“XANDER,” a compelling comedy-fantasy pilot short about learning what’s important in life, will compete at this year’s Dances With Films NY 2023 at the Regal Union Square in New York.
Written by Alec Bantivoglio and directed by Jonathan Chao, set in California’s Orange County, “XANDER “follows Luke, a lonely high school student, who has felt increasingly isolated after the death of his mother. After his only friend, 87-year-old Albert passes, Luke inherits an antique vase, and he discovers genie Xander inside. In the form of a teenage boy, Xander’s mission is to get Luke to make his one wish, and then move on. Xander, a friend and advocate, helps Luke ask his dream girl for a date and stand up to his jerk brother, making his life a whole lot better. Now, Luke is forced to consider if making his one wish is worth losing his new genie best friend.
Produced by Gabriella Lee, XANDER stars Tanner Hagen (LAWMEN: BASS REEVES) and Derrick Israel Rose.
Alec Bantivoglio is a comedy writer from Philadelphia with a passion for making people laugh. In the Spring of 2023, he graduated from Chapman University with a master’s in television writing and production. While there, he created and was the showrunner for Xander, a fantasy-comedy web series, crewed by many of his fellow Chapman students. Over the last 2 months, Xander has won several awards and will make its New York premiere at Dances With Films New York.
“Premiering Xander at Dances With Films is an incredible opportunity. I’m very excited and grateful we get to share our work at a film festival with such an amazing reputation,” says Bantivoglio.
Jonathan Chao is an award-winning Chinese-American filmmaker originally from Santa Cruz, CA. As a person of color in the film industry, he is driven by a passion to uplift marginalized voices and showcase authentic minority and immigrant experiences on the silver screen. Jonathan is currently a 3rd-year MFA candidate in Film Production with an emphasis in Directing at Chapman University. Prior to pursuing his MFA, he earned a BA degree in Anthropology from UCLA, where he also minored in Film, Television, and Digital Media. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have directed XANDER,” says Chao. “The script was already so polished and hilarious that the transition from page to screen was seamless. The crew, consisting primarily of my frequent collaborators, along with the opportunity to cast my former undergrad roommate as Xander, transformed the filmmaking process into a joyous reunion collaborating on a creative endeavor. It’s a massive honor to premiere XANDER at such a renowned festival like DWF. Every filmmaker dreams of their film premiering in New York City, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
XANDER will screen as part of the Pilots Competition, Group 1, on Thursday, November 30 at 3:30 PM at the Regal Union Square.
ABOUT DANCES WITH FILMS
Since 1998 DANCES WITH FILMS has grown from presenting a handful of films to more than 200 each year…from narrative features and shorts to include the top documentaries, music videos, TV and web programs on the circuit today. In 2007, DWF brought a new commitment to the indie world with the advent of the 2 Minute, 2 Step Short Film Challenge where we actually shoot 10 films during the festival and present them to enthusiastic audiences. In 2012 the festival moved to its current location – the famed TCL Chinese Theatres in the heart of Hollywood. From there it expanded to 11 days with ever-increasing sold-out screenings and has expanded to a winter festival in New York now in its second year.
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