Fine Cut

Fine Cut 2014: 'Present Trauma'

"Present Trauma" is an award-winning psychological drama directed by Mark Manalo. The film aired as part of the 2014 edition of "Fine Cut," KCET's 17th annual festival of student films.

"Present Trauma" Synopsis:
A psychological drama about an ex-marine struggling to cope with family life following a combat tour overseas. After bonding with a stray dog, his life changes in a way that he and his family never expected.

Mark Manalo's Bio:
Mark Manalo is an award-winning LA-based writer-director. He was born in Jersey City, N.J. and spent most of his life in Trenton, where he received his B.A. in film production and history from the College of New Jersey.

Mark was accepted into the prestigious graduate film program at USC's School of Cinematic Arts in 2010. His film "Present Trauma" won best drama at USC's First Look Film Festival 2014, best narrative at the GI Film Festival 2014, and the grand jury award at the International Film Festival of Hollywood 2013. The movie has also played at the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival and several other noted festivals around the nation.

Mark also directed the short film "No Child Left Deprived" based on his experiences as an inner-city school teacher. The film went on to receive first place for narrative at the MyHero International Film Festival as well as a finalist award in the PovertyCure Film Festival in NYC. In addition, a film that Mark co-edited called "A Second Chance" won the student academy award for best documentary in 2013. Mark was then invited by the Director's Guild of America to take part in their Asian American directing mentorship program.

Mark graduated in 2013 and is currently pursuing his dream of writing and directing feature films and television shows. He is most interested in drama and comedy projects ranging from small character driven pieces to large-scale historical epics. Mark wants to make compelling and emotionally engaging films that reach audiences around the world.

Click here to read a Q&A with the filmmaker.