EL TESTIGO Review: A Regional Action Star’s Potential Is Ripe For The Taking
Since the transfer of my original blogspot to a more optimal wordpress platform on July 8, 2018, I’ve taken an interest in re-editing and republishing some select interviews and articles for better, cleaner presentation. The following piece was previously published on March 4, 2015.
EL PUÑO DEL CONDOR (THE FIST OF THE CONDOR): Details On The New Martial Arts Series From Chilean Action Duo Marko Zaror And Ernesto Diaz Espinoza [EXCLUSIVE]
In the years since placing himself firmly on the martial arts action fandom radar with Ernesto Diaz Espinoza’s 2006 debut, Kiltro, one fact remains is that fans can’t get enough of Marko Zaror.
THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU: Jose Manuel’s Epic Martial Arts Action Drama Now Available In The U.S.!
Long since making headway as Puerto Rico’s premiere martial arts star in El Testigo, Jose Manuel has worked his way up from YouTube talent to working in feature films. Thus, his debut lead role in Pema Dhondup’s martial arts action drama, The Man From Kathmandu, just dropped in the United States and you can now find it for rent via YouTube, as well as Apple TV, Amazon and Google Play from High Octane.
THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU Revealed In A New Poster
Folks are just a few weeks away from the U.S. premiere of Pema Dhondup’s new action drama, The Man From Kathmandu at the seventh Urban Action Showcase in New York City. The film opened overseas in Nepal earlier this year prior to featival screenings in Puerto Rico and Barcelona with an upward mixture of reviews and we now get a little more of its profusion with new poster art now making the rounds.
THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU Soul Searches With A Fistful Of Hope
Jose Manuel in “The Man From Kathmandu” (TriCity Pictures/Clear Mirror Pictures)
THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU: VOL. 1 Hits The Streets With New Trailer Footage, Poster And Original Music
The campaign continues for Tricity Pictures with a brand new Nepali trailer for writer/director Pema Dhondup’s action adventure, The Man From Kathmandu: Vol. 1. Host to the action and drama stylings of breakout Puerto Rican martial arts star, Jose Manuel, moviegoers in Nepal will be the first to see the story unfold beginning March 15.
THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU Is The Hero We Need In The Official Teaser
In just shy of a decade, breakout Puerto Rican action star, actor Jose Manuel has proven himself to be a purely prospective candidate for genre fans who love films of the fightin’ kind. Well on his way to a second feature lead outing in the long-developed The Man From Kathmandu, the film’s regional Nepali release now has its own official teaser for local filmgoers following its international trailer from a few months back.
THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU: A New Hero Is Born In The First Teaser
It’s been a stirring experience covering breakout Puerto Rican action star, martial artist and actor Jose Manuel. Between amassing a body of work via his North Compass banner and pursuing greater prospects, I was long hopeful to see him be an example that I’ve lived to observe in folks like Eric Jacobus and Dennis Ruel in their endeavors. These guys come from a crop of rising star talent that needs constant nourishing – much like Manuel who himself has had a pretty prospective 2018 with his second feature film leading role now lying in wait.
MADE IN CHINATOWN: Puerto Rican Martial Arts Action Sensation Jose Manuel Joins The Cast
Photo: Carlos Alfonso
One of the biggest and best things happening right now in the upper East coast is just weeks away from cameras rolling for upcoming martial arts mob comedy, Made In Chinatown. Breakout martial arts star, actor Jose Manuel has joined the cast that has martial arts cinema mainstays Art Camacho and Robert Samuels (H.K.S.A.) pairing up to direct.
The details of Manuel’s role are unknown. He’ll otherwise be among a raft of actors and action talent led by world class Wushu stylist and stuntman Alfred Hsing (Ready Player One, Ip Man 3) debuting a lead acting role. Executive producer Mark Wiley is penning the script that sees Hsing playing Vinny, an underdog Asian American who, with the help of a ragtag group of friends and his Sifu, fights to work his way up the ranks in the Italian mob to win over the girl of his dreams.
