Cast: Carla Humphries, Chris Pang, Dante Basco, Osric Chau, Rhian Ramos
In director Andrea A. Walker’s feature debut, two strangers rediscover the Philippines after life abroad, finding both familiarity and detachment on their journeys. Graduate student Samantha returns from London following the tragic loss of her parents, defensive with her sister’s attempts to motivate her and torn on a path forward to a post-grad school life. Stuntman Eric arrives from the U.S. to work on a film, wanting to reconnect to the places he remembered so fondly from his childhood, but frustrated by the cultural disconnect he faces after being away.
As Samantha and Eric encounter loneliness and detachment in a place once familiar to them both, they seek out connection and friendship in one another, searching for someone they can relate to. EMPTY BY DESIGN beautifully unwraps the most simple desires and emotions that we all face when trying to find community. — Brian Ray