Video storyteller Marlo Custodio’s childhood was at occasions terrifying. But via the angst of his upbringing, Custodio found his future.
Custodio’s mother and father immigrated from the Phillipines to america. When Custodio was 5, his father left. When he was in second grade, the household turned homeless. His mom, who had suffered years of spousal abuse, discovered herself alone with 4 sons, together with five-year-old Marlo, and nowhere to show.
“That was my childhood,” Custodio mentioned. “This not understanding the place we’re going to be, are we going to be okay. That was the trauma I handled and what I might later channel as a approach for me to have empathy, work exhausting and have a piece ethic.”
Custodio turned his struggles into strengths, sharing tales about those that have contributed to San Jose’s wealthy multicultural historical past as a technique to construct bridges between communities.
From a Filipino tattoo artist to a Vietnamese eatery proprietor, the 32-year-old brings the individuals and cultures portrayed in his video documentary sequence “This is San Jose” to life. In sharing these untold tales, he strives to teach in addition to entertain.
“I imagine storytelling can change the world,” Custodio instructed San José Highlight. “If I can enhance empathy, possibly individuals wouldn’t see us as others, however as their neighbors.”
Custodio considers it his accountability to show others in regards to the contributions of Asian Individuals and different ethnicities in San Jose, in addition to the racism and discrimination they’ve skilled, particularly after COVID and the rise of Asian American hate crimes.
Raj Jayadev, founding father of Silicon Valley De-Bug, sees Custodio as a change-agent with a imaginative and prescient to uplift the neighborhood.
“Having individuals who have been via struggles themselves and confronted the hardships of inequity… for them to share the great thing about their neighborhood, that’s what is actually highly effective,” Jayadev mentioned. “It’s not solely the story he tells, however that he’s born from these tales. What he’s been via along with his life and household offers him an inside perspective in communities which are struggling and whose tales have to be instructed.”
Overlaid with music and dynamic enhancing, every episode of “That is San Jose” focuses on an area enterprise proprietor or chief. The viewer learns about Humble Beginnings Tattoo proprietor Orly Locquiao, who immigrated along with his household to america from the Philippines when he was two years previous. Locquiao grew up in East San Jose and named his tattoo enterprise Humble Beginnings as a result of he by no means desires to neglect the place he got here from. One other video options Victor Le, proprietor of On a Roll, who has a ardour for Vietnamese cooking and a want to proceed the traditions his mom taught him.
Actual life behind the lens
Custodio’s video journalism first ignited in 2003 as a freshman at Evergreen Valley Excessive Faculty when he took a world relations class. Though it was a traumatic time with the absence of a father, his household’s monetary hardships and a rising consciousness of discrimination and injustice, he found a technique to specific himself via his instructor’s video digital camera.
At age 16, he related with Silicon Valley De-Bug and realized the ability video can have on educating the neighborhood about social inequalities. He explored the disparity of sources within the Bay Space and tried to carry consideration and accountability to native injustices.
“Residing within the shadows of Silicon Valley gave me this fireplace,” Custodio mentioned.
It was after a press release by San Jose Councilmember Nancy Pyle throughout a June 2007 assembly the place Custodio really discovered his calling. After residents testified about police brutality, Pyle mentioned, “Don’t appear to be a gangbanger for those who don’t wish to be picked up for being related with a gang.”
In response, Silicon Valley De-Bug held a protest in entrance of Metropolis Corridor the next week and staged a vogue present that includes road garments as a part of “the Nancy Pyle Assortment.”
That was Custodio’s first introduction to neighborhood activism and the expertise set the tone for his storytelling.
Individuals had been mistreated due to who they had been, he mentioned, including this was approach earlier than the Black Lives Matter motion and smartphones recording every part on social media. Again then, the police tased first and requested questions later, he mentioned.
Custodio skilled this firsthand as an 18-year-old highschool pupil. After a string of robberies hit Evergreen, he was consuming quick meals in a automobile along with his girlfriend when a police officer arrived on the scene. The officer instructed him to get out, however being scared and confused, he didn’t comply instantly. Custodio mentioned the policeman turned offended, grabbed him and threw him out of the truck.
“What’s happening? I do know my rights,” Custodio mentioned, however the officer tased his chest and hit him within the neck. Custodio’s mom and brother arrived shortly afterward and tried to go to him, however had been restrained by the police. After it was throughout, the household confronted costs and ended up in court docket.
“It was very traumatizing,” Custodio mentioned. “It broke my household aside throughout these years. The easiest way to take care of what occurred to us was to channel that vitality to assist others.”
The trail ahead
Custodio realized oral storytelling at De Anza Group Faculty via the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Motion and studied movie and digital media at UC Santa Cruz. After college, he continued making video documentaries, together with a music video devoted to a household whose youngster was killed within the crossfire of a drive-by capturing.
It took first place at Adobe Youth Voices and its success secured Custodio a full-time video job with city-funded Underserved and Gifted, which turned SJ Digital Arts. He later collaborated on the “That is San Jose” video sequence along with town’s financial growth division. The promotional piece celebrates town’s various ethnicity.
As his storyteller abilities grew, so did his ambitions. He began a video manufacturing company, NEEBA—Wants Emotion and Empathy for Beliefs to Awaken—and thru it’s creating a brand new sequence, “San Jose Narratives.” In a single video, an aged couple stays younger by working with youth on the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. At Quimby Oak Center Faculty, two ladies develop into captain of the varsity’s wrestling crew, with one profitable the county championship. And in a 3rd, a boxing coach trains high fighters to win titles.
Thus far, Custodio has produced 100 music movies and 50 commercials. He desires to go away a legacy of San Jose’s wealthy historical past and tradition, and mentioned he’s simply getting began.
“I’m in love with the craft,” he mentioned. “There are nonetheless so many tales I wish to inform.”
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]