HOLLYWOOD - Manny Pacquiao has been a pop culture icon and inspiration to many Filipinos for quite some time now.
His story of overcoming adversity is one that resonates with many who have similarly been knocked down by life.
Mexican-American filmmaker Gerry Maravilla is bringing to the big screen one such story in the movie "Cross."
The film tells the story of Cross, a Filipino-American who is forced to take extreme measures to pay for his mother's medical bills.
"I went to a high school that was predominantly Latino like myself and Filipino. So that's all my friends were. When I wrote a story kind of based on him, I decided to keep the race as the same. Manny Pacquiao, that's what inspired my friend, to be honest, initially. There are kids in high school who would go and have boxing matches," he said.
"Cross" stars Fil-Am actor Jason Mordeno, who is also a musician.
"The story is very creative and very inspiring and definitely motivates me to push the standard that Asians can portray roles in movies that is not just about being Asians," Mordeno said.
Mordeno's character fights in backyard boxing bouts, something that Maravilla says actually takes place in southern California's San Fernando Valley.
The underground and illegal fights serve as a backdrop to the movie's pivotal scenes.
"The message is more to show that people of color, whether they're Mexican-American or Filipino-American, and show that they have lives that are not defined by their race or their culture but that's still part of who they are," Maravilla said.
Maravilla included several Fil-Am talents in the production, including Mark Elefane who did the film's fight choreography.
The "Cross" short film will be the basis for a full feature and will be entered in film festivals in 2015.