Melissa Del Rosario: The First UNLV Film Student to Sell a Feature Film

Melissa Del Rosario

‘Take Out Girl’ to Stream on iTunes, Amazon Prime and Fandango

From script rewrites, securing locations, and managing actors―producing a feature film isn’t an easy task even for the most seasoned professionals.

Throw being a full-time college student on top of everything else and things can get even more complicated.

However, one UNLV film student was able to pull off a first-time feat for the school’s film department. 

After three years producing the feature film “Take Out Girl,” 24-year-old Melissa Del Rosario recently sold it to 1091 Pictures―Making her the first-ever UNLV student to sell a feature film.

The movie is based on the life of its lead actress and co-writer Hedy Wong, a young Asian-American college-student who turns to selling drugs to help her family’s struggling Chinese restaurant.

The film highlights the struggles immigrant families in America may face while pursuing what’s best for their families. 

“We are not trying to promote what she does,” Del Rosario said. “We’re not saying that in any way what she does is right, but maybe just consider like other people have to deal with a lot more than what maybe you would have to deal with.”

As much as Del Rosario enjoyed producing the film, it wasn’t easy balancing her academic life with her film career. 

“It was a lot of late nights and very little sleep or no sleep, but I have no regrets,” Del Rosario says. 

Besides her family and friends, Del Rosario especially credits Wong, director Hisonni Mustafa Johnson, and Executive Producer & Director of Photography Alberto Triana for helping her get through the sometimes-strenuous project.

“It’s really about the film family…our cast and our crew,” Del Rosario said. “After spending three years with people, they become like family to you.”

Del Rosario and her team and her team finished their film in January 2020 and planned to officially release the film last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic stopped widespread distribution and in-person festival screenings.

Still, Del Rosario and her team were able to have the film virtually screened at about 40 festivals, and has several prestigious awards, including best director at the American Black Film Festival and Best Feature Film at the International Manhattan Film Festival. 

Working on “Take Out Girl” was also a powerful experience for Del Rosario, who grew up watching films with little to no Asian-American representation in starring roles.

“I love that you’re seeing more Asian American films or Asian American actors being highlighted, but I definitely think that there needs to be more and I’m glad to be able to contribute to that.”

Rosario is about graduate with her film degree tomorrow, and has no plans on slowing down her work in film.

Rosario currently manages her own production company Rose Ray Media, and plans on continuing with what she knows best. 

“I just can’t picture myself doing anything else, but making movies. So like, I hope that this is what I do for the rest of my life,” Del Rosario said. 

‘Take Out Girl’ will be available on several streaming platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Prime and Fandango, starting May 18.

Check out the official trailer for “Take Out Girl” here:

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