Experiencing Interruptions?

Porgies & Bass

When a Latino fisherman gets too close to a local Fisherman on a Long Island beach, things are bound to happen. This is the story of men in their primal quest for fish and a tale of two cultures clashing on a blazing hot summer's day.

  • thomas barnes
    Whales, Pork Chop, Miss Chinatown
  • thomas barnes
    Whales, Pork Chop, Miss Chinatown
  • thomas barnes
  • johnny sanchez
    Key Cast
    The Limey, Bofinger, Transformers
  • Jeffrey J Scott
    Key Cast
  • Aidan Governale
    Key Cast
  • Milton Kam
    Red White and Blue, Vanaja, The Living and the Dead
  • Giovanni Spinelli
    Dis Bleich
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    digital 4K
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Woods Hole Film Festival
    Woods Hole, Cape Cod, MA
    United States
    July 30, 2016
  • Coney Island Film Festival
    United States
    September 18, 2016
    Best Short Film (narrative)
  • Woodstock Film Festival
    United States
    October 15, 2016
  • Big Apple Film Festival
    United States
    November 4, 2016
  • Big Apple Film Festival
    New York City
    United States
    November 4, 2016
Director Biography - thomas barnes

Writer- Director Thomas Barnes' life and career has spanned three continents and diverse filmic worlds- narrative, TV commercials, music videos, and music TV.
He is half Chinese half Western and that cultural mix informs his work- in his choice of stories and casting and in general perspective.
As writer-director, his short films (such as 'Whales' 'Pork Chop', ‘Miss Chinatown’) have screened internationally at dozens of film festivals.
As Senior Producer MTV Asia, he was one of the core production team to set up the music TV network where he made shows with artists such as Radiohead, Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams.
After six years at MTV, he launched Big Fish productions & directed clips for top Asian stars like Andy Lau and Faye Wong, & international artists like Rod Stewart and Disney's Keke Palmer. His TV commercials for US and Asian market include Coke, Chase, M&M and Chrysler. He won international gold and silver awards for some of his Public Service announcements.
Based in NYC, he continues to explore life on film and teaches directing craft at the New York Film Academy in Manhattan.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I am a what the Japanese call a hafu (biracial). Because of this duality I suppose I see things in sometimes complex and ambivalent shades.

Such is the case with Porgies & Bass, a story that combines this perspective with my love of fishing on the beaches of Long Island.

Ben is a blue collar guy dismissively known as the ‘angry white man’- these days a natural candidate for a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. He is a guy with his best years behind him and he knows it. Yet he’s not a one dimensional bigot. He can be generous and charming and fun to be with. And he has his spot on the local beach and his hopes intact when it comes to catching a big Striper.

Along comes Jorge, an immigrant Latino a guy with a tough life and humble expectations. Jorge has a more streetwise purpose - he catches fish to feed the family, not as trophies. Jorge, I suspect, is wary of being pushed around. He may not live the ‘good life’ but this beach and ocean offers him a share of America’s natural resources and beauty.

I meet guys like this all the time when I go fishing. And I try to put myself in their shoes. I imagine Ben’s resentment that guys like Jorge are apt to fish too close to him (that’s where the fish are); apt to keep the little fish (flouting the rules); and making a ruckus with music (often in large groups). To Ben, who has lost so much ground politically and economically, Jorge is an invader.

On the other hand, I imagine Jorge’s growing awareness that his presence is being frowned upon and scorned. He hopes to avoid conflict with a potential bully. When push comes to shove will he stand up to the bully? He may not even know. But he does know that he is the equal of any man even if his status is humble and that America is now his country and the birthplace of his kids.

This is the tension at the heart of Porgies & Bass. Sympathetic to both these individuals, I tried to locate these tensions in the details of a day’s fishing and watch where it went. The fact that it mirrors larger political and social themes is part of its intention but it is, bottom line, a story about two guys trying to catch fish on a hot summer day.