On June 26th, 1943, a B-17 on a desperate night mission is shot down over Papua New Guinea by Japanese artillery. The only survivor of the 10-man crew, navigator Jose Augusto, must now try and survive the jungles of Papua New Guinea with a horrible wound and elude capture by enemy troops.
For three weeks he crawls across the dense jungle with little food and water before he learns he is also being hunted by cannibal natives, the Korowai. Beset by hallucinations and longing for death, Jose nevertheless feels a spark of hope inside him urging him on.
"There's no question, the veterans of World War II are some of the most tenacious, inspiring people who have ever lived," Frank Aragon, producer, director and star of 43rd says. "With Jose's story, we're aiming to convey that message to audiences while at the same time pay our respects to the generation who made a tremendous impact on our country, and the world."
Aragon, an American filmmaker of Mexican American decent, is already well known for his 2009 Down for Life, an official selection of the Toronto Film Festival. Born and raised in Los Angeles - Boyle Heights, to be specific - Aragon's focus in all of his work has been on Latino-themed films that focus on the positive stories of the American experience, as well as the struggles, triumphs, and joys that too often go unheard of.
Aragon says he makes a point to stay away from stereotypical portrayals of Latinos in his work to show that they are a group just as involved and invested in building the United States as any other.
"Anyone can make a film that presents an image of a Latino or Mexican American that we've all seen or heard before. You know the stereotypes," Aragon says. "With 43rd, we want to tell the story of a Mexican American who loved his country and went through unspeakable horrors in order to defend our freedom. There is a universal message of understanding and awareness to be hold that we feel will help unite our society."
Aragon joined the Directors Guild of America in 2012 and has been a member of SAG-AFTRA since 1989. He has worked as an actor, writer, director and producer for more than 23 years, and received the 2001 Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Independent Filmmaker from Nosotros for his work on My Father's Love, he was the writer producer director and star in that film.
Watch for more news on 43rd later this year.
Malorie Bloom is a publicist and writer with 20 years of experience in Entertainment