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Munkey in The City

A delusional young novelist comes to The City in search of a dream--of fame, of fortune, and the pursuit of happiness. But he also brings the one thing standing in his way: himself. His name is MUNKEY, and he's learning that The City is one big jungle he needs to survive.

Munkey dreams of writing the great American novel. The problem is, it’s already been written. He’s also looking for love in all the right places, but he’s just the wrong person. And just what is that thing that’s following him? Determined yet confused, hopeful yet awkward, he comes to The City, one of the most vast and wildest places on Earth, in order to “make it.” On his journey, he struggles to connect with the people around him, escaping instead through alcohol, drugs, and his own writing. Through much trial-and-error, and with the help of an eclectic band of friends, Munkey must come to realize his own purpose in life, before The City swallows him whole. Though he soon realizes that the singular Evet is the key to unlocking his full potential and future.

  • Michael T. Nguyen
  • Michael T. Nguyen
  • Michael T. Nguyen
  • Angela Chen
  • Kenny Leu (exec. producer)
  • Kenny Leu
    Key Cast
  • Monaco Barbaro
    Key Cast
  • Heather Mignon
    Key Cast
  • Sean Mann
    Key Cast
  • Victoria Ma
    Key Cast
  • Austin Shelton
  • Sienna Beckman
    Assistant Director
  • Andy Hoffman
  • Simran Mahal
    Assistant Camera
  • Todd Hartman
    Sound Mixer
  • Jerad Fox
    Sound Mixer
  • Charles Bolton
    Sound Mixer
  • Olivia Kanz
    Production Designer
  • Mary Naughton (assistant)
    Production Designer
  • Janet Silk
    Costume Designer
  • Johanna Hidalgo (assistant)
    Costume Designer
  • Melissa Cappistrano
    Make Up
  • Daniel Tong
  • Todd Hartman
  • Katie Quan
    Production Assistants
  • Amanda Lam
    Production Assistants
  • Project Type:
    Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Dramedy
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 25, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Michael T. Nguyen

MICHAEL T. NGUYEN is a writer/director/producer living in the San Francisco Bay Area pursuing his career as an independent filmmaker. Having graduated from UC Santa Barbara in Asian American Studies and studying Film Production at City College of San Francisco, he is determined to create films that explore and redefine the meaning and place of the Asian diaspora across America. An actively creative visionary concerned with the human condition and the relationships between us, he uses his personal work to explore issues of race, sex, gender and class, as it relates to society and culture.

Michael has directed a hand full of short films, including The System (2014), The Hurt House Sitter (2014), The Discipline (2012), and AF/WM (2006). MUNKEY IN THE CITY is his first professionally made project.

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Director Statement

You know what bothers me? That there aren’t enough stories about me out there.

I mean, there aren’t really any shows or films that represent my experience as a person. It’s not just that there are so few non-stereotypical portrayals of Asian American men on screen, in general. It’s that, even when there are, there aren’t any representations that reflect my own particular kind of flavor.

Let me explain: I have a certain kind of lifestyle—I rent a room in a house, I hang out on street corners, I get into fist fights, I work for tips, I’m lazy, I have bad credit, I try to get things for free, my relationships don’t last…In fact, I’m a bit of a mess. I’m not a bad guy, but I’m not the archetype of a hero either, though I do try to recycle. I’m really the lackadaisical underachiever who likes to do adventurous things, like stay out late drinking and shooting pool at bars. I’m also the casual procrastinator who would rather take a nap then, say, make an agenda. And, though I am the spirited filmmaker, I’m just not yet “successful,” as my family likes to put it.

In short, I’m the Asian American slacker-starving artist-antihero type, and I’m looking for stories about me. Have you seen any?

Well, that’s where a guy named Munkey comes in. Based on my own personal experiences, Munkey in The City is about an underachiever who’s not exactly content with the underachieving. Munkey has a dream, and he’s willing to be poor and unoriginal to get to it. But in essence, Munkey is just trying to become a better person, despite having his flaws. He’s a guy who probably doesn’t even deserve better things, but he wants to work for them anyways. And although Munkey longs to be a “successful” writer, in the end, all the best journeys are of growth and self-discovery anyways, and Munkey’s is no different.

There actually is a fine point to finding ourselves in the media we watch. It means we have a place in the culture we live in, and that somehow we are accepted; that we, too, belong amongst our peers, even if we are not perfect, or even a bit of a mess. It validates our narrative.

It is my honor and pleasure to bring you this story of a peculiar guy named Munkey, because it shows the diversity apparent among Asian Americans today. We are all of different shades and ranges, interests and lifestyles, lest we not forget. We all have a story within us, even the loafers and deadbeats of color in America. Let’s let them know they have a place in this world too.