Welcome to the Journey
An instrument and a person with talent separately are nothing special but combined they can make something extraordinary. With the instruments of only an iPhone 6S Plus and a lavalier mic, Alex Hugo Bastidas, created his first short film, “Bully: The House Always Wins”. Longtime collaborators and friends Oronde Baltimore and Alex Hugo Bastidas created the concept while on vacation with friends three years ago. Alex has directed a majority of Oronde’s videos as he is an MC, spoken word artist, writer, and actor. Alex is also multi-talented having directed, written and produced other music artists’ videos, authored a book and acted in films. A day that was originally focused on the boxing match between Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather changed when Alex explained to Oronde that he wanted to direct more than music videos.
Creating a film has been a lifelong dream of Alex’s, so Oronde suggested him taking that on. They came up with two ideas, one was based on a boxer and the other was based on dirty cops. Ironically a preview for the movie “Southpaw” showed during a commercial break from the fight. They scratched the boxing movie and from there the idea for the original short film “Bully: The House Always Wins” was formed. They conjured up the name for the series based on both of them being Taurus’ (The bull is the zodiac symbol) and trying to find something catchy, Oronde came up with the name “Bully”. After securing the name, Alex made sure to incorporate it into the storyline with even his character taking on the nickname of Bully at certain points.
Bully is not your typical dirty cop movie. Both born and raised in the Bronx, the film incorporates NYC in the views of Alex and Oronde’s vision while integrating characters that have depth. That also bleeds into the score of the film and series which incorporates all original music thanks to Oronde and other talented musicians. The Bully franchise is diverse, making sure to incorporate people of all colors and creeds, but the core foundation of actors are made up of minorities. Alex wrote, directed, produced and starred in the movie as Officer Freddy Rico and Oronde takes on his first acting role as lead co-star, Officer Raymond Valentine. Alex created these characters as polar opposites of their real personalities. Officer Rico is a good cop gone awry by way of drugs, cheating, and greed of money. Officer Valentine is driven from an innocent cop wanting to protect the city to a psychotic, overly obsessed man who focuses on prostitutes and alcohol. Their captain makes them partners and they learn to maneuver through the underbelly of the police world while trying to make sure their noses stay clean (pun intended) all while watching their friendship deteriorate in the process. Throughout the film, there are multiple “Easter eggs” or hidden messages that are special to the development of the scenes. This includes the Gandhi quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world” on a wall behind one of the villains in the film, Danny House, played by actor Robert Michaels. It is significant in that standoff scene but also as a mantra for the main characters of the film. Alex wanted him and Oronde in this film to help aid in the discussion on the relations of with non-rural communities, the law and how with pessimistic thoughts of being within a society that encourages negativity can shape your worldview.
A couple months following the film’s release on Vimeo and Youtube, it gained major attraction. The team at the 24hr movie streaming service, Roku, called Alex and made him an offer to have “Bully: The House Always Wins” stream on their network. With the buildup of this excitement Rosanna Medranos, who plays the captivating prostitute and Officer Valentine’s obsession Xiomara in the film, suggested that Alex create a web series around it. Taking heed of the content on Youtube and having a creative discussion with Oronde, Alex developed a spin-off web series called “Bully: The Rise of Two Kings”. The series is a prequel to the film set in both NYC and Philadelphia. The first season is laid out in specific character vignettes with additional storylines woven in-between. The audience is introduced to the Tremont Boys (small gang made up of 3 brothers), Fame, Sos and dives further into the characters of Xiomara and Leslie (played by Jennifer Zarzuela) that are featured in the film and many more talented cast members. As you watch the first season, you learn to have empathy and even a hope of redemption for a few characters.
With season two currently in production and set to wrap by July, the cast is reinvigorated due to fresh additions in the production, writing and acting teams. Although an iPhone was used to shoot the short film and 90% of season one, season two will be completely shot on a RED camera called Raven with higher quality sound and lighting. Realizing that he was spreading himself too thin for the film and the first season, Alex brought on brilliant writer/director Tanzania Hughie to write the entire second season. Officer Rico and Valentine’s characters will be the focus for season two. It will delve into their storylines of becoming who they are, their attitude and how the elements around them enhance their current lifestyle decisions. Unlike the short film and season one, season two will not be shown to viewers through Youtube. Alex and Oronde will package up the second season to pitch to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon to have it streamed and options to pick up season three, which is the planned final season. Season two will be a rollercoaster ride for the characters you know and for the new ones introduced.
After season two wraps, Oronde will focus on his next music project set to drop in 2018, expand within his acting skills, voiceover work and a comic book series he created and is currently working on with Alex. Alex’s upcoming ventures include a film that is presently in pre-production and authoring another book. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook: @orondebaltimore and @alexhugomba.
Amidst the dynamic energy surrounding the entire current Bully team in the words of Oronde, “the sky is the destination, not the limit”. Follow the Bully adventure at @bullytheseries on Instagram, on Youtube and Facebook its “Bully: The Rise of Two Kings”. To view more exclusives and behind the scenes input hashtag: #bullytheseries.
Watch the film “Bully: The House Always Wins” and the series “Bully: The Rise of Two Kings” season one by clicking below.