UOG film ‘Dry Nights’ to bring local poetry and talent to the big screen

A scene from a new short film by University of Guam Press and film director Brian Muña titled "Dry Nights" based on a book of the same title written by local poet Pep Borja. (UOG photo)

The University of Guam Press, in partnership with acclaimed film director Brian Muña, will release a short film titled “Dry Nights” with showings at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Tango Theatres in Micronesia Mall.

The film is a visual interpretation of UOG Press’s most recent publication, “Dry Nights” by local poet Pep Borja. The poetry collection launched in October and features what Borja describes as “reflections about what it’s like to be close to someone.”

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The book explores themes of love, intimacy, sexuality, addiction, and regret in an honest and raw tone that captured Muña’s attention when UOG Press first approached him about making the film.

“I read it and thought, ‘Finally, a piece that shows the ups and downs of relationships and it’s not toned down,’” Muña said. “There is so much truth in the material, and I was immediately drawn to it.”

Muña and UOG Press Managing Editor Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero co-directed the film in close consultation with Borja, who is also part of the film’s cast of local actors.

“The Press decided to embark on this film project to allow readers to engage with the book — and local literature in general — in a new way,” Leon Guerrero said. “The layered stories of love, lush metaphors, and beautiful Guam imagery found on the pages of ‘Dry Nights’ truly came to life through Brian’s incredible lens and artistry and the emotion and passion each actor poured into their role. I was especially blown away by our high school cast members.”

The longest scene in the film was the interpretation of Borja’s poem “Billie” about a teenaged girl who died of suicide. The Press worked with George Washington High School’s drama class and other youth actors to capture Billie’s story.

A question-and-answer discussion with Muña, Borja, and members of the cast will follow both the 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. showings on Dec. 11.

Tickets will be sold on those days for $7 or may be acquired in advance at https://uogpress.com/. Free tickets will also be given to customers who purchase a copy of “Dry Nights” on uogpress.com or at the showing. Seating is limited to 90 people per showing.

Recognizing the need for more creative outlets for youth ages 15 to 24, the University of Guam Press is also launching a contest for youth-generated writing, artwork, and films that make a statement about youth suicide in Guam. The Press will put $2 from every ticket and book sale toward funding this contest and creative workshops for youth. Donations for this contest can also be made at the film premiere.

(UOG Release)