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WHEN YOU LEFT ME ON THAT BOULEVARD a film by KAYLA ABUDA GALANG. 2023. USA. 13 min. A Thanksgiving ballad featuring weed, romance and karaoke.

This film screened exclusively for a week and is currently not available online.

In her hazy snapshot of a Filipino-American Thanksgiving in 2006, Kayla Abuda Galang mines her own memories of time spent in San Diego’s Paradise Hills as a teenager. This lived-in quality, combined with Galang’s incredible attention to detail as a filmmaker, results in a deeply funny look at a teen dealing with some stressful firsts: weed and boys. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we present the online premiere of this year’s Short Film Grand Jury Prize Winner at Sundance.

 

Galang’s personal approach to storytelling lends When You Left Me On That Boulevard a home video quality, with each scene presenting itself in a spontaneous fashion, as though plucked straight from memory and dressed up for the screen. For her, filmmaking is about “sharing immersive windows into all the world and places [she’s] lived in, physical and existential.” With this film, she hones in on romance and “shows what love and longing looked like for [her] in southeast San Diego in 2006” along with the inescapable awkwardness that goes hand-in-hand with attempts at appearing cool.

 

 

 

“The film doesn’t comment on a current moment or issue. Instead, it focuses on the universality of little moments to create an honest portrait of an underrepresented community on its own terms. I’m proud to say that the film is truly for and by the community it depicts without over-explaining or infantilizing it.” KAYLA ABUDA GALANG

 

The tight-knight cast and crew involved in the shooting of When You Left Me On That Boulevard consisted of Galang’s old friends, family members, and the new kids growing up in Paradise Hills now. Galang remembers the production as “one big party” that culminated in the “the best cry of [her] life.” Her film unlocks a new vision of community, eschewing didactic storytelling in favor of rich characters and settings whose many facets offer avenues to connect with an underrepresented culture that renders itself entirely familiar through her camera.

 

Austin-based filmmaker Kayla Abuda Galang was born in Olongapo, Philippines, and raised between San Diego, CA, and Houston, TX. Her short Learning Tagalog With Kayla (2021) earned an Audience Award following its World Premiere at SXSW and her follow-up When You Left Me On That Boulevard (2023) won the Special Jury Award for Vision at SXSW. She is currently developing two feature films. The first, ’06-’07, is a high-stakes suburban love story about three adolescent girls navigating love, jealousy, and polyamory. The second, On Earth as it is in Heaven, will follow a grieving family in Houston, TX.

 

Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer.