Xia Magnus, USA 2019, 87’
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To Shiva Baby

Evelyn, a Filipina nurse, moves to Texas to take care of Dena, who is suffering from dementia. Evelyn’s cousin, Amos, and Dena’s son, Clem, also move into the apartment. And as befits any decent haunted-house story, mysterious apparitions, ghosts, and voices from out of nowhere attest to a tragedy that took place years earlier. But debut director Xia Magnus doesn’t follow the beaten path of genre cinema. He has admitted that he was inspired equally by Asian horror movies and by the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and that the atmosphere of horror—fantastically accentuated by the cinematography of Mark Khalife—serves to ask important questions about the spiritual condition of human beings, about reactions to traumatic events, and even about cultural differences between East and West. For me it was all about the way secrets keep people apart, lack of communication, and how all that messy stuff comes to the fore when people are confronted with death, said Magnus.

Jakub Demiańczuk

Xia Magnus

Xia Magnus is an American director, screenwriter, and producer. He and Alyssa Polk founded the production company Oneonetwosix together. His short film Round River has won numerous awards, including at the Wisconsin Film Festival. Sanzaru, his first feature-length film, premiered at this year’s Slamdance Festival.


2014 Curly Hawks (short)

2015 Round River (short)

2017 Hunter (short)

2019 Sanzaru

Cast & Crew

director Xia Magnus
screenplay Xia Magnus
cinematography Mark Khalife
editing Joshua Raymond Lee
music Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs
cast Aina Dumlao, Justin Arnold, Jayne Taini, Jon Viktor Corpuz
producer Nathan Hertz, Xia Magnus, Anthony Pedone, Alyssa Polk
production Oneonetwosix Films, Film Exchange, Dualist
sales Michelle Mower Imagination Worldwide
language English, Tagalog
coloration colour
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