Balsa Wood is a light-hearted slice of life about two mixed race siblings visiting their extended Filipino family for lunch. It is a bubble of family functions and dysfunctions, all with a south east Asian fluorescence. The film explores what it is to feel like an outsider within your own family, while recognising that belonging comes in many different forms.
Balsa Wood was awarded funding by Film London with support from Southern Exposure Film Fund and the BFI Network.
Balsa Wood had its online premiere on NOWNESS and is available to watch here:
Jessica has just joined the cast of Season 5 GAME OF THRONES as Nymeria Sand and also features in J.J. Abramsʼ upcoming STAR WARS VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS. Previously, Jessica played Amy in BBC drama SILK, and has also appeared in THE THICK OF IT and SPIRIT WARRIORS.
as AUNT BEBING
Pik Sen is a veteran actor who has appeared on British television since the 1950s. Her recent roles have included JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN, as well as recurring appearances on BBC's CASUALTY and LITTLE BRITAIN.
Andrew recently played the role of Kai alongside Ben Whishaw in acclaimed film LILTING. He has also featured in BBC's DR WHO and in theatre productions CHIMERICA and 2013 Bruntwood Prize winner SO HERE WE ARE.
Lourdes recently played the role of Pepita Ponce in Pernille Fischer Christensen's film SOMEONE YOU LOVE. She has also featured in TV series LAW & ORDER: UK and BBC comedy drama NEW TRICKS.
Leighanne is a first time actor who impressed the director and producer in open auditions with her composure and quiet charisma.
Dominique is a writer-director based in London, originally from Wellington, New Zealand. Balsa Wood is her first short film. Dominique comes from a background in development at Brilliant Films/Independent Talent and in production at Vertigo Films. She has been awarded further funding to write and direct her next short, Ramona & The Chair, and also to develop a feature length screenplay of Balsa Wood.
Agnes Meath Baker currently works as assistant to producers Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich at DNA Films. Prior to that, Agnes worked at Independent Talent, where she and Dominique met. Her next producing project will be Ramona & The Chair, which was awarded production funding by Film London and Creative England.
Lukas has worked in the TV and Film industry since 2004. His work has been shown at the V&A Gallery London, IKON Gallery, Southbank Centre, and in competition at international film festivals including London Short Film Festival, Cannes Short Film Corner, the East End Film Festival and SXSW.
Robbie is a London based editor who has worked across drama, docs & promos. Most recently, Robbie worked on series 1 and 2 of MY MAD FAT DIARY, Michael Winterbottom's THE FACE OF AN ANGEL and THE TRIP TO ITALY. He is currently assistant editing the BBC and HBO miniseries THE CASUAL VACANCY.
Carmen is a set and costume designer for theatre, opera, film & television. Carmen has worked on productions including CHORALE: A SAM SHEPARD ROADSHOW, IVY & JOAN and TERMS & CONDITIONS, and as costume designer on the IFTA award winning short MORNING.
Theo comes from a background in production (BLACK BOOKS, SPACED) and within a talent agency. Now an associate at Nina Gold, Theo has cast such wide and varied projects as J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS, RUSH, CUBAN FURY, PADDINGTON and Thomas Vinterberg’s FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD.
Roly’s musical background lies in the Classical guitar, inspired by playing with Tali Roth of the Juilliard School, New York, and Michael Lewin of the Royal Academy of Music. He also holds an MA from City University in Composing for Moving Images. Roly has scored short and feature-length films including GREGOR (British Independent Film Award nominee).
In order to bridge the gap in funding from our Film London grant, Dominique and Agnes launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the remaining budget. Our generous funders pledged from England, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, United States and Sweden.
Balsa Wood would not have been possible without each of these generous people, so we would like to personally thank again all of the pledgers listed below.
One of our Kickstarter rewards was a haiku written by director Dominique. These three-line gems were specifically matched to each funder through a thoroughly scientific quiz, with the final decision being left to the opinion of the Singing Sea Bass. As Sea Basses do occasionally tend to get things wrong, we've included the full series of haikus here.
Welcome to the cult
Balsa is your family now
We take our steak rare
You are just the best!
Well, guess you always have been
But now I mean it
It seems opportune
To announce admiration
Fickle? No. It's love
You are my hero
Did you know that? I doubt it
The tatt is discreet
Thank you from afar
I sniff in your direction
What brand soap d'you use?
You charming adult!
Your parents would be so proud
Send the stork my love
I must now admit
Your kindness makes my knees weak
So does volleyball
The world thinks you're great
Wait 'til I show off the shrine
It's made of milk caps
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