The Monster and the Storm

Edwin Martinez, Director and Jamie Gonçalves, Producer

Sean at work.
When a storm hits Puerto Rico and unearths a long-lost box of family mementos, a local cosplayer must reckon with the death of the father he never knew. Through verité and animation, the film intimately explores the power of imagination to overcome loss. [more detail]

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Sean backstage
Sean backstage


Sean Sumagaysay is an introverted 24-year-old Puerto Rican guy who still lives at home with his single mom, Lucy. He spends his days in a monotonous low-level insruance job but at night crafts spectacular monsters out of rubber, clay, and foam. A big fish in the island cosplay community, Sean dreams of bigger ponds where he can showcase his talents.

After a massive hurricane devastates the island, Sean discovers a box of items belonging to his late father. For the first time, he finds clues to his dad's life. Sean is desperate to learn more and tries to engage his mom, but she is reluctant to open old wounds.

To cope, Sean immerses himself in his art by drawing an alternate, more confident, life where his dad lived and helped Sean grow up.  These fantasies inspire Sean to take on his most ambitious project ever: building a Godzilla suit in time for the world's largest Godzilla converntion in just two months.

While Sean molds clay for his suit, he tries new ways to figure out what keeps his mom from telling the truth. As the suit takes shape, she opens up and reveals fragments from her past - until Sean pushes too far and things deteriorate. In a big argument, Lucy shuts him out. And after weeks of work, the suit project falls apart just hours before his big trip.

Despite this, Sean still makes the journey but the convention is not the life-altering moment he hoped it would be. With this realization, Sean starts stepping out of his fantasy world to face reality, with the help of his mom and closest friends. He moves out of their apartment, secures a major new job, and finally tells his mom what he's needed to say for years.


Edwin Martinez, Director, is a Bronx-born, award-winning filmmaker. He co-directed, edited, and shot PERSONAL STATEMENT (Emmy nominated 2020), TO BE HEARD (New York Times Critics’ Pick), and THE SCARS OF STOP AND FRISK (New York Times). He also edited CITY OF TREES (PBS) and THE MESSY TRUTH (Webby Award winner); produced THE CLEMENTINE EFFECT (ESPN); and served as director of photography for RACHEL IS (True/False 2010), LAS MARTHAS (PBS), and WHAT ALICE FOUND (Sundance 2003, Special Jury Prize).

A graduate of both Harvard and SUNY Purchase, Edwin has been a Gates Millennium Scholar (2004), a Firelight Media Fellow (2018), a Concordia Studio Artist-in-Residence (2019), a Rockwood JustFilms Fellow (2019), and a Catapult Film Fund Research Grantee (2021). He is a Professor of Film at the SUNY Purchase Film Conservatory and his solo directorial debut, THE MONSTER AND THE STORM, was recently selected to participate at the Sundance Edit Lab.

Jamie Gonçalves, Producer, is a Brazilian-American producer and co-founder of Sin Sitio Cine (US/MX), a production company whose work spans documentary and fiction. His recent films include Juan Pablo González’s scripted debut DOS ESTACIONES (Sundance 2022 Special Jury Award, Cinema Guild), which was nominated for Best Feature at The Gothams and the Heterodox Award at the Cinema Eye Honors. He also produced González’s documentaries CABALLERANGO (IDFA 2018, Grasshopper) and LAS NUBES (IFFR 2017). Jamie produced Nathan Truesdell’s shorts BALLOONFEST and THE WATER SLIDE—the most watched films on The Atlantic with over 22 million views combined; Isidore Bethel’s ACTS OF LOVE (Hot Docs 2021); and Nick Berardini’s debut KILLING THEM SAFELY (Tribeca 2015, IFC).

In 2023 Jamie was one of Variety’s “10 Producers to Watch” and in 2015, Filmmaker Magazine named him as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” He is a 2018 Sundance Institute Producing Fellow, Impact Partners Producing Fellow, and Creative Capital Fellow. From 2011 to 2014, he served on the programming team at the True/False Film Festival.

Inés Vogelfang, Editor, is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and film editor from Argentina. She studied film at The University of Buenos Aires and holds a Master's in Media Studies and Documentary Film Studies from The New School in New York City. She worked for many years for Cable and Public TV Networks in Argentina editing and creating content in the nonfiction field. 

Her editing work on documentary films has been supported by Gotham (former IFP labs) and screened at international film festivals like Sundance Film Festival, Hamptons Film Festival, Big Sky, DOC NYC, and Venice Film Festival. The Art Of Making It, a feature documentary she co-edited, won an audience award at SXSW 2022. Inés was a 2019-20 Karen Schmeer Diversity in The Edit Room fellow and a 2022 Sundance Story & Edit Lab Fellow. She has been called “the lady who decides what goes”, and she speaks Spanish and English with humans and with her bilingual dog Atenas, also French and Portuguese but these two mostly with just humans.

Monster Sean walks Godzilla Festival
Monster Sean walks Godzilla Festival