Discovery Film series premieres with ‘Tropical and Exotic Asia’


Film producer and director, Marlin Darrah, holding copies of his film “Tropical and Exotic Asia” at a table with other of his films available for sale on Monday Sept. 19. (Eddy Cermeno | The Union) Photo credit: Eddy Cermeno

Film director and producer, Marlin Darrah, screened his film “Tropical and Exotic Asia” to 125 guests at El Camino College’s Marsee Auditorium on Monday, Sept. 19 as part of the Discovery World Travel Adventure Film Series.

The majority of the guests that attended the 3 p.m. showing mainly consisted of an older demographic of film lovers eager to take part in the film presentations once again. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the long running movie series had to be put on hold with no screenings taking place since spring of 2020.

The first film to kicked off the return of these events was Darrah’s “Tropical and Exotic Asia” which led viewers on a journey through Southeast Asia to discover the natural landscapes, the locals and the differentiating cultures of the region.

Speaking with The Union before the event, Darrah said he is happy to be able to present his work to the El Camino community after being away for over two years.

“It’s great to come back to El Camino. I’ve been coming here over the past 12 years,” Darrah said. “I am appreciative of the people who still want to know about other countries and learn about geography.”

As the clock hit 3 p.m., guests entered the auditorium to find seats, and were welcomed by Darrah himself as he introduced his film and said that he hopes the event would bring people together after the difficulty of the past two years. The show later began.

The first half of the film explores the bustling city life of Hong Kong through a variety of images showcasing the people, food and culture that the city’s street life has to offer.

During shots where musical instrumentation was used, Darrah would make remarks and jokes about what he was going through at that moment as the audience bursted in laughter.

The film also presented scenes of four cities in Vietnam, each with differing experiences before going into intermission.

Gathering in the lobby for the intermission break, patrons had time to enjoy refreshments, talk with Darrah, or catch-up with other returning guest, since it had been a long time since the previous film event.

Marlin Darrah, left, discussing with guests during intermission while other guests enjoy refreshments, Monday Sept. 19, 2022.
Marlin Darrah, far left, interacts with guests during intermission while other guests enjoy refreshments at the Marsee Auditorium on Monday Sept. (Eddy Cermeno | The Union) Photo credit: Eddy Cermeno

During the intermission, movie fan Art Unmack said he was glad he came back for this film.

“It’s interesting to see the many changes that have happened [in those countries] over the years,” Unmack said. “I get some inspiration from watching films like these when I make my own films.”

As the audience returned from intermission, Darrah introduced the next half of his film which showcased Thailand, Singapore and an underwater exploration of Indonesia.

At the end of his presentation Darrah thanked everyone for attending and received a grand applause from the audience.

As audience members filed out, Darrah made himself available in the lobby to speak with guests, receive critiques, and answer questions. Many guest took the opportunity to share their opinions of the film and overall experience.

Bill Best was one of the guests that spoke with Darrah, telling him that he liked the film and that it was very well done. Best also spoke with The Union and said that he hopes more people come watch these films.

“It’s a great place for old folks to come, and young folks are welcome too,” Best said.

Marlin Darrah, left, speaking with some guests after the event, Monday Sept. 19, 2022.
Film director Marlin Darrah, left, speaking with some guests after the screening of his film event on Monday Sept. 19 at the Marsee Auditorium. (Eddy Cermeno | The Union) Photo credit: Eddy Cermeno

As the lobby emptied out and the lights dimmed, Darrah reflected on his overall experience of the event.

“It brings the biggest smile to my face to see the community again and to be honest, I was hoping that people would recognize me” Darrah said.