Manuel’s career progression began steaming forward by 2012 starring in his native Puerto Rico’s first-ever feature martial arts film, El Testigo (The Witness). His credits also include Jarrod Crooks’ Dispatched (2014) and Indie Guys (2016), and Pema Dhondup’s recently wrapped international martial arts thriller, The Man From Kathmandu. The rising star talent won Bests in both the Short Film Competition and the Blood Sweat And Bones categories at last year’s Urban Action Showcase with online short, Retribution, and his own in-house proof of concept, Uncompromised.
Made In Chinatown also stars Michelle Procida, The Sopranos series vets Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore and Maureen Van Zandt, Goodfellas and upcoming Brawler co-stars Tony Darrow and Artie Pasquale and celebrated action film notables such as Shaw Bros. legend and Ip Man franchise co-star Lo Meng, Emmy Award-winning action director James Lew (Marvel’s Luke Cage, Big Trouble In Little China, Timecop, The Perfect Weapon) and Hwang Jang Lee (Drunken Master, Magnificent Warriors, No Retreat, No Surrender II: Raging Thunder), as well as Eric Kovaleski and Chuck Zito (The Martial Arts Kid), Shuya Chang (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, Snakehead, Revenge of the Green Dragons) and Grandmasters Norman Chin and Wai Hong to name a few.
Tambuli Films is producing with R4 Films’ own Samuels and partner Robert Jefferson.
THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU Springs Into Action In The First Behind-The-Scenes Photos
Manuel leads a cast that includes Nepali actress Anna Sharma, popular Indian film star Gulshan Grover and Pakistan’s Ahmeed Sheikh. Manuel sent us a trio of behind-the-scenes set pics from the production over the weekend as he and several crew shot some night time fight scenery. You can’t see much – save for one guy who takes a clear tumble, but what’s there is there and if you know Manuel, you know he won’t disappoint.
Rising Action Star Jose Manuel Talks THE MAN FROM KATHMANDU
His recent ‘Best’ wins for the Short Film Competition and Blood Sweat And Bones categories at the Urban Action Showcase and Expo on November 10 are also doing plusses for him this month. Retribution won the latter of the two and you can currently catch that one via YouTube. The other, Uncompromised, still stands plenty to gain with Manuel taking the lead next year following his current endeavors in Nepal.
THE WITNESS SPEAKS: An Interview With Actor And Filmmaker José Manuel
I actually REALLY wanted to meet him late last year when he attended the events at the Urban Action Showcase and Expo, only I had approximately zero clue that he was in town and had only found out when he presented a documentary video of his trip on social media. I was a bit floored and a laughed it off; it wasn’t too upsetting, rather just delightful to know that New York City is in Manuel’s purview and that more and more folks like him are congregating to the uEast to present their projects to audiences and people who share his craft.
UNCOMPROMISED Sees Jose Manuel Taking On The Mafia In The First Offical Trailer For Upcoming MA Action Pilot
Having spawned from online shortfilm success, Puerto Rico’s own, actor and martial artist Jose Manuel has landed himself and the good folks over at North Compass quite an accumulating profile over the last several years. For me, it wasn’t until the top of 2015 when I began covering Manuel’s incredible work as Puerto Rico’s answer to Eric Jacobus, and most prolifically since his lead acting debut in the groundbreaking, award-winning 2011 feature actioner, Andres Ramírez’s El Testigo.
Yes, it’s been rewarding work ever since, and until otherwise, we are now met once again by the reunion of the film’s star and director for the latest production of a pilot for a hopeful action crime series going into the new year. Uncompromised is the name of the show and while we await to see where things stand with the pilot, the first official trailer is now online and it’s as every bit of promising as I enthuse in quote at the :40 mark about Manuel from an earlier piece I wrote last year, and I humbly stand by it.
After an event causing his family to separate and his life to turn around, Raul a Former MAFIA enforcer straightens his life by working as a security adviser for clubs and businesses. While Looking for quietness in his personal life he receives news that his brother is in trouble with the underworld and his narc family in grave danger. He must then decide to go back and help them, or let them deal with their brought on destiny.
This one sounds like it belongs right up in my Netflix queue. Check out the trailer below and let’s hope the cameras get rolling on season one before long!
THE HIT LIST: September 14, 2015
It’s Monday, and that means another fully loaded Hit List has arrived with loads of stunts and action. This week has a few late entries that I’ve been otherwise inspired to share, and I think you all will enjoy them in some capacity.
Of course, we’re starting this off with a playlist that’s nice and light, graced with stunt and martial arts reels. Fabio Santos kicks things off in fiery fashion next to Jason Wingham, “Kid Haru” himself – Devin White, early 2015 demo reel footage from Team Raffaelli, industry fight choreographer, actor and stuntman Tim Man and the latest awesome tricking reel from Team Emig’s own Mackensi Emory (viewable only here).
Up next are a handful of trailers, a few of which are for foreign language projects on the way, and the first comes four years in the making from filmmaking duo David Vergne and Renaud Guin. Detour is the name of the short which focuses on three jewel burglars who discover a woman brutally beaten, and find themselves taking on a darker force of evil, and the short is currently in post production.
The second trailer hails all the way from Jose Manuel at North Compass, a familiar face I’ve already written about here at Film Combat Syndicate. His next potential webseries, Uncompromised, takes our hero on a quest to avenge his own death with symbolic enemies in the form of his own personal flaws. It’s deep, deep stuff, although I’m certain the project will put all the pieces together when released.
Both projects have trailers below, including Detour which also comes with some cool character promo art. The other trailers include Rising Tiger Films’s new action drama short, These Dog Days, and SG Action’s long-awaited sci-fi time-travel gig, The Mantis!
DETOUR  Official Release from Renaud Guin on Vimeo.
View post on imgur.com
Now we get to the fighting, and as always, there’s plenty of it in the following playlist. Star Wars is the way to here as we set off wity two new videos, one from Noah Fleder‘s Force Storm Entertainment, and Logan Cross’s own short, The Force. Other fights include Tripp Pickell’s latest test choreo sampler with cohort Shannan Leigh Yancsurak, Allie Marrie’s kickass performance in Faux Fighting’s latest “Showdown” serial addition, A Better Workout, Dardrex Productions’s action comedy, Snatch And Grapple, Cinematic Fight Studio’s latest client-ordered project, The Sting, and independent action director Bryan Sloyer’s newest ode to Kurt Wimmer, Equilibrium: Gentlemen’s Game!
Moving on to some longer-form shorts nearing the end of this week’s Hit List, actor, dancer and filmmaker Jordan Cann released this newest drama, My Brother’s Keeper, last week. It’s the story of a friendship broken over a girl, and a rivalry that unfolds between three crews with a surprising twist at the end. Cann himself takes primarily on dance and so there’s plenty of it here as well as a dash of fight choreography for good measure. Take a look!
And finally, we cap things off in award-winning fashion. Australian actor, writer and director David No is still making the rounds these days with his latest short, Battle Of Wills, hitting the festivals this Fall. In the meantime, it was in a private message on social media he shared his 2012 period sword drama, Forged, the story of an impetuous martial arts student who reflects on his ill-fated upbringing with his master on the night of their death duel. The project won a great share of awards throughout the world, including several festivals in the U.S. a few years ago during its run, and you can see them for yourself at the official fan page.
For now, enjoy Forged (special thanks to David for sending this one over!)
Of course, coming from the folks over at Bat In The Sun, we’re bound sooner or later to find out how their next Superpower Beatdown will turn out. Their latest still is up and clearly this one looks to be a real Fall berzerker!…
Tune in to last week’s Hit List and catch up on all you may have missed, and be sure to subscribe to the channels listed. More importantly though, if you’re a filmmaker and you wish have your stunt reels or action shorts featured in a Hit List, shoot us an email at email@example.com
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