Past Festival Golden Reel nominee James Sereno (SILENT YEARS, Festival 2005) makes his feature directorial debut with PARADISE BROKEN, an intense narrative drama that takes audiences for a gritty, realist, down-spiral ride within the underbelly of the streets of Waikiki, Hawai'i. Here, we meet small-time drug dealer Ray Geronimo (Dante Basco) and his girlfriend Misha Domingo (Nadine Nicole), a one-time hula dancer turned prostitute and self-proclaimed photographer. Not too long after they first meet, Ray and Misha fall in love, but soon after they fall victim to their own vices. Together, the couple, drug dealer and drug addict both, try to conquer the financial and emotional hardships that have come to define their miserable lives. In addition to the drama that surrounds them, times become even tougher as Ray and Misha learn that Misha is pregnant. Their constant need to make ends meet, and make it through life beyond what they know — begins to take shape in a dangerous form. Once an attractive couple, Ray and Misha now become pimp and prostitute, working to support each other in hopes to save up enough money for their future family. Meanwhile, both tinker with the possibility of expanding their newfound business by entertaining the idea of adding more prostitutes. Misha plants the idea of moving on to work for another pimp working in Waikiki, nonchalantly to Ray. But plans go so terribly wrong for the both of them. Will the two lovers ever find their way back to each other? And to what lengths will Ray and Misha go in order to fulfill their need for love and happiness?
Director Sereno is clearly not interested in painting yet another cheery picture of our 50th State; instead, in PARADISE BROKEN he endeavors to go beneath the surface and expose the “real” Hawai'i, one that is all too real and authentic for even the most jaded of moviegoers. That he achieves an unprecedented level of success here is due to the performances he coaxes from Dante Basco and Nadine Nicole as Ray and Misha. As a necessary, albeit shocking counterpoint to the “aloha” stereotype, PARADISE BROKEN is a revelation that audiences absolutely cannot miss.
Synopsis written by: Rochelle Lozada