborhood.

During summertime, they would make movies in and around Hillside Park and share them with their friends at school.

Years later, as a film student at the University of Southern California, Ginelsa reunited the group in their hometown to make the movie, called Lumpia.

"It became somewhat of a cult hit," he said. "It's a wacky comedy. There's nothing wrong with having fun but it's also a movie that has a Filipino-American as our hero."

The sequel, Lumpia with a Vengeance, won the audience award for Best Narrative Film at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

The Lumpia films, which each took seven years to make, reflect growing up Filipino American and explore prejudice from within the ethnic community.

"There are stories that affected us growing up, such as bullying," Custodio said. "Filipinos that came from the Philippines versus Americanized Filipinos and how they interact among each other."

Riding on Lumpia's popularity, the sequel raised $50,000 in crowdfunding from almost 800 donors.

Former UFC fighter Mark Munoz and Hollywood star Danny Trejo joined the acting team.

Custodio, a partner at a San Francisco CPA firm, says the production has come a long way from the home movie days, when Ginelsa recorded with a camcorder and they used a boom microphone made with a hockey stick.

"We actually have a script. No more Patricio throwing us lines as we start filming you know," Custodio laughed.

They even created Lumpia comic books.

Led by Ginelsa, who now lives in Southern California and works at USC, the 200-plus member cast and crew are all part-time filmmakers who are opening new doors of opportunity for Asian Americans.

"Now more than ever, it's important for our stories to be made and seen," said Ginelsa.

The popularity of the Lumpia movies show audiences are hungry for their stories.

Editor's Note: KPIX news production assistant Lisa Chong is one of the producers of the Lumpia movies

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