In 1999 a 17-year-old living on the streets flees for the heartland and struggles to find the love she’s never known.
If I could lasso any three stars from the artistic firmament, they would be Frances Coombe, Lisa Bastoni,
and Wilfredo Pascual! What a joy to work with them on this CRASHING AMERICA mood piece.
— Screenwriter and Producer, Katia Noyes
ACTOR Frances Coombe
Frances Coombe has spent the last 11 years as an international fashion model
traveling the circuit from Milan to New York. (Pronouns = they or he.) Highlights of their career include working one-on-one with Oscar de La Renta and opening for Saint Laurent at the Palladium. Runway shows they’ve walked include Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Issey Miyake, Jeremy Scott, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Miu Miu, Pucci, and Schiaparelli, and have been featured in most magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Grazia.
I met Frances while they were studying acting under renowned New York acting
coach Sheila Gray. They immediately took to the role of Huck, and their willingness
to dive into the work, no-holds-barred, drew me to them as we worked on scenes
from my screenplay-in-progress.
How is acting different from modeling? On a fashion shoot, “You can never be ugly
or real or raw, " says Frances. "It’s all about selling the jacket.” It has been a revelation to see them plumb the depths of Huck’s emotional range, and in so doing, come alive to new parts of themselves. Represented by Muse Model.
DIRECTOR Wilfredo Pascual
Wilfredo Pascual won two Palanca gold medals, the equivalent of Pulitzers
in the Philippines, while still in his twenties. He grew up queer on a cattle ranch
under the Marcos dictatorship, saw this regime get toppled, began a career in
film production, and then traveled the world.
Wilfredo is one of those people with radar on his nerve endings, and his artist’s
understanding of place is deep. He understands the layered complexity of identity
and its relationship to political trauma, whether he writes about living among
former members of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia or standing on earthquake
faults in California and reflecting on immigrant culture observed in cinema.
We met in Michael Alenyikov’s 18th-Street Writers’ Group in San Francisco, but it
was only recently that I learned his own Crashing America story. After immigrating
to the US, he bought a Greyhound bus ticket for a planned one-week trip into
the heartland, but he ended up staying for months exploring the cornfields, the
churches and the collapsed farm towns. “The beauty and the awe was revelatory,”
he says. “You have to understand, though, the danger! I could sense it everywhere.”
His trip was soon after the horrific homophobic attack and murder of the
young Matthew Shepard.
SONGWRITER Lisa Bastoni
Lisa Bastoni is a 2019 and 2020 Boston Music Award nominee (Folk), and winner
of the 2019 Kerrville New Folk Contest. "Americana of the highest order...along
the lines of Gretchen Peters or Patty Griffin." Maverick-UK.
How am I lucky enough to have her land in my lap? Well, actually I landed in hers
in the form of my lost wallet! I couldn't help but fall in love with her music, and Lisa was kind enough to give me my first co-songwriting credit: I contributed to writing a song about our fated meeting (and spirited connection) during that cold first winter of the pandemic.
Lisa’s music was the soundtrack to Wilfredo’s imagination as he created the trailer.
And she’s written "Come On Home," a song beautifully conveying the mood
and story of the book and adapted screenplay. Find Working Man Blues #2 and
Beautiful Girl, two of my favorites, on Spotify and Bandcamp.