Discovery Film series premieres with ‘Tropical and Exotic Asia’

Film Director and Producer, Marlin Darrah, screened his film “Tropical and Exotic Asia” to 125 guests at El Camino College’s Marsee Auditorium on Monday, September 19 as part of the Discovery World Travel Adventure film series.

The majority of the guests who attended the 3:00 p.m. screening consisted mainly of an older group of film lovers eager to attend the film presentations again. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-standing film series had to be interrupted, as there have been no screenings since spring 2020.

The first film to herald the return of these events was Darrah’s Tropical and Exotic Asia, which took viewers on a journey through Southeast Asia to discover the region’s natural landscapes, local people and diverse cultures.

Speaking to The Union ahead of the event, Darrah said he’s excited to be able to showcase his work to the El Camino community after being away for over two years.

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“It’s great to be returning to El Camino. I’ve been coming here for 12 years,” Darrah said. “I appreciate the people who still know about other countries and want to learn about geography.”

As the clock struck 3pm, guests entered the auditorium to find seats and were greeted by Darrah himself as he introduced his film and said he hoped the event would help people after the difficulties of the past two years would bring together. The show started later.

The first half of the film explores Hong Kong’s busy city life through a variety of images that showcase the people, food and culture that the city’s street life has to offer.

During recordings that used musical instruments, Darrah made comments and jokes about what he was going through at the moment, while the audience erupted in laughter.

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The film also featured scenes from four cities in Vietnam, each with different experiences, before going on hiatus.

Guests who gathered in the lobby for intermission had time to grab refreshments, chat with Darrah, or mingle with other returning guests as it had been a long time since the last film event.

Marlin Darrah, left, discusses with guests during intermission while other guests enjoy refreshments, Monday, September 19, 2022.
Marlin Darrah, far left, interacts with guests during intermission while other guests enjoy refreshments at the Marsee Auditorium on Monday, September (Eddy Cermeno | The Union) Credit: Eddy Cermeno

During the intermission, film fan Art Unmack said he was glad he came back for this film.

“It is interesting to see how many changes have taken place [in those countries] over the years,” said Unmack. “I take inspiration from films like this when I make my own films.”

As the audience returned from intermission, Darrah introduced the next half of his film which featured Thailand, Singapore and an underwater exploration of Indonesia.

At the end of his presentation, Darrah thanked everyone for attending and received a big round of applause from the audience.

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As viewers exited, Darrah made herself available in the lobby to speak with guests, take critiques and answer questions. Many guests took the opportunity to share their opinions on the film and the overall experience.

Bill Best was one of the guests who spoke to Darrah and told him he liked the film and that it was very well done. Best also spoke to The Union and said he hoped more people would see these films.

“It’s a great place for old people, and young people are welcome too,” Best said.

Marlin Darrah, left, speaks to some guests after the event, Monday September 19, 2022.
Film director Marlin Darrah, left, speaks to some guests after the screening of his film event Monday September 19 at the Marsee Auditorium. (Eddy Cermeno | The Union) Copyright: Eddy Cermeno

As the lobby emptied and the lights dimmed, Darrah reflected on his overall experience of the event.

“It brings the biggest smile to my face to see the community again and to be honest I was hoping people would recognize me,” said Darrah.

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