Filmmaker Angel Vasquez

Filmmaker Angel Vasquez

Film by BGSU's Angel Vasquez a critical, audience success

BGSU film faculty member Angel Vasquez is riding high these days following the successful release of “Colma: The Musical,” which he co-produced.

One of the film’s main characters looks out over the town of Colma

The movie opened in Manhattan in early July and was the featured review in the New York Times July 6. The reviewer said, “An itty-bitty movie with a great big heart, ‘Colma: The Musical’ is about how we learn to give voice—joyfully, honestly, loudly—to the truest parts of ourselves.”

Reader ratings gave five stars to the film about high school students in the small town south of San Francisco. "It's been exciting," said Vasquez, theatre and film. "It's another part of the film process. It's surprising the turns a project takes."

The movie’s New York success followed a similar response in California, where it debuted in March 2006 at the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival. “Colma” had a “fantastic run in San Francisco,” Vasquez said.

It then found more success on the festival circuit. “It’s a great film festival movie,” Vasquez said. “It was well received and well attended.” “Colma” now has national theatrical distribution through the Roadside Attractions company. The film opened in San Francisco June 22 and will soon be in Los Angeles, Portland, Houston and other cities with Landmark cinemas. Next it will go to DVD and be distributed through Netflix.

The young filmmaker partnered with Paul Kolsanoff and Richard Wong, with whom he had previously worked, to produce the movie.

On a smaller scale, Vazquez also recently had a short experimental film, “Dan,” shown at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus. “Dan” is also making its international debut in Seoul, South Korea.

In addition to the reception “Colma” is enjoying, “one of the most wonderful pieces of news I’ve gotten is that one of our students, Sara Lawrence, has been accepted into New York University to study film,” he said. Lawrence was presented BGSU’s Lillian and Dorothy Gish Film Scholarship last October for her work in film criticism.

Empowering students
Vasquez’s aim is for BGSU students to benefit from his contacts and experience in the movie industry. Always working on several projects at once—from experimental and political works to documentaries—Vasquez tries to involve them as much as possible in hands-on production from the very beginning of their studies.

One of his latest efforts is having students from two classes participate in a competition sponsored by Owens-Illinois to design an “indie” advertising campaign for glass. “This is a real-world exercise and an ideal situation for students to come up with ideas and a concept for a commercial project,” Vasquez said. The winning entry will be distributed through a worldwide campaign. “It’s a lot of exposure if they can pull it off,” he said.

“To me, this is an integral part of being at BGSU, to be able to share professional and personal career experiences with students,” Vasquez said. “To get them working on film projects and develop relationships that extend beyond the classroom—that’s priceless.”

For more on “Colma: The Musical,” visit

August 13, 2007