My Uncle Rafael is the first American comedy to use the very rich Armenian culture as a backdrop. Filmmaker, and former Spielberg assistant, Marc Fusco became intrigued by the project when long-time friend and writer Scott Yagemann told him he was working on a uniquely American screenplay with an old Armenian uncle as a central character. After Fusco met creator Vahik Pirhamzei, who had created a successful franchise of Armenian stage plays, the opportunity grew into a higher cause that would break new ground for Armenians worldwide. After Pirhamzei’s comedy stage franchise sold over 35,000 tickets in Los Angeles alone to the Armenian market, Fusco and producer Michael Garrity realized that if My Uncle Rafael shined a spotlight on Armenians in a fun, realistic way, the entire culture would support the film much the way the Greeks did with My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Bridging the gap between American and Armenian entertainment, Fusco worked with Pirhamzei and Yagemann to transform the characters from Rafael’s family on stage to well-developed film characters in a story with a lot of heart, culture and humor for Armenians and Americans alike. As the screenplay circulated throughout Hollywood, it didn’t take long before some of our finest comedic actors jumped on board. Missi Pyle, John Michael Higgins, Anthony Clark, Joe Lo Truglio, and Rachel Blanchard rounded out the cast quickly, and as we like to say…Lights, camera, Uncle!
So far, the film has tested very high and sneak preview audiences have been talking about the film for days after watching it.