Puberty for Humans

An educational video on cybernetic development in adolescents.

Project type: Fiction Short
Project status: Production
Writer/Director: Wester Demandante
Producer: Justin Ricafort
Producer: Derek Benig-Aiello
Producer: Zach Zahorik
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Puberty for Humans is perfect for your nervous health class students as they approach their inevitable cybernetic bodily changes. In this short educational video, Linus, an insecure prepubescent teenager, learns that everything will be okay… for everyone else.


Puberty (pu·ber·ty, noun)

1. The period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction

2. The period during which adolescents begin to develop cybernetic body parts which consequently determine their career paths post graduation

In a vintage ‘60s health class style educational video, Coach Wells, a classic All American gym teacher, helps his students understand the changes they will undergo as they enter “Robotic Puberty.” As expected, the students have plenty of questions. “When will my actuator finally reboot? How does a male articulated manipulator work?” All of which are natural queries for those reaching adolescence. Fortunately for the students, Coach Wells can sense their bewilderment and educates them with a prepared lesson on their changing bodies.

As the video showcases how students’ cybernetic changes will affect their careers, partners and collegiate dreams, a young boy named Linus questions why his body has yet to change. While other kids have begun to develop vacuum legs for cleaning, robotic arms for playing football, or a Swiss army knife for a hand to perform surgery, Linus has yet to develop such parts. Coach Wells attempts to pacify Linus’ distress, informing him that he’s simply a “late bloomer.” As Coach Wells describes the internal and external sequences of robo puberty to the class, Linus fears for his future. When will he reach puberty? What happens if he never does? Is he destined to be at the back of the pack for the rest of his life?

Meet the Filmmakers

Wester Demandante – Writer/Director
Wester Demandante is a Filipino-American filmmaker who is very passionate about positively representing groups of people who have been historically underrepresented. He loves (or at least tries) to make people laugh and feel good while exploring topics that don’t typically make us laugh nor feel good. Wester aims to write and direct films for his community, inspired heavily by what Taika Waititi has been able to do for his community with films like Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

His last project before Puberty for Humans was entitled Kaaway(Enemy). It made its way around several festivals from 2019-2020, including the 42nd New York Asian American International Film Festival, the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and the National Film Festival for Talented Youth.

Justin Ricafort – Producer
Justin Ricafort is a Filipino American writer, filmmaker, and game designer whose work explores assimilation narratives and play. Justin graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Film/Media major and an Ethnic Studies minor in 2018. In 2019, Justin was selected as part of Visual Communications’ 2020 Armed with a Camera Fellowship as one of ten Asian American filmmakers set to write and direct their own short film projects. Since 2021, he has spent time writing and producing several short films that have traveled to multiple film festivals.

Derek Benig-Aiello – Producer
Derek Benig-Aiello is a Filipinx American writer/director based in Los Angeles. His short film Sinigang toured the Asian American Film Festival scene playing at the 2022 DisOrient, LAAPFF, HAAPIFEST, SDFFF and DCAPA Film Festivals. He is a graduate of Emerson College. Currently he is working on his next short, while working on producing Puberty for Humans with Wester Demandante, Justin Ricafort and Zach Zahorik.

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