New York's vibrant Washington Heights neighborhood comes to life in this high-energy tale with a different take on teenage life in the city, one where guns and gangsters thankfully take a back seat to more complicated matters of the heart and mind. In both his native Chile and his adopted United States, director Sergio M. Castilla has made a name for himself by crafting insightful portraits of cross-cultural adolescence, with films like Te Amo (Made in Chile), Gringuito, and The Girl in the Watermelon, showcasing young people caught between cultures. After making several films in Chile, he's returned to New York with this provocative examination of adolescent rage and uncertainty, as played out through the fragile mental states of four young strangers who have tried to commit suicide on the same day. Meeting in a city hospital, where the staff has little time for their problems ("Take these pills," is all the counseling they receive), the four strike out on their own. While each has individual problems-an unwanted pregnancy, alienation, depression, self-mutilation-and their pride, as the days go on they find strength in unity and some form of sanity in the face of the madness the city throws at them. Framing their stories with the seemingly non-fictional remembrances of one woman, who functions as a very New York version of a traditional Greek chorus, Take the Bridge is a forceful account of adolescent uncertainty and crisis, and a passionate valentine to the chaos, color and camaraderie of Latino Washington Heights.
SERGIO M. CASTILLA's films have introduced many unknown actors, including John Leguizamo (Gentille Alouette), Meredith Scott Lynn and James Thierre Chaplin (The Girl in the Watermelon), Sebastian Perez and Mateo Iribarren (Gringuito), and Adrian Castilla (Te Amo, Made in Chile). His work has been seen at many major festivals including New Directors/New Films at MoMA, the New York Film Festival, San Sebastian and Sundance. Castilla taught film directing at Columbia University's Graduate Program ('91-'94) and NYU ('95).