Love’s Comedy Unveiled: ‘Asian Persuasion’ in NYC

by Troi Santos

| Photo via Jhett Tolentino

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Get ready to be captivated by the spellbinding storyline of Asian Persuasion, a cinematic journey that promises to whisk you away on a whirlwind of emotions and laughter. This remarkable narrative centers around Mickey de Los Santos, a chef facing adversity, and his bold scheme to assist his ex-wife, Avery Chua, in finding a fresh start in love while sidestepping substantial alimony obligations. With the unwavering support of his trusted companion, Mickey embarks on a comical odyssey into online dating, only to discover that his own heart might change course.

“At its core, Asian Persuasion is a tribute to the magnificence of New York City,” says Jhett Tolentino. The film artfully celebrates the city’s iconic landmarks while shedding light on its lesser-known cultural gems. It offers viewers a glimpse into the unexpected magic that unfolds within the Big Apple.

Nestled within the streets of New York City, Asian Persuasion seizes the very spirit of the city that thrives around the clock, infusing the storyline with an undeniable and contagious vitality. This enthralling narrative weaves a landscape of varied talents firmly committed to fostering diversity. The production actively champions inclusivity by assembling a team representing 21 distinct Asian nations, encompassing diverse individuals, including Asians, female department leaders, LGBTQIA+ crew members, and accomplished filmmakers.

Witness the unveiling of Asian Persuasion at the SOHO International Film Festival in New York City on September 16th and 17th. This premiere promises to be an unforgettable cinematic experience, with the city’s spirit as the perfect backdrop. Following its premiere, the film is set to enthrall audiences across the Philippines with a nationwide theatrical release on November 29, 2023.

Behind the scenes, two remarkable talents bring Asian Persuasion to life. Mike Ang, a multifaceted Asian American lifestyle and entertainment entrepreneur, is the film’s writer and producer. Mike’s deep connection to Filipino culture and commitment to promoting diversity in the creative industries shine through in this project. He is also a Managing Partner at Planet X, an international multimedia production and product marketing agency based in Brooklyn, NY.

Taking the director’s chair for the first time in his feature directorial debut is Jhett Tolentino, a distinguished figure with a decade of experience in commercial production. Jhett’s track record includes producing 13 Broadway and 5 Off-Broadway shows in just 7 years, earning him three Tony Awards and a Grammy. His transition to filmmaking was spurred by the desire to explore new horizons in the entertainment industry and create opportunities for AAPI artists and communities.

The journey of Asian Persuasion has been nothing short of extraordinary, with its fair share of challenges. Filming amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, the production team navigated the ever-changing CDC guidelines. It adhered to SAG-AFTRA mandates, demonstrating resilience and unwavering commitment to bringing this heartwarming story to life.

Reflecting on the experience, Jhett Tolentino notes, “We were meant to be. We found funding as we went along. No drama on set. Whatever it was, it wasn’t personal. Just comes with the territory.” The production even weathered a pause due to positive COVID-19 tests, exemplifying the dedication and unity of the team.

The film’s magnetic pull derives much of its allure from its exceptional cast:

Dante Basco (Mickey)- Celebrated for his iconic portrayal as Rufio in Hook and his remarkable voice acting roles, including Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Kevin Kreider (Caspian) – An actor and model with a global footprint, boasting numerous commercial credits and a prominent role in Netflix’s hit series Bling Empire.

KC Concepcion (Avery) – An artist of multifaceted talents, crowned with the Philippines’s Best Actress FAMAS award in 2015, and a tireless advocate as the first National Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations’ World Food Program.

Paolo Montalban (Lee) – Notable for his groundbreaking performance as Prince Christopher in the 1997 Disney television film Cinderella.

“Creating Asian Persuasion has been a fulfilling journey,” adds Mike Ang. “Unlike Broadway, it’s not live every night. I’m happier now, creating opportunities for our AAPI artists and communities.”

Asian Persuasion is not just a film; it’s a celebration of love and the unexpected magic that can happen in the bustling streets of New York City.

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