Maritte Go’s Film Remittance Gives Her “More Power Over Her Future”
BY OLIVIA ARMSTRONG
Actor turned director Maritte “Marty” Go wanted to explore a story that speaks to the Filipino experience. With Remittance, she stars as a young mother and cruise ship employee unable to get in touch with her son who has recently been hospitalized. The 10-minute short has been named a finalist in the 2018 HBO APA Visionaries Short Film Competition. The second annual showcase provides Asian Pacific American creatives the opportunity to feature their work on HBO’s streaming platforms.
Here, the writer-director-producer discusses why she felt compelled to make her own work and how she used a family vacation to capture the uniqueness of her short.
HBO: What was your introduction to filmmaking?
Maritte Go: I was a child actor doing TV and commercials in Hollywood, Florida before I moved to LA. I kept getting cast in roles such as “Geisha” or “Nail Technician #3” and it became extremely frustrating to play such small, stereotypical side roles. After a year, I decided I needed to go to film school so I could able to write, direct and produce content that would be suitable for people like me.
I went to University of Southern California and got my masters in film and TV. I wanted to learn how to produce because I wanted to know more about the business side of the industry. I had the opportunity to produce a lot of commercials and features and started to build my career around it. After gaining that knowledge, I decided that, with my creative background as an artist, it was time to make my own work.
HBO: What do you like about being in front of and behind the camera?
Maritte Go: It’s the perfect combination of what I’ve worked so hard for. I get to explore the creative side while still having a hand in the business side: how to handle a budget, pulling locations and generally what it takes to make a movie.
I feel like I have more power over my future now. As an artist, I felt I was always waiting. People tell me my last name is Go for a reason because I’m impatient and am always wanting to move forward. It’s freeing now to be able to make things on my own rather than wait.
HBO: What inspired you to make Remittance?
Maritte Go: I’ve been going back and forth to the Philippines for the last couple of years with my cousin. He lives in Dubai and his family lives in the Philippines and I kept thinking about how he sends money he makes in Dubai back home to support his family. His Filipino co-workers do the same. Hearing their stories reminded me of my mom who came to the United States to become a doctor and support our family back home.
When HBO’s APA Visionaries competition noted the theme for this year as “Home,” I thought this project — about the pain and sacrifice people go through to ensure the success of their children — would be perfect. I wanted to center the story around cruise workers.
HBO: How was it filming on a cruise ship?
Maritte Go: My family actually went on an Alaskan cruise for my sister’s birthday. I got permission from the cruise director and permitted a dock. My filmmaking partner Brody and I had one camera and a drone. We didn’t have a crew or a full script — just story points. I mic’d myself and we had a tiny lighting panel to work with. One day we hiked five hours to get to a glacier for a shot in an ice cave. We really lucked out and ended up getting a lot more footage than we needed. A lot of it came together as we were shooting and it felt very DIY.
Maritte Go is a writer, director, producer and actor